Here is an interesting question: What makes a person competent in their job? For many of us the first answer would be that they "do their job well" referring to their professional ability. I believe, however, that professional competency is only part of the equation and that relational and emotional intelligence is just as important as professional skill.
Take a top rate accountant for instance. They may be superbly trained and incredibly accurate but if they cannot get along with their peers they will never be successful. In fact, I believe that we underestimate the impact on poor relational and emotional skills to our detriment because they impact so many others on our teams.
No matter how competent someone is in a specific skill - if they have significant relational or EQ deficits they become a real liability to the health of a team or organization. We often overlook the damage because of their skill but the truth is that a strong skill cannot make up for the negative impact of relational and EQ dishealth.
This has two important implications. The first is that relational and EQ health must be a significant issue in the hiring process. Can they do the job is an important question. Equally important is whether they can get along with others and display healthy EQ.
The second implication is that we need to be addressing issues of relational and EQ health on a regular basis with our staff. All of us can grow in these areas unless we have a significant personality disorder. Growth in these areas grows the health of the organization as a whole. Many individuals have never been trained in relational and EQ health. Yet it is perhaps the most significant issue in their professional and personal success.
I meet many professionally competent people. I meet fewer people whose relational and EQ health matches their professional skill. I am committed to developing both sides with our staff and certainly look at both sides when hiring.