From individual contributor to manager, you see some uptick in emotional intelligence. After that, it’s literally straight down — to the point where CEOs tend to have four full points lower of emotional intelligence/EQ than individual contributors did.
The reasons for this are pretty simple: as you get further up the chain — or further to the right in this graph — you focus on deliverables and revenue more, and on people less. You don’t really have the time to walk around and talk to employees — you’re stuck in meetings. It all comes back to basic respect issues, and if you don’t believe respect is something that should be expected in the workplace, then it goes back to basic definitions of leadership.
The whole arc of a career is somewhat akin to the arc of a person’s personal leanings on political-type topics — as you get older, because you have more responsibility (higher job, family, mortgage/home), you tend to shift your perceptions on a few things from where they were when you were younger. As a low-grade supervisor — your first managerial job! — you have the time and resources and flexibility to be a bit more connected with employees. By the time you’re a senior executive, that’s all a thing of the past.
Maybe this is why 82 percent of managers aren’t considered that good. Well, it’s part of it.