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Why improving emotional IQs makes for better IT leaders

Rich Hein | Feb. 23, 2015
Hiring and retaining talent is becoming a priority as CIOs struggle to find and retain top talent. Raising the emotional IQ of your IT leaders is one big step towards creating a culture where people want to work.

Do I Need to Work on My Emotional Intelligence?
The short answer is yes. Experts agree that as a manager, the more you understand your employees motivations, career paths, and personality strengths and weaknesses the better you can allot your resources and help them grow. If you're really good, you can help those coworkers or subordinates work from their strengths while showing them a path to build on their areas of weakness.

When an employee has a good relationship with his supervisor and that person is actively interested in their feelings, ideas and career progression it becomes much more difficult for employees to jump ship. Here are four questions to ponder:

  • Do you find yourself on the defense more than not?
  • Are you indifferent or disinterested in what coworkers or subordinates think of you or what interests them?
  • Do you accept accountability or do you regularly push blame off onto others?
  • Do you have difficulties empathizing with your employees or coworkers?

If you answered yes to any of these, then chances are you need to improve your emotional intelligence.

Incorporating Emotional Intelligence Into Your Interviewing Process
Our experts agree that there aren't a lot of tech companies out there doing a great job of incorporating emotional intelligence into either their hiring or promotion process. In fact, Walt Meffert, CIO of, a provider of orthotic and prosthetic services says, "I can't say I have ever heard it [emotional intelligence] even discussed when making hiring or promotional decisions at any company."

Yochem emphatically agrees, "Some technology companies -- like companies in all industries, frankly -- rely on rather narrow criteria for hiring and promoting, and these criteria often don't include emotional intelligence, "says Yochem.

One problem, says Yochem, that regularly challenges institutions that want to incorporate this methodology surprisingly is cultural differences. "We have no broad measurement capacity as yet -- an aspiration made challenging by the diversity of cultures we have in our global company. Actions that set people at ease in one culture may put people from other cultures on edge, for example. The visual and audio cues we get in our interactions with people across cultures vary widely in meaning," says Yochem.

So you're thinking, "I've got some new hires I'm about to make, how can I incorporate this into my interviewing process?" To help answer that question, Lynn offers these tips and questions to help you add some emotional intelligence perspective into your hiring plan.

1. Construct specific questions based on the EQ competency that you would like to assess.

"It's a process that requires companies to carefully craft questions and desired responses with key emotional intelligence competencies in mind that correlate to the job," Lynn says.


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