Emotional Intelligence in the Workplace

What is emotional intelligence?


Emotional intelligence, also known as emotional quotient, not only applies to our emotions, but those of others as well. It is defined as the ability to ‘perceive, control, and express one’s emotions, and handle interpersonal relationships empathetically’. For some, this comes easily, whereas others find it more difficult to identify and understand their own emotions as well as other people’s. It impacts your relationships and connections in all aspects of life, often in ways we haven’t considered.


As described by psychologist Daniel Goleman, there are 5 components to emotional intelligence:

  • Self-awareness – understanding yourself and being able to identify your emotions and recognise how they impact others
  • Self-regulation – being able to manage your emotions, particularly disruptive or impulsive ones
  • Motivation – a personal, inner drive to improve and accomplish things
  • Empathy – being able to see someone else’s point of view, understand how another person feels and experiences the world
  • Social skills – having good social skills allows you to form meaningful connections with others


components of emotional intelligence


There are certain characteristics that can help identify whether people have low or high emotional quotient.


Signs of low emotional intelligence:

  • Poor impulse control
  • Inability to manage stressful situations
  • Irrational thinking and poor emotional understanding
  • Trouble accepting criticism
  • Pessimism and loss of motivation after setbacks
  • Insensitive towards others


Signs of high emotional intelligence:

  • Balance emotions with logic, reality, and reason
  • Comfortable expressing feelings and discussing them with others
  • Emotionally resilient
  • Can read body language and facial expressions well
  • Often optimistic and realistic, occasionally pessimistic
  • Independence and the ability to thrive by yourself without constant need for external validation
  • An even temper



Emotional intelligence in the workplace


It may not be obvious, but emotional intelligence has huge implications in the workplace and is extremely valued. Being aware of your own, and other people’s emotions can help you navigate working relationships and situations with ease and understanding.


Emotional intelligence benefits the organisation in becoming more successful and productive as well as the individual for personal and professional reasons. A workplace can witness several benefits:


Managers often find it beneficial to hire and employ people with high emotional quotient. Communication, problem-solving, teamwork and management is made much easier when employees are emotionally intelligent, and a team can see many benefits from employees with high EQ.


When employees have higher emotional intelligence, they are more open to discussions and working together to achieve a common goal. Criticism is much more likely to be taken constructively and they will enter conversations with an open mindset.


Emotional intelligence allows you to understand why a colleague may feel, react, or behave the way they do. When this is different to our own feelings and behaviours, it can be easy to dismiss them or for conflict to arise. Having awareness and empathy towards others can help maintain civil or positive relationships with work colleagues, contributing towards a positive working environment.


A person’s emotional quotient can determine how well they interact with others, cope with stress, and their job performance and satisfaction. People with high emotional intelligence are also more open to change, they are more flexible and open to exploring new ideas which is beneficial in most working environments.


Emotionally intelligent employees are also much more likely to contribute to and create a supportive and positive working environment that in turn will strengthen employee satisfaction and retention. Similarly, emotionally intelligent people tend to be much more driven and disciplined, often taking initiative and having a positive impact on co-workers.


The success of a workplace depends on human interaction, of which emotional intelligence is the essence.