1.1.3 Developing Evaluation Criteria

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1.1.3 Developing Evaluation Criteria

Although there are many existing evaluation criteria for you to use, it may be helpful for you to develop your own. This allows you to contextualise it according to your job role or your workplace and focus on certain aspects of emotional intelligence that you feel are more important to your work. Some existing evaluation criteria may be very general or do not emphasise the specific skills that your workplace needs; therefore, it may be more useful to develop your own. 

Testing yourself on each of the principles will let you know what your emotional strengths and weaknesses are, and how these can be applied in your workplace. Your strengths and weaknesses will be based on the principles previously discussed. For example, questions about the relationship management principle will help you identify how well you empathise with your co-workers or if you lack the ability to motivate them effectively. Additionally, questions about your self-management may let you know that your strengths lie in being able to calm yourself down when you are angry.

The types of tests that are suitable for measuring emotional intelligence are the following: 

  • Yes or No

This type of test only has two answer options, either yes or no. An example is shown below:

Do you manage your stress level in the workplace effectively?

Although this type of test is simple and straightforward, its binary nature can limit responses. The responses may also not be applicable at all to the persons taking the test, in which case you should opt to use the other types of tests listed.

  • Scale

This type of test gives a statement and you must rate yourself based on the statement on a provided scale. The answers are usually on a five-point scale and they list how applicable the statement is to you, from 1 being least likely and 5 being most likely. An example of a statement in this form is shown below:

I am a happy person.
1 – Strong disagree
2 – Somewhat disagree
3 – Neutral
4 – Somewhat agree
5 – Strongly agree

The statement may also ask about the frequency of your actions. Another example is:

I smile at co-workers who I am not close to.
1 – Never
2 – Rarely
3 – Sometimes
4 – Frequently
5 – Always
  • Freeform Response

This type of test allows for any type of response. This is best when giving a scenario, where the response can be any action possible to do in real life. For example:

One of your teammates’ performance at work is not up to standards. How do you address this issue?

Since this type of test allows freedom of response, scoring the test itself may be difficult. In order to create a test like this, you should list down all possible correct responses. When scoring the test, refer to your answer key, but allow room for variations. This test can help you analyse emotional intelligence in-depth, as the answers to different scenarios often reveal what the test-taker’s process of thinking of a response is. 

The next thing to consider are the specific skills you want to evaluate. A good foundation to start with is the three skills required for emotional intelligence: being aware of emotions, harnessing emotions, and managing emotions. If you want your criteria to be more specific, you can also base your questions or statements off Goleman’s principles of emotional intelligence in the workplace. 

To start developing your own evaluating criteria, list down the principles you want to include. It is generally a good idea to cover all principles, but if you feel that your workplace or job task does not really require a certain principle, you can opt to focus more on the others. Contextualise these principles according to your job role or workplace. You can also use situations that commonly arise within your organisation as examples. Next, write down questions or statements that correspond to those principles. 

A sample questionnaire with four statements per principle is provided below. Responses to it are on a five-point scale, with 1 being least like the test-taker, and 5 being most like the test-taker. The statements are general, but you can reword them to be more specific and fit the context of your workplace: 

I know what situations can cause me stress.
I know why I react to things the way I do.
I set goals for myself that I know I can achieve.
I know when I feel upset.
I encourage myself to do my best at work.
I set realistic goals for myself.
I analyse the situation before reacting.
I can calm myself down quickly when I’m angry.
Social Awareness
I understand what others are feeling based on their facial expressions.
I can pick up on changes in others’ voices while they are speaking.
I understand others’ body language.
I know when others feel upset.
Relationship Management
I know what my co-workers’ strengths and weaknesses are.
I am able to motivate my co-workers to do their work efficiently.
I can calm people down quickly.
I know how to find common ground with others.

In the sample questionnaire, all the questions are worded positively, such that answering with a high number means that you have a good grasp of the emotional intelligence skill being asked about. For this test, the higher the score, the more developed one’s emotional intelligence is. 

You may also word some questions negatively, such that answering with a high number means that the emotional intelligence skill is not fully understood by the test-taker. An example of a negatively worded question is ‘I often lose my temper.’ Remember to note down which questions are worded negatively in your answer key.

An emotional intelligence test could also be used to measure job satisfaction. A person who scores highly on emotional intelligence is more likely to be satisfied with their job and those who perform the best are in positions that require them to use their emotional intelligence frequently. Meanwhile, people with a high level of emotional intelligence but are in a job that does not require them to utilise it are reported to perform more poorly and are less committed to their job. 

A good test that measures emotional intelligence would be more rigorous, having more questions or statements than the example above. The questions should also be specific to your workplace and the industry it belongs to. For example, an emotional intelligence test for someone who works in sales would have questions that focus more on dealing with customers. Meanwhile, an emotional intelligence test for a manager or team leader would have more questions related to motivating and encouraging co-workers effectively.

To summarise, the following steps are how to develop your own evaluation criteria for measuring emotional intelligence:

  1. Decide on the type of test, whether the responses will be in yes-or-no form, scale rating or freeform.
  2. List which emotional intelligence skills and characteristics are the most essential for your job role, workplace or industry.
  3. Write the questions for each category in the skills or principles of emotional intelligence. 
  4. Make sure the questions are specific to the industry and type of workplace you work in.

You may opt to rearrange the order of the questions so that the test-taker does not know which specific skill of theirs is being tested. Make sure you keep an answer key that indicates the skills that the questions correspond to.