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Hiring Employees With Emotional Intelligence
Wednesday, May 27, 2009 • Posted May 27, 2009

It is an understatement to say that hiring an employee for your small business is a big investment. Hiring an employee who will remain with the company is paramount to the success of your business. You want employees who exhibit the emotional intelligence to be strong contributors to that which is of most importance to you, your company.

The Emotional Competence Framework is a result of the work of Daniel Goleman and presented in his book Working with Emotional Intelligence. Understanding this Framework can assist you in hiring employees who have a more mature emotional intelligence, resulting in a better workforce.

In the most recent article in this series, we explored Personal Competence and the first traits associated with Self-Awareness. These traits were emotional awareness, accurate self-assessment and self-confidence. In this article we will continue to explore Self-Awareness through learning to recognize self-regulation and self-motivation.

Self-regulation is comprised of five traits: self-control, conscientiousness, trustworthiness, adaptability and innovativeness.

Self-control manifests itself in an employee’s ability to manage disruptive emotions and impulses. Employees possessing these traits are able to think clearly and stay focused under pressure; stay composed, positive, and unflappable even in trying moments; and manage their impulsive feelings and distressing emotions well.

Conscientiousness supports self-control in the sense that employees with this trait take responsibility for personal performance. They meet commitments and keep promises; hold themselves accountable for meeting their objective; and are organized and careful in their work.

Building trust through reliability and authenticity defines trustworthiness. People with this trait also are able to admit their own mistakes and confront unethical actions in others; take tough, principled stands even if they are unpopular; and act ethically, to the point of being above reproach.

Adaptability and innovativeness round-out the self-regulation traits. Employees who exhibit flexibility in handling change are considered adaptable. They demonstrate a smooth approach to handling multiple demands, shifting priorities and rapid change. They adapt their responses and tactics to fit fluid circumstance and are flexible in how they see events.

Innovativeness is the ability of being comfortable with, and open to, novel ideas and new information. They take fresh perspectives and risks in their thinking; generate new ideas; entertain original solutions to problems; and seek out fresh ideas from a wide variety of sources.

The third and final component of Personal Competence is Self Motivation. It is identified through four traits: achievement drive, commitment, initiative and optimism.

Striving to meet and improve a standard of excellence defines achievement drive. Employees with this trait will set challenging goals and take calculated risks; pursue information to reduce uncertainty and find ways to do better; learn how to improve their performance; and they are results-oriented.

Commitment is exhibited by an employee’s alignment with the goals of the organization. They readily make personal or group sacrifices to meet a larger organizational goal; find a sense of purpose in the larger mission; use the groups’ core values in making decisions and clarifying choices; and actively seek out opportunities to fulfill the group’s mission.

The readiness to act on opportunities supports the initiative trait. These employees are ready to seize opportunities; pursue goals beyond what is required or expected of them; cut through red tape and bend the rules when necessary to get the job done; and mobilize others through unusual, enterprising efforts.

Optimism rounds out Personal Competence as well as Self Motivation. Employees with this trait are persistent in pursuing goals despite obstacles and setbacks. They operate from hope of success rather than fear of failure; and see setbacks as due to manageable circumstance rather than a personal flaw.

The Emotional Competence Framework also includes Social Awareness and Social Skills. Each of these traits will be presented in the next article in this series.

For additional information on this article or request for assistance with your small business, please contact the ASU * SBDC.

“Business Tips” was written by Ms. Peggy Hodges, Business Development Specialist and Certified Business Advisor II of Angelo State University’s Small Business Development Center. For more information on the topic of this article or the services of the ASU · SBDC, contact her at

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