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Emotional Intelligence Vital in the Workplace


27 February 2017 at 8:51 am
Wendy Williams
Emotional intelligence could be more important than IQ when it comes to success in the workplace, according to new research.


Wendy Williams | 27 February 2017 at 8:51 am


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Emotional Intelligence Vital in the Workplace
27 February 2017 at 8:51 am

Emotional intelligence could be more important than IQ when it comes to success in the workplace, according to new research.

A report from global staffing firm OfficeTeam has revealed nearly all workers (99 per cent) believe it is important for employees to have a high emotional quotient (EQ) because it helps them manage their own emotions and understand and react to the emotions of others.

Moreover, more than one in five employees (21 per cent) believed EQ was more valuable in the workplace than IQ, while nearly two-thirds (65 per cent) said the two were equally important.

OfficeTeam district president Brandi Britto said emotional intelligence, defined as a person’s capacity to be aware of, control and effectively express emotions, was vital in the workplace.

“The value of emotional intelligence in the workplace shouldn’t be underestimated – it’s vital to companies and teams,” Britton said.

“When organisations take EQ into consideration when hiring and also help existing staff improve in this area, the result is more adaptable, collaborative and empathetic employees.”

According to the research, which surveyed more than 600 HR managers and more than 800 workers in the United States and Canada, as many as 86 per cent of workers said when a colleague did not control his or her emotions, it affected their perception of that person’s level of professionalism.

Additional findings from the research include:

  • Most workers (92 per cent) think they have strong emotional intelligence, slightly fewer (74 per cent) believe their bosses do.
  • Three in 10 HR managers (30 per cent) feel most employers put too little emphasis on emotional intelligence during the hiring process.
  • HR managers identified increased motivation and morale (43 per cent) as the greatest benefit of having emotionally intelligent staff.
  • Reference checks (70 per cent) were cited by HR managers as the most common way companies gauge job applicants’ EQ, followed by behavioral-based interview questions (55 per cent).
  • A total of 40 per cent of HR managers said soft skills, such as communication, problem-solving and adaptability, were more difficult to teach workers than technical abilities.
  • More than six in 10 employees (61 per cent) admitted they had let emotions get the better of them in the office.

Building on the findings, the latest report Emotional Intelligence at Work: What It Is and Why You Should Care, also provides advice for boosting EQ and recognising it in potential hires.

It claimed when employees take emotions into account, they make better decisions, communicate more diplomatically and resolve issues faster.

The research also described how professionals can rely on their emotional intelligence to deal with the variety of personalities and challenging situations they encounter at work.

Dr Daniel Goleman, co-director for the Consortium for Research on Emotional Intelligence in Organisations, who is quoted in the report, said people with high EI make the best team members and leaders.

“Emotional intelligence includes abilities like emotional balance, reaching toward goals, adaptability, empathy, teamwork and influence,” Goleman said.

“These are the kind of people who make a team or business high performing.”

Goleman also identified the five key components of emotional intelligence in the workplace:

  • self-awareness
  • self-regulation
  • motivation
  • empathy
  • social skills.

Britton said there there was more to emotional intelligence than “just keeping your emotions in check”.

“It’s equally important to focus on what others are saying with their words and nonverbal cues and identify with their feelings to build effective working relationships.”


Wendy Williams  |  Editor  |  @WendyAnWilliams

Wendy Williams is a journalist specialising in the not-for-profit sector and broader social economy. She has been the editor of Pro Bono News since 2018.


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