The Importance of Emotional Intelligence at Work
Scholars may have coined the term “emotional intelligence” in the early 1990s, but business leaders quickly took the concept and made it their own. According to emotional intelligence, or EQ, success is strongly influenced by personal qualities such as perseverance, self-control and skill in getting along with others. Much has been written about how to improve employees’ EQ, but hiring managers are likely to make better hiring decisions when they look for people who already possess high EQ scores. Workers with high EQ are better able to work in teams, adjust to change and be flexible. No matter how many degrees or other on-paper qualifications a person has, if he or she doesn’t have certain emotional qualities, he or she is unlikely to succeed. As the workplace continues to evolve, making room for new technologies and innovations, these qualities may become increasingly important.
In his books, Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More than IQ and Working With Emotional Intelligence, Daniel Goleman presents five categories of emotional intelligence. To hire candidates who will thrive in your workplace, look for those who have a handle on these five pillars.
Self-awareness: If a person has a healthy sense of self-awareness, he understands his own strengths and weaknesses, as well as how his actions affect others. A person who is self-aware is usually better able to handle and learn from constructive criticism than one who is not.
Self-regulation: A person with a high EQ can maturely reveal her emotions and exercise restraint when needed. Instead of squelching her feelings, she expresses them with restraint and control.
Motivation: Emotionally intelligent people are self-motivated. They're not motivated simply by money or a title. They are usually resilient and optimistic when they encounter disappointment and driven by an inner ambition.
Empathy: A person who has empathy has compassion and an understanding of human nature that allows him to connect with other people on an emotional level. The ability to empathize allows a person to provide great service and respond genuinely to others’ concerns.
People skills: People who are emotionally intelligent are able to build rapport and trust quickly with others on their teams. They avoid power struggles and backstabbing. They usually enjoy other people and have the respect of others around them.
Just as it’s important to seek new hires with emotional intelligence, it’s vital for managers and other business leaders to operate in emotionally intelligent ways to meet the needs of today’s workers. Many older workers started their careers at the same companies from which they retired. A job, for many in older generations, was viewed simply as a vehicle for earning an income. Today, however, most workers want more from their jobs than simply a paycheck. Younger generations have seen that the traditional view didn’t always work out, as they’ve watched their loyal older counterparts deal with rampant layoffs and workplace disappointments. While the emotional needs of today’s workforce may seem like a tall order for employers, they're worth your attention. Investing in EQ has brought our company more engaged, committed employees, and we'll continue to put a premium on this effort moving forward.