Emotional Intelligence, otherwise known as Emotional Quotient or EQ, is the ability to understand, use and manage your own emotions in a positive way to relieve stress, communicate effectively, empathise with others and defuse conflict.

Once a buzzword in the hiring process and often coupled with the topics of workplace culture and gender diversity, EQ is one of the most important parts of the hiring process when recruiting into a Family Office.

Professionals in any scenario are expected to carry themselves professionally but in Family Offices, there is an additional prerequisite of interacting with a family.

Prospective hires will often work alongside several key members of a family who despite holding equal authority, have opposing opinions and requests. We see this often with Matriarchs and Patriarchs who have equal vetoing power. Professionals must be empathetic and compassionate enough to listen to their requests before making an accurate assessment and forming advice based on both evidence and emotion.

They must be confident but obedient, use initiative and influence but adapt and be continually aware that they are an advisor and not a decision maker. Professionals may form a poor opinion of an idea at times based on data or a gut feeling but have to accept that they may not be a change catalyst and the wealth they are generating does not belong to them. They have to be trustworthy, able to communicate and often, manage conflict.

Sometimes however, EQ isn’t about resolving family rifts but simply playing a part. We recently worked with a Family Office where the Principal was also the primary care-giver to her partner. It meant the next hire into the Family Office needed to be the right-hand person to fill in for the Principal, not just in the Family Office but at home too. This meant chairing board meetings and driving her partner to hospital appointments as and when necessary. The line between Family and Family Office was non-existent at times and the next hire had to be empathetic, willing and sympathetic to the cause.

EQ is vital in your next Family Office hire but it is also vital for the success of your workplace culture. Find out how to integrate EQ into your hiring process by downloading our Complete Guide to Cultural Fit Hiring here.

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