There is a productive debate in the professional and research community about the utility of self-report inventories when looking at EQ (EI) behaviors. The evidence suggests that we tend to over rate our EQ skills seems to have an edge. When you compare how individuals rate themselves on factors like Empathy, Patience, Understanding Others, they generally give themselves high marks while those who work with individuals rate these significantly lower.
There is further debate on the value of putting EQ on a normative bell curve scoring system. EQ is such a complex area of human experience can a single score really communicate anything of developmental value? Further, do global scores really provide any predictive value in performance? Some evidence would suggest that there is some relationship, though not strong enough to place many bets on. For example, if you received an overall EQ score of 120 you would be in the top 15% but if on key scales like Empathy and Interpersonal Skills you scores were 90, an individual may feel as though the news is so good that paying attention to the other factors have no utility.
There is value in knowing about the behaviors, competencies, or skills that matter in personal and interpersonal effectiveness, and merit in considering how much or little an individual may feel he or she demonstrates. The strength and power of the behavioral feedback is exponentially enriched when there are comparison points of those who work with and know the individual. For example, rating oneself as a 5 (Talented) in Empathy and to learn than 9 raters see that the behavior is demonstrated as a 2 (unskilled) typically leads to a profound awareness that one’s self-image and the image others experience are misaligned. And generally, this misalignment produces a motivation to understand, to adjust, and to enrich behavior.
We think that the 360 (or even 180) ratings of key EQ related skills provides for richer insights and more opportunities for growth and development. Having the boss, peers, direct reports or associates, and others who know an individual rate specific and well defined behaviors is the best form of assessing the aspects of EQ that matter.