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Is Emotional Intelligence Important for Job Performance?

Posted by  Jessica Petor

IntelligenceMost people think of IQ (Intelligence Quotient) when they hear the word intelligence. It’s widely accepted that assessing human intelligence can predict performance over time; higher IQ’s indicate a better ability to learn and understand than those with lower scores.

There is no doubt that someone should have a relatively good IQ to be successful at their job, but many people are unaware how their EMOTIONAL intelligence can play a role in how successful they are within their job.

So what is emotional intelligence? If you Google Emotional Intelligence (EQ), a pretty clear definition appears: “the capacity to be aware of, control, and express one's emotions and to handle interpersonal relationships judiciously and empathetically” and with that it’s stated that "emotional intelligence is the key to both personal and professional success".

I would bet you have met at least ONE person who had low EQ: You are talking quietly and discreetly about a family issue that you are having with a group of coworkers. Bob (low in EQ) doesn’t recognize the situation going on and inappropriately walks up to the group with enthusiasm to announce that he just won $50 on a lottery ticket and starts talking about himself.

So what makes Bob low in EQ?

There are five main skills of emotional intelligence are (developed by Daniel Goleman):

  • Self-awareness – the ability to recognize and understand your moods, emotions, as well as their effect on others.

    • Bob was not aware of the impact of his announcement.

  • Self-Regulation – the ability to control or redirect disruptive impulses and moods.

    • Bob was not able to hold his excitement of the winning when it would have been more appropriate.

  • Motivation – The passion to work for reasons that go beyond money or status.

  • Empathy – the ability to understand the emotional makeup of other people.

    • Bob was not empathetic to the negative emotions of the group hearing about the bad situation.

  • Social Skill – The proficiency in managing relationships and building networks.

But why is EQ important?

Research shows that people with high levels of emotional intelligence have greater career success, job performance, foster stronger personal relations, have more effective leadership skills, and are healthier than those with low emotional intelligence (Cooper, 1997). Organizations should start taking interest in how they can further develop their employees and recruiting those who have high EQ.

Unlike IQ which is thought to be stable, it’s been thought that we can develop emotional intelligence (EQ). Now that you are aware of how to identify emotional intelligence, you can prevent from becoming inappropriate Bob. What can you personally do to further develop your EQ?

Learn more about sales focused assessments.

Jessica Petor

Jessica is a Research Analyst located at Select International's Pittsburgh office. She holds a Master's degree in Industrial Organizational Psychology from Northern Kentucky University.

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