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Emotional Intelligence in the Workplace: What It Is and Why it Matters


Emotional intelligence can greatly impact your work life and career, read to learn what it is and why it is so important.

By University Alliance
Emotional Intelligence in the Workplace: What It Is and Why it Matters

Emotional intelligence can greatly impact your work life and career, so it’s important to understand exactly what it is and why it is so important. Every workplace is comprised of people with different strengths, personalities and emotions, which can greatly affect the way they work. Emotional intelligence is the ability to identify and manage your emotions as well as the emotions of others.

How Does Emotional Intelligence Affect Your Professional Life?

Emotional intelligence is typically factored into the everyday decisions employers make, such as hiring, firing and promoting employees. Many hiring managers study candidates’ emotional intelligence by asking specific questions during the hiring process, in order to identify those who have a higher degree of emotional intelligence. They also analyze the emotional intelligence of their current employees to determine leadership potential. In addition, when promotions and pay raises are being considered, emotional intelligence is typically factored into the decision.

The right academic background, professional experience and certifications are obviously necessary to land a higher position. Emotional intelligence, however, can be the key to further success, particularly when moving into management positions. Employers say emotionally intelligent managers rate higher in job satisfaction and lower in levels of turnover. If your career plans include a leadership position, emotional intelligence can help you develop teams who are happier and more productive in their work, and more likely to stay in their positions.

How Can a Lack of Emotional Intelligence Disrupt Your Career?

It’s clear that emotional intelligence can be an asset to your professional life. Unfortunately, though, a lack of emotional intelligence can also have an effect on your career. Here are five ways it can be detrimental.

  1. Insensitivity: People who are insensitive are often perceived to be uncaring. Their co-workers are less likely to want to work with them or offer help. If you’re insensitive, you may not make a good leader, and can be much less likely to be promoted.
  2. Arrogance: Arrogant people can sometimes seem to think they know it all and that no one can teach them anything. Arrogance is not a quality employers seek.
  3. Volatility: Tapping into the emotions you feel is good; however, acting out in anger can derail your career. Volatile people can cause dysfunction in teams, upset co-workers and doom projects and initiatives to failure.
  4. Rigidity: If you are inflexible in your thinking and approach, or believe that your way is the only way, you’re not a team player. In today’s professional environment, being a team player is absolutely necessary.
  5. Selfishness: If your agenda is the only one that matters, you could be perceived as being selfish. Being professional means aiming for a win-win situation whenever possible.

The business world is always changing and emotions are becoming a much more important aspect of working relationships. Having emotional intelligence increases your chances of being more accepted on teams and considered for leadership positions. It can also set you apart from the competition when seeking a new position or promotion.

What do Employers Seek in the Hiring Process?

According to a study by the U.S. Department of Labor, employers are looking for candidates who know how to listen and communicate well – both important aspects of emotional intelligence. They also prefer employees who are adaptable to changing work environments, not rigid and inflexible. Other attributes employers seek in people during the hiring process include self-management, the ability to work in teams and strong leadership potential. All of these competencies are intertwined in emotional intelligence.

Developing your emotional intelligence is a sound career strategy. In today’s global business world, where teamwork is essential to success, emotional intelligence can make you an asset to any employer.

Category: Leadership