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Top leadership quality isn't what you'd expect

Sharon Florentine | July 30, 2014
A group of management experts argues that the most important quality for leadership is empathy, or emotional IQ . So why aren't companies trying harder to foster these skills?

"With all the attention placed on predictive analytics nowadays, it's baffling that these aren't in wider use — if you think about it, people are telling you how to retain them, what their goals are and how you can make the most of their talents in the results of these assessments, so, why aren't we using these tools better?" he says.

For most businesses, HR is so overloaded it can seem a burden to add one more step to the hiring process, says Povec. "The HR department is often so burdened with so many day-to-day responsibilities that candidate search and vetting takes a backseat," he says.

"What often happens is they're just presented with a short list of candidates selected based only on the scores from an Applicant Tracking System with no way to determine if skills like emotional IQ are even present. So, when we look at speed-to-hire instead of doing due diligence, they're missing the entire point," Povec says.

Cost also is often cited as a factor, but Povec dismisses this as a "straw man, because the costs of high turnover and of making the wrong hire can far exceed that of a tool like Harrison, he says.

"Cost isn't a real factor, because these tools actually shorten the 'sales cycle' and the hiring cycle. And the cost of making a bad hire, or of hiring and then having that person leave are far higher," he says. Based on Povec's own experience, he says close to 80 percent of identified 'top performers' at companies possess emotional IQ. It's far more costly not to use these tools.

"Hiring managers have to evangelize these kinds of tools, even when hiring their own direct reports, if they want to help drive their company's success," Povec says. "As the economy grows and people have more and more choices in their careers, in deciding where to work, they are going to make the choice toward companies and supervisors that seem to have their best interests at heart. If emotional IQ is an accurate representation of folks' ability to lead and be successful, why aren't we trying harder to identify and foster these skills?" he says.

 

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