Emotional Intelligence in the Workplace

Success in business or in life is not based solely on your IQ (intelligence quotient). Daniel Goleman, author of the book Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ, stated that IQ explains 25% of job performance, leaving the other 75% for other factors. This is where EQ (emotional intelligence) comes into play. 

Some research actually has shown that IQ has as little as a 4% impact on career success, with other factors making up the remaining 96%. The good news is that EQ can be learned and further development is possible. 

Core emotional competencies 
The five core emotional competencies are:

1. Self-awareness (formerly known as intuition)

  • Knowing your own feelings and having the ability to use this knowledge to guide your decision making
  • Having an awareness of your abilities and shortcomings

2. Self-regulation

  • Appearing conscientious and delaying gratification in order to achieve your goals 
  • Knowing how to recover from emotional distress and manage your emotions
  • Having the ability to adapt to changing circumstances

3. Motivation

  • Developing an achievement or goal orientation, so that frustrations and setbacks are put in perspective, and initiative and perseverance are refined

4. Empathy

  • Having an awareness of what others are feeling and thinking, as well as an ability to influence many different people

5. Social skills

  • Having the ability to handle close personal relationships well, but also having a sense of social networks and politics 
  • Understanding how to interact well with others and cooperate to improve results 
  • Knowing how to mange conflicts

Goleman states that other characteristics are related to EQ as well, although critics have stated that his definition is too broad and distorts the original meaning of EQ. Goleman includes characteristics such as:

  • Optimism
  • Conscientiousness
  • Motivation
  • Ability to handle stress
  • Ability to adapt to changing needs

It is thought that three informal networks exist in every company, and that people with a high EQ are well connected on all three types:

  • Communications webs—individuals who are talked to most 
  • Expertise networks—individuals who you turn to for technical advice
  • Trust networks—individuals who you can confide in with sensitive information 

Differences between the genders
EQ assessments were given to 4500 men and 3200 women. Women scored higher than men on empathy and social responsibility, but men scored higher than women on stress tolerance and self-confidence. 

Building emotional intelligence
These basic steps may help you if you want to build your emotional intelligence.

Learn how to recognize when you are stressed
Look for signs of stress, such as feeling drained, unable to concentrate, feeling “keyed up,” or having an upset stomach, tense muscles, or suffering from insomnia.

Identify how you normally react to stress
Do you become angry or depressed, or do you become unable to move?

Find a stress relief method that works for you
Generally, this is by opposing your normal response. So, if you become depressed or tired, you need something to energize you. If you become agitated, you should try to find something that calms you.

Learn how to identify your emotions
Recognize that most emotions are fleeting. They come and go quickly.

Try to decipher what is causing your emotions
What you discover about yourself may surprise you.

Become confident in expressing your emotions
Express your emotions by beginning small, maybe just by telling someone that they have hurt your feelings or made you angry. 

Become aware of nonverbal communication
Pay attention to your own and others’ nonverbal communication. Try to make sure that your physical cues are giving the same message that you are verbalizing. Look for inconsistencies in others’ nonverbal and verbal communication, so that you can better understand them.

Learn to pick your battles
Before becoming involved in a conflict, ask yourself if it is worth it.

References and recommended readings

Elliott R. Emotional intelligence. Uncommon Knowledge website. http://www.uncommon-knowledge.co.uk/emotional_intelligence/emotional.html. Accessed June 11, 2015.

Goleman D. Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ. New York, NY: Random House Publishing Group; 2006.

Review Date: 
Tuesday, May 26, 2015
Nutrition411 Staff