Emotional intelligence has become a hot topic in the workplace in recent years. The term was officially coined in the 1990s by two professors, John D. Mayer of UNH and Peter Salovey in a research paper that explores an individual’s ability to perceive other’s emotions based on scientific research.

Over the last decade, the term has not only been widely discussed but has set the standard for professionals around the world. Certain professions that require high levels of experience and the ability to communicate clearly and efficiently, such as business consulting, are becoming increasingly dependent on emotional intelligence. While technical skills still remain important, your next hire also needs to be emotionally adept and here’s why.

Improvement vs. perfection

One of the main reasons companies typically take on a business consultant is because they offer to fill a knowledge gap and are specifically trained in optimizing business operations. Yet, that doesn’t mean they should necessarily fit the model of the “perfect employee”. While it may sound somewhat illogical, you are probably better off working with someone who is open about their setbacks and pays attention to their weak points.

Business consultants that are open and honest about where they thrive and where they need to improve will be far more likely to be transparent about what they can and cannot do, thus creating a foundation for open and honest communication to be built. Hiring someone that values open conversation and collaboration can be an opportunity to learn together, which will pay off in the long run. So even if you feel you have found the “perfect” consultant, make sure you take a moment to see if you are on the same wavelength before you make any final decisions.

They value flexibility

Workers who possess high EQ tend to be more open-minded and more willing to embrace change. This is a must when working with a business consultant, as they are helping you optimize your business plan, which takes a lot more than just industry knowledge and experience, but a willingness to remain open to alternative solutions. It’s also to important to be aware of the long-term positive effects more open minded team members can have on a business. A business consultant is someone you will be working with closely, and as with any colleagues, you want to ensure that they are open and respectful of you ideas. Open-minded professional relationships can influence your whole team network, creating more harmonious and collaborative professional relationships.

Emotionally intelligent employees attract talent

Emotionally intelligent individuals tend to have magnetic personalities, as their energy is inclusive and comfortable. In a professional setting, this can be invaluable as employees with a high EQ can help you attract new talent and grow your network. Business consultants that have advanced social skills can be a powerful asset for businesses that are acquiring funding. Successfully raising funds can be a lengthy process, so it helps to have someone who can not only offer professional advice but potentially connect you to a network of venture capitalists on the lookout for new opportunities.

While you certainly don’t want to overlook experience and technical skills, paying attention to a potential employee’s EQ is just as important.