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Emotional Intelligence (EI) in Business – Why understanding employees is crucial to success

Glenn Jones, Managing Director & Global HR Director at GGJ Global Consulting Ltd., is disrupting the industry with his new book ‘Human Resources Changes The World’. Drawing from his book, he explains in this article why understanding employees is crucial to success.

If you go back a short space in time all the business and human resources blueprint for hiring talented people was based on their Intelligence Quotient i.e. quite simply how intelligent they were based on their age against a test that they would take.  However, that implies that the skills that the person has are also at the level that they are able to emotionally connect with people that they would work and moreover they people that they manage or report into.

I always like to make sure that when people are reading my article they have a clear definition of what I am talking about so if you weren’t sure of the meaning of ‘Emotional Intelligence’ then here you go:

‘Emotional intelligence (EI), Emotional leadership (EL), Emotional quotient (EQ) and Emotional Intelligence Quotient (EIQ), is the capability of individuals to recognize their own emotions and those of others, discern between different feelings and label them appropriately, use emotional information to guide thinking and behavior, and manage and/or adjust emotions to adapt to environments or achieve one’s goal(s).’ (1)

So, why is this important now in the 21st Century? Having a great IQ doesn’t unfortunately mean that you have great EI.  I’ve heard many times over the years how people come out of University for instance with great qualifications, but they can’t then apply them in the business world as they lack EI.  Also, if you are a People Manager you cannot simply just use one style to get the best out of people; I remember several times in my career to date where I attended an interview where I would have to manage people and I was asked the following question:

‘What is your style of management?’ – If you ever have this question then you either can give one answer suggesting that you have one style of you give the answer that I live and breathe by and that is that I adjust my style depending on who I am managing or interacting with! It’s really important that to carry this through you have to a) know the people that you are working with and b) have the mental agility to change your style and your emotions to connect with that person in an authentic way.  Why authentic? If you don’t be yourself and try to force this, it comes across as disingenuous and you will find that you won’t make the connect with the person that you are working with.  In my mind you cannot have a one-size fits all mentality when working and managing people and I think that solely having IQ doesn’t work.

The command and control management style of management is still when necessary a useful style to adopt; however, in this modern age of innovation this style does not really fit or go hand in hand to allow people to think more broadly or transformationally.   For companies to survive they do need a new breed of People Managers who can use both IQ and EQ together.

If you take your Human Resources function the people who work them should have a really great balance of IQ and EI; after all, these are the people who interact with your employees on a regular basis outside of their People/Line Manager. I would suggest if you needed to find out more about EI that they should be the best place to start with.  Imagine if your company had more people with EI who could not only use their intelligence but their emotional intelligence on a daily basis.


With the current climate of cost reduction and a reduction in ‘HRness’ (2) companies and businesses all around the world need to look at their management teams all the way from CEO down and back again to ensure that they possess both EI and IQ; you could argue in fact that EI in the 21st Century is probably more important but for now I will leave you to consider your thoughts on this subject.



Glenn is a freelance HR consultant and has worked with Bank of America, HSBC, Ecolab and Imperial Brands in multi-discipline strategic and operational roles across the world. Prior to this he was employed Eversheds LLP, Accenture, Koorb (NZ) and EON as well as numerous other companies. He is working his way to his PHD, becoming a future CEO and evolving his HR consultancy business to ensure that he continually adds value to his clients, now and in the future. Glenn is passionate about coaching, emotional intelligence and company evolution. His new book ‘Human Resources Changes The World’ aims to disrupt the field of HR and change the traditional approach to who becomes a CEO.


  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emotional_intelligence
  2. Jones, Glenn Human Resources Changes the World (Panoma Press, 2018) page 15