You’re a nice guy. You smile at people. You make friendly conversation. You’re even the kind of person people go to when they need someone to talk to.
Emotional intelligence (EQ) is a quality many recruiters look for in leadership roles and jobs like sales and management. In fact, people with a high EQ are often happier, more confident and more effective in their jobs because they do it for the passion rather than the reward.
All wins, right? Not necessarily. Because in some cases, a high EQ just isn’t enough. In fact, sometimes it can be downright career-limiting, believe it or not. How?
It can keep you small.
People who rank high in EQ traits like compassion, listening, responsiveness and self-awareness are usually great at one-on-one communication. But in larger groups? Not so much. Without that personal face time, emotionally intelligent people struggle to connect. And that’s not ideal if they intend on leading people.
It can get in the way.
Leaders need to be able to connect with their employees to get their buy-in. But they also need to be removed enough to be objective and get things done. The problem with managers with a high EQ is that they can be too sensitive to people’s feelings to drive them to work harder; stagnating the team.
It’s not always the be-all.
There are many personality characteristics that recruiters look out for when hiring new talent. Of the ‘big five’, AJ Marsden, a professor of psychology at Beacon College, says the most important is conscientiousness, as it shows reliability, accountability, and commitment to excellence. And chances are, there are probably many conscientious candidates out there who don’t have a particularly high EQ.
Bottom line? Emotional intelligence, in many cases, can be a great determiner of success. But before you go and read every self-help book on the subject, remember that, depending on the industry, there’s a lot more to leadership and career growth than being a nice guy.