Emotional Intelligence: The Hard Work Starts Here

What is the most regular question our facilitators are asked by participants at the end of workshops? Can you guess? Most importantly, what does it tell us about the support most needed by developing leaders? HFL consultant Kirsty Allen reports.


Earlier this year, one of HFL’s consultants, Frosso Mathews, wrote in a blog about emotional intelligence:


“Leaders have got EI now. By ‘got’ I mean that even the most hardened rational business thinkers no longer needed to be convinced about how important ‘this emotional stuff’ really is when driving for higher business results. They could see the impact of high EQ on performance, engagement, and the bottom line, and they wanted to know a great deal more about it: how do you measure it, what do I do if I think I have low EQ, can I develop greater emotional intelligence, and if I can, where do I start?”


Emotional intelligence (EI or EQ) refers to the ability to recognise and regulate emotions in ourselves and others. With research highlighting the importance of EI in the workplace - having positive benefits in negotiations, performance conversations, relationship building, and sales (to name a few) – and studies showing EI can be learned and increased, EI development has become a regular request from participants in our programs.


Most particularly: “I think I have low EI in some areas. How do I find out whether this is the case or not?”


So, what tool can quickly, effectively, validly, and inexpensively enable leaders to identify their strengths and shortcomings in demonstrating EI behaviour? The answer is Genos.


For a long while, our industry has had to rely on EI ‘cuts’ from existing personality and behavioural tools. At HFL, we’ve had very mixed results with these types of executions. They are hard to explain, confusing for participants, and don’t provide the ‘education’ and ‘action’ elements that are most needed for this group.


Recently, HFL’s consultants became accredited in the Genos Emotional Intelligence certification, which we believe delivers the starting point that most participants crave.


Like most theoretical concepts, EI is complex. First coined by Daniel Goleman in 1995 when he found that qualities traditionally associated with leadership, such as intelligence and technical skills, are required for success but are insufficient alone in understanding and identifying high talent; the theory and measurement of EI has been the subject of great debate. At HFL, we have found the Genos assessment tool to be a robust and insightful measure of the critical ‘soft’ leadership qualities found to contribute to successful workplace performance.


The Genos EI inventory is a 70 question, multi-rater measure of how often an individual demonstrates EI workplace behaviour. A self-report assessment is also available. It is embedded in the seven factor model it measures:


1) Emotional Self-Awareness


2) Emotional Expression


3) Emotional Awareness of Others


4) Emotional Reasoning


5) Emotional Self-Management


6) Emotional Management of Others


7) Emotional Self-Control


These factors are based on a preliminary factor analysis of a large number of dimensions found within a number of common measures of EI, followed by an extensive CFA investigation as well as several focus groups with HR professionals to ascertain their views on what would constitute an ideal measure of EI for application in industry.


Genos reports provide a total EI score and seven subscale scores. Scores are given in percentiles (or ranks) to facilitate interpretation. High Genos EI percentile scores represent individuals who engage in EI behaviours on a relatively frequent basis, while low Genos EI scores represent individuals who engage in EI behaviours relatively infrequently. The normative sample is very large; representative of both males and females in approximate equal numbers, and consists of individuals ranging in age from 18 to 76, across several industries, and westernised/industrialised countries.


Thus, the Genos EI inventory is considered applicable to adults (18+) in the workplace.

Backed by a wealth of published workplace research showing meaningful correlations with a wide variety of outcome variables, including leadership performance, job satisfaction, and engagement, the Genos inventory can be valuable in both leadership development and internal talent benchmarking or identification. The inventory can produce several different reports, including:


Genos EI Development Report


– Provides assessment results according to a normative benchmark; relative EI strengths and development opportunities; and development strategies targeted to address deficits in the individual’s self-assessed EI.


– Used for group and one-on-one debriefing of assessment results.


Genos EI Multi-Rater Assessment Report and Workbook


– Provides assessment results according to a normative benchmark; relative EI strengths and development opportunities; rater-specific assessment results; and a workbook containing development strategies targeted to address deficits in the individual’s self-other assessed EI.


– Used for group and one-on-one debriefing.


Genos EI Leader Report


– Provides a multi-rater (360 degree) assessment report that includes assessment results according to a normative benchmark and how these results underpin effective leadership styles; rater-specific assessment results; and items the individual was scored least frequently to help guided development.


– Used for middle to senior leaders. The report discusses how the development of the 7 skills helps leaders in the management of people and presents a SMART goal template to aid articulation of specific development activities.


Genos EI Self-Assessment Group Report


– Provides an aggregated assessment report of a group’s self-only assessed EI. For each of the 7 skills the report presents a group’s: aggregated assessment results according to a normative benchmark; within-group variance of assessment scores; relative EI strengths and development opportunities.


– Used for workshop facilitation to create a common awareness of a group’s relative EI strengths and weakness.


– A Genos EI Multi-Rater Assessment group report is also available which provides within-group and between-rater category variance of assessment scores and rater-specific assessment results.


While the Genos EI inventory (and its predecessor, the SUEIT) has been in use for research and professional purposes for a relatively short period of time (i.e., since 2001), it has the following advantages:


It’s backed by theoretical and workplace research, and has extensive international benchmarks;


It’s specifically designed for the workplace, meaning items and reports have workplace

relevance. This helps the ‘face validity’ of the tool;


Unlike mixed-model measures of EI (e.g. the Bar-On EQ-I and the ECI), which combine EI dimensions and non-EI dimensions such as personality factors, the Genos EI model is purely relevant to the demonstration of EI skills across seven individual differences;


It looks at  the frequency or typicality of certain observable EI behaviours (vs. maximal EI performance);


It can easily be mapped to leadership and other capability frameworks;


It has respectable levels of reliability and validity; and psychometric qualities of the data has been found to be acceptable in several samples, including Australia, the United States of America, South Africa, England, New Zealand, Hong Kong, and Singapore;


It includes negatively keyed items, and can provide an inconsistency index score and two socially desirable responding scores;


It can be completed online in just 15 minutes;


Genos EI has been found to positively correlate with transformational leadership, life satisfaction, organisational commitment and sales performance.


As such, with research showing a positive relationship between EI and leadership effectiveness which cannot be explained by either personality or IQ (Rosete & Ciarrochi, 2005), HFL recommends leaders across industries assess their EI through Genos, and use their results to understand how they can better build and manage relationships, influence, and engage both team members and stakeholders.


For more information on Genos please contact Kirsty Allen at HFL.



Leadership Skills: Assessment of EI

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