The importance of EQ

James Dobbin, Head of Practice for Procurement Heads‘ Financial & Professional Services offering explains.

We often get asked to recruit people in procurement with emotional intelligence.

But what exactly is it, why is it important and why is it apparently declining in people?

What is the difference between IQ and EQ?

IQ is the ability to problem-solve, use logic and understand and communicate complex ideas.

EQ is the ability to recognise emotion in yourself and others – and utilise that awareness to guide your decisions.

American psychologist, Daniel Goleman, who helped to popularise emotional intelligence, suggests there are five key elements to EQ:

  • Self-awareness
  • Self-regulation
  • Motivation
  • Empathy
  • Social skills

It’s everything from positive self-evaluation and regulating impetuousness to accurately perceiving your own/others’ feelings and effectively communicating/exerting influence.

In the world of work, it’s what separates us from computers and machines – it’s what makes us human.

EQ and recruitment

Traditionally, recruitment has focused on qualifications, skills and experience.

These will always be crucial elements for candidate assessment.

But EQ can be a handy indicator especially when it comes to the specialist world of procurement and supply chain roles.

For instance, if I was recruiting a Developer, I would heavily focus on assessing the candidate’s technical abilities against the role.

Conversely, when I am hiring a commercial role in the procurement sphere, emotional intelligence plays a key role in my decision-making process.


Procurement, much like recruitment, is a relationships-driven industry and therefore having strong EQ enables the development of long-term partnerships.

If you have good emotional intelligence, you are self-aware enough to understand what motivates others – which is crucial in a negotiating environment.

How can you improve emotional intelligence?

According to the research, the rapid rise in young adults use of social media might be responsible for some of the declines in emotional intelligence.

With the Metaverse on the horizon, how can we continue to embrace technology while retaining the much-coveted skills of emotional intelligence?

According to leadership institute InitiativeOne, here are some tips on how to improve your EQ

  • Have a positive attitude
  • Effectively manage your stress
  • Be conscious of non-verbal emotions and reactions
  • Resolve conflicts constructively
  • Actively listening

The last is especially pertinent when dealing with suppliers!

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