Finance News & Insights

Do they have the trait 71% of bosses find most important? Do you?

Finance staffers need to be smart, right? Of course, but it may not be the most important quality they should possess for success.

Turns out, most of your peers value emotional intelligence (EQ) over IQ. Nearly
three-quarters of them (71%) do in fact, according to a recent survey by CareerBuilder.com.

Whether you agree or not, there’s a compelling case to consider it seriously.

Check out the list of reasons why so many managers believe EQ is the most critical skill in the workplace today, as well as how it translates to Finance specifically:

  • They are more likely to stay calm under pressure. That’s a must in a
    deadline-driven department like Finance, whether it’s the month-end or year-end crunch staring them down.
  • They know how to resolve conflict effectively.  Perhaps it’s with a customer or a vendor over a payment; maybe it’s with a salesperson over a customer’s creditworthiness. On all these fronts, Finance needs to be able to defuse tense situations quickly and effectively, without escalating them or damaging business relationships.
  • They are empathetic to their team members and react accordingly. Finance is a very cooperative department – folks have to work together frequently. Without an ability to be empathetic, you’ll spend more time smoothing things over than getting work done.
  • They lead by example. If you’re looking to spot your next possible A/R supervisor, this can be a great indicator of who’s got the right stuff.
  • They tend to make more thoughtful business decisions. More than many departments, the actions of Finance staffers have a direct – and easily calculated — impact on the financial health of the company. You want to be confident that the members of your team are carefully considering the big picture when making decisions on a day-to-day basis.

So how can you determine whether your existing – and future – finance team members possess a high emotional intelligence? HR execs tell CareerBuilder they look for five specific traits that let them know they have a winner on their hands.

  1. They admit and learn from their mistakes.
  2. They can keep emotions in check and have thoughtful discussions on tough issues.
  3. They listen as much or more than they talk.
  4. They take criticism well.
  5. They show grace under pressure.

Certainly these are traits you’ll want to get into with candidates during job interviews. You can ask questions or press for examples that demonstrate these key qualities.

But it’s also well worth looking at your existing staffers with these characteristics in mind.

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