Emotional intelligence, sometimes called EQ (“emotional factor”), refers to a person’s ability to recognize, understand, manage and reason with emotions. This is a critical ability when it comes to interpersonal communication and is a hot topic not only in psychology, but also in the business world.
The term was coined by psychologists in the 1990s. Its use quickly spread to other areas, including business, education and popular culture. But let’s get back to the point once again:
What is emotional intelligence?
Psychologists Peter Salovey and John D. Meyer, two of the lead researchers on the subject, define emotional intelligence as the ability to recognize and understand emotions within themselves and others. This ability also includes using an understanding of emotional solutions, problem solving and communication with others.
According to Salovey and Mayer, there are four different levels of emotional intelligence:
- Perception of emotions;
- Reasoning with emotions;
- Understanding emotions;
- Emotion management.
In the past, emotions and intelligence were often seen as opposing each other. In recent decades, however, researchers studying the psychology of emotions have become increasingly interested in cognition and affect. This area explores how cognitive processes and emotions interact and influence how people think. Think about how emotions and moods such as happiness, anger, fear, and sadness affect how people behave and make decisions.
Why EQ is important for success
Interest in emotional psychology and the concept of emotional intelligence really ignited with the publication of Daniel Goulman’s 1995 book “Emotional Intelligence: Why It May Matter More Than IQ.” In the book, Golman argues that emotional intelligence is crucial to predicting success in life. Emotional competencies, he argues, also play a particularly important role in the workplace.
The concept quickly attracts the attention of the public, including human resources managers and business leaders. The researchers suggest that emotional intelligence affects how well employees interact with their colleagues, and EQ is also thought to play a role in how workers manage stress and conflict. This also affects the overall efficiency of the work. Other studies link emotional intelligence to job satisfaction. Studies have shown that employees with higher EQ scores also tend to be rated higher in terms of interpersonal functioning abilities, leadership abilities and stress management.
Goulman suggests that while traditional intelligence is associated with leadership success, it alone is not enough. People who are successful at work are not just smart, they also have a high EQ.
But emotional intelligence isn’t just for CEOs and senior executives. It’s a quality that’s important at every level of a person’s career. From students seeking an internship to experienced staff hoping to take on a leadership role. If you want to succeed in the workplace and climb up in your career, emotional intelligence is crucial to your success.
Why EQ matters in the workplace
Why is emotional intelligence such a valuable skill in the workplace? According to one survey among managers, almost 75% of respondents suggested that they valued an employee’s EQ more than their IQ.
Emotional intelligence is widely recognized as a valuable skill that helps improve communication, management, problem solving and relationships in the workplace. It’s also a skill that researchers believe can be improved with training and practice.
People with high emotional intelligence are able to:
- Make better decisions and solve problems;
- Retain composure under stress;
- Resolve conflicts;
- Have more empathy (empathy);
- Listen, ponder and respond to constructive criticism.
People with low emotional intelligence tend to:
- Play the role of the victim or avoid taking responsibility for mistakes;
- Have passive or aggressive communication styles;
- Refuse to work as a team;
- Be critical of others or reject the views of others.