HR need to improve their EQ – agree or disagree?


Agree; for two reasons. Firstly, there is recent quantitative research to back this up. And secondly, we have recent anecdotal evidence that backs this up.

Let me start with the research. A large study over 8 years and with 25,000 plus respondents showed Emotional Quotient (EQ) levels in HR fared well comparatively. But, they have dropped dramatically since 2012. HR scored higher than people-centric professions such as Sales and Healthcare, but we’re pipped, would you believe by the Self-Employed! The data show HR strengths in areas such as Empathy, Emotional Expression and Self-Awareness: And developmental areas in Self-Regard, Resilience and Assertiveness. Intuitively, both of these data suggestions make sense to me.

Now for the anecdotal stuff. Recently we co-hosted a lunch with Expedite for HR professionals on EQ. The lunch began with the same question as this blog title: “HR needs to increase their EQ. If you agree to stand over here, if you disagree stand over there.” The group who disagreed was not a group, it was one person. And he just tacitly smiled and said “I like a challenge”. Everyone agreed that HR needed to improve. (But don’t we all?)

Over lunch, there seemed to be chaotic agreement on a few things. Firstly, that HR are the EQ gurus in any organisation and need to drive forward its importance. Secondly, that developmental areas exist for them also. And thirdly (slightly ironically), that driving change in a competitive and dynamic economy requires plenty of Assertiveness and Resilience from HR departments.

So what? Well, if anyone is required to be self-aware; own EQ; invest in their own personal development and be trusted to “do the right thing”, it is HR. There is still lots to understand about EQ and its consequential impacts; for us all.


Here are 3 key areas you can focus on to be an emotionally intelligent leader.