Emotional Intelligence and Its Importance in the Workplace

Learning to understand and control your emotions, also known as emotional intelligence, is extremely important in the workplace and it could have a tremendous impact on your career. Emotional intelligence is quickly becoming a common term in today’s workplace and some human resource departments now believe that it is a more accurate indicator of a prospective employee’s future performance than personality or previous work history. Emotional Intelligence Quotient is defined as a set of competencies demonstrating the ability of a person to recognize their own behaviors, moods, and impulses, and to appropriately manage them according to any given situation. The ability to recognize behaviors and manage them efficiently directly sets emotional intelligence apart from a person’s basic personality traits. This is one of the main reasons that corporate hiring departments are beginning to place significant importance on the development of tools that allow them to accurately assess emotional intelligence competencies of potential employees.

For decades, companies have concentrated their selection standards and designed training platforms based on specific hard skills such as industry knowledge, technical expertise, education, past work history, and the assessment of personality traits, while topics dealing with social acumen, apathy, and stress management have been largely ignored. Corporations are now finding that these factors are critical to an employee’s success and have direct influence on the bottom line. In his book, Working with Emotional Intelligence, Daniel Goldman (1998) says that “the rules for work are changing. We’re being judged by a new yardstick: not just how smart we are, or by our training and expertise, but also by how well we handle each other and ourselves”. EI is an important quality for the development of significant and productive relationships not only with customers, but also with coworkers, subordinates, and leaders.

In particular, the capacity and proper disposition to understand different groups of people, to genuinely appreciate and care about each group’s unique needs, wants, and challenges are key components of great customer service and continuous company growth. Finding and retaining employees with this vital trait can be the difference between success and failure for an entire organization. As important as high EI is with individual employees with a company, it is even more important that the leadership teams within the organization possess and exemplify the qualities associated with an elevated emotional intelligence factor. This realization is supported by research completed by the Center for Creative Leadership (2003), which found that “co-workers seem to appreciate managers’ abilities to control their impulses and anger, to withstand adverse events and stressful situations, to be happy with life, and to be a cooperative member of the group”.

With the increasing focus on the importance of emotional intelligence in the workplace, more employers are looking for ways to identify and recruit employees with strong EI qualities. Leaders know that these individuals will not only exhibit stronger individual strengths, but will also work better in teams to ensure common goals are accomplished, paving the way for consistent company growth. Therefore it is imperative that employees continuously explore ways to develop and improve their overall emotional strength. According to his article, Emotional Intelligence is Vital to Workplace Success, Mark Craemer says “increasing emotional intelligence can be done by anyone throughout life, but it takes effort and continual practice. The reward is evident in lower stress, higher career achievement and greater satisfaction in all relationships (2014).” As the world’s population continues to evolve into a dynamic stage of hybrid multi-taskers, it is imperative that we learn to accurately manage our emotional aptitude and constantly look for ways to improve our mental fitness.


Craemer, M. (2014). Emotional intelligence is vital to workplace success. Retrieved from http://www.washington.edu/admin/hr/pod/leaders/orgdev/alliance/articles/EQ_Craemer.pdf

Goleman, D. (1998). Working with emotional intelligence. New York, NY: Bantam Books. Ruderman, M.N., Hannum, K., Leslie, J.B., & Steed, J.L. (2001). Leadership skills and emotional intelligence. Greensboro, NC: Center for Creative Leadership.

Photo Credit: http://www.edurite.com

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Justin Skains

Hard-working husband, father, coach, and amateur ultra-marathoner who prides himself on results day-in and day-out...and oh yes, I love to write!

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