Emotional Intelligence in the Workplace

In today’s world, employers are looking for competent and productive employees who complete their work with confidence and optimal efficiency. There are 2 levels of job competence. The first involves expert skills (i.e. those that people need in order to carry out the tasks associated with a given position). The second level involves emotional intelligence. And it is these emotional skills that set star performers apart from average ones. These competencies enable a person to perform superbly.

A study about competence (involving 40 companies) revealed that strengths in purely cognitive capacities were 27% more frequent in star performers than in average performers, but strengths in emotional competencies were 53% more frequent in star performers than in average performers. In other words, emotional competencies were nearly twice as important in contributing to excellence as were pure intellect and expertise.

Founding Fathers

The term Emotional Intelligence came about in the 1980’s once psychologists recognized that intelligence cannot only be measured in terms of “verbal abilities” and “math abilities”. Israeli psychologist Reuven Bar-On proposed a pioneering model of “Emotional Intelligence”. A few years later (1990) a comprehensive theory of Emotional Intelligence was proposed by American psychologists Peter Salovey and John Mayer. They defined Emotional Intelligence in terms of being able to monitor and regulate one’s own and others’ feelings, and utilizing the results to guide through an action.

It was in 1995 that American psychologist Daniel Goleman first made the general public aware of the existence of Emotional Intelligence. Since then, his book with the same title, has been translated into more than 25 languages and has been a No.1. bestseller in many countries.

What is Emotional Intelligence?

What Goleman did was adapt Salovey and Mayer’s model into a version that is very useful for understanding how an intelligence about “feelings-and-actions” matters in life. He identified 5 basic emotional and social competencies: self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy and social skills.


What’s your EQ?

The person who has a high Emotional Intelligence or Emotional Quotient (EQ):

– has a realistic assessment of their own abilities

– has a well-grounded sense of self-confidence

– is aware of how they feel in a given moment

– is able to handle their emotions so that they facilitate a task rather than interfere with it

– is conscientious and can delay gratification in order to pursue goals

– can use their deepest preferences to move and guide them towards his goal

– to help them take initiative and strive to improve, can persevere in the face of setbacks and frustrations

– has the ability to sense what people are feeling and is able to take their perspective

– cultivates rapport with a broad diversity of people

– is able to interact smoothly and handle emotions in relationships well

– can accurately read social situations and networks


How EQ Sets You Apart

In Goleman’s Working with Emotional Intelligence, he confirms that it is Emotional Intelligence, and not IQ, that determines outstanding job performance. It is Emotional Intelligence, and not IQ, that sets star performers apart from average performers! The general value of emotional competence in star performers is twice that of the value of their cognitive capacities (such as IQ or technical expertise). Goleman also revealed that the impact of Emotional Intelligence is greater at the top of the leadership pyramid! (Another extensive study confirmed this: people in lower level positions had a higher score on technical abilities than on Emotional Intelligence, whereas people in a higher level position had a higher score on Emotional Intelligence than on technical ability.)


Introducing EQ to IQ in the Workplace

It is enlightening to know that Emotional Intelligence, unlike IQ, can be increased. An individual’s IQ changes little after the teen years. But, Emotional Intelligence seems to be largely learned – it continues to develop as we go through life and learn from our experiences.

EQ can be introduced and learned through corporate training and teaching practices, such as using role-play activities, showing videos made with mysimpleshow, or having employees make videos together about Emotional Intelligence. The bottom line is, what matters for success is not intellect alone; there is another “ingredient”: Emotional Intelligence.