Think about the person that you look up to the most professionally. What is it about this person that you admire? Emotional intelligence or “EQ” isn’t likely to be one of the first things that you mention but it is inextricably linked to these qualities. EQ is the measure of emotional intelligence which allows us to manage and regulate our response to situations and interpret the emotions of others.
IQ can help get you through law school and qualify as a solicitor, but EQ helps you to progress through your career, it’s what helps you to be successful! When it comes to hiring or promotions, a lawyer’s career history and skills are assessed alongside their soft skills and ultimately, likability. Nowadays being book smart is not enough to progress your career.
EQ plays a critical part in building strong relationships, this in turn reduces the compliance risk of the business self-managing issues out of sight because it feels the in-house lawyer is not approachable. There is a direct link between EQ and success in business. One study by an insurance company found that their employees who scored highly in an EQ test, outsold those with low EQ by 37% in their first two years alone.
Lawyers need soft skills to be able to read between the lines and more effectively advise their clients. Lawyers with a high degree of emotional intelligence can motivate and inspire a team, engage more effectively with stakeholders and more easily deliver difficult messages to the business. We often hear about frustrated CEOs that view the legal team as an ivory tower function which slows down business, rather than providing solutions. EQ equips a lawyer to battle this perception and partner with the business to show their value as a commercial business partner, not a cost centre.
Most hiring mistakes are not due to a lawyer's technical ability, yet their lack of cultural fit. At Laurence Simons, we pride ourselves on our ability to match clients with the best fit both on and off paper. We use a next-generation psychometric tool called Lumina Sparks which although based on the Jungen/Big 4 theory, embraces paradox. This tool looks at a lawyer’s three personas and how they behave naturally, in the workplace and under pressure. This enables us to give our clients a deep insight into how a lawyer builds relationships, motivates themselves and others and how their personality may change under stress.
Lumina helps lawyers to manage their emotional responses and build better relationships with local or remote colleagues. It can develop effective managers and leaders and ultimately- improve results. This self-development can change the perception of legal, which can in turn, make the legal team a more efficient and happy function.
Of course, EQ will never be viewed in isolation when considering the suitability of a candidate and will accompany a traditional interview assessment. It does, however, help clients to make a sustainable hire and increases the chance of getting it right, the first time.