The Value of Emotional Intelligence for Professionals

One of the key findings in the recent Outsourcing Report by global professional services network Grant Thornton revealed that intangible factors (trust, reliability, communications, etc.) or the so-called soft skills count as much, or more than, technical factors (cost, expertise, experience, etc.) in the criteria for a successful outsourcing relationship.

In the same way, technical knowledge does not guarantee success for an individual in the professional world. The reason we often hear average IQ people tend to outperform those with higher IQs is that they fail to measure another essential part of a person – emotional intelligence (EQ).

Emotional intelligence consists of two primary competencies: personal competence (focuses more on you individually) and social competence (focuses more on your interactions with other people). Under these categories are the four main skills that comprise one’s EQ: self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, and relationship management.

  • Self-awareness – our ability to perceive our emotions and understand our tendencies to act in certain ways in given situations
  • Social Awareness – our ability to understand the emotions of other people (what others are thinking and feeling)
  • Self-management – our ability to use awareness of our emotions to stay flexible and direct our behaviour positively and constructively
  • Relationship Management – our ability to use our awareness of our own emotions and those of others to manage interactions successfully.

Unlike your IQ which usually stays the same as you grow older, your EQ can be further improved and developed. It is something that can be acquired through circumstances. As hard skills are readily available in the market, non-technical skills become important differentiators when looking for the right individual. This is the reason there is a behavioural examination when companies recruit.

In a professional environment, having the right emotional intelligence helps you gain the trust of your clients, as well as your colleagues. Our emotional intelligence determines how we communicate with others, handle our composure, and make important decisions – basically, it’s how we empathise with and influence others. When your clients and colleagues feel that you put their interests first above anything else, you will earn their confidence.

Understanding the value of emotional intelligence is critical for accountants and other professionals as this helps them position their services to their clients. Likewise, firms should also emphasise the importance of measuring one’s EQ when hiring. Remember, a person can be trained to enhance his technical skills, but the ability to deal with things is something inherent to a person and should not be overlooked.

The Outsourced Accountant supports Australian and New Zealand accounting firms by helping them understand and implement outsourcing solutions to help them become more proactive and truly add value to their clients. If you want to know more about outsourcing, call us at 1300 896 522 / 0800 452 853, and download our e-book.