When hiringemotional-intelligence managers, do you look at B-school grades and courses to assess a person’s cognitive ability to strategically evaluate problems and develop solutions and/or do you look at a person’s emotional ability to strategically delegate problems to develop solutions.  Since grades, courses and experience are easy to objectively measure, company executives tend то леан towards these.  After all, it is how we all have been evaluated throughout our education history.  Less obvious, but just as important, is a person’s emotional ability to break through bottlenecks in productivity and innovation, commonly referred to as Emotional Intelligence or EI.

There has been great focus on EI in executive leadership development since executives must concentrate on developing a team that will execute vision and innovation.  Executives’ function is doing the right thing.  Managers’ function is doing the thing right.  It means delegating responsibilities throughout their department so that goals are correctly met.  How effectively managers can delegate depends on the EI skills in their managerial toolbox.

Emotional Intelligence describes personal qualities like self-awareness, emotional awareness, accurate self-assessment, self-control, conscientiousness, adaptability, achievement, initiative, empathy, optimism, commitment, bond building, cooperation and collaboration, service orientation and developing others.  Various skills come into play at different times within the delegation process.  Think about the typical delegation process.  It runs through parsing the ultimate goal into smaller achievable units, constructing the right team to complete the task, setting up the guidelines, developing the team, providing support resources, creating reporting structures, and projecting alternative results.  Some of these tasks like task parsing, reporting structures and projecting results are extrapolated from educational training.  Others, like constructing the right team and developing the team rely on EI.  And, other parts of the process, such as guideline setting and support resources are a blend of the two.

Managers with high EI in social competence skills such as empathy, service orientation, developing others, leveraging diversity and political awareness delegate tasks so that a person’s individual talents and potential for development can shine.  In team development, a manager will call on the EI skills of political awareness and diversity to construct a viable team.  Then the manager calls upon the EI skills of innovation, communication, leadership and influence to communicate the delegated task and move people toward support resources. Finally, the manager, to retain respect as a manager, uses the EI skills of self-confidence and accurate self-assessment.

EI skills may not have made it into your B-school curriculum and certainly not into your elementary school curriculum.  However, there is a growing momentum in American education to teach EI skills because they can become actual behavior instead of just rote learned material.  Additionally, EI skills affect “mainstream” intelligence skills such as abstract reasoning, long-term planning and working memory, all of these which fall into a manager’s toolbox. The EI skills are a must have for any manager in the 21st century “integral” enterprise.