“If your emotional abilities aren’t in hand, if you don’t have self-awareness, if you are not able to manage your distressing emotions, if you can’t have empathy and have effective relationships, then no matter how smart you are, you are not going to get very far.”~ Daniel Goleman, author, psychologist, science journalist, and writer for The New York Times for twelve years

“Unleash in the right time and place before you explode at the wrong time and place.”~ Oli Anderson, author, and business coach

“Anyone can be angry– that is easy. But to be angry with the right person, to the right degree, at the right time, for the right purpose, and in the right way– that is not easy.”~ Aristotle, Greek philosopher

“It is very important to understand that emotional intelligence is not the opposite of intelligence, it is not the triumph of heart over head– it is the unique intersection of both.~ David Caruso, management psychologist, and special assistant to the Dean of Yale College

“Never react emotionally to criticism. Analyze yourself to determine whether it is justified. If it is, correct yourself. Otherwise, go on about your business.”~ Norman Vincent Peale, author of The Power of Positive Thinking

“It takes something more than intelligence to act intelligently.”~ Fyodor Dostoyevsky, author, journalist, and philosopher

These famous quotes all center on what TalentSmart found is the strongest predictor of performance: Emotional Intelligence. This predictor is explained within countless articles and with an array of charts and data but the simplest definition I’ve found comes from Leslie Truex. Leslie says, “Emotional intelligence is about being able to recognize and understand your emotions and those of the people around you and manage them in a way that is productive and healthy.”

Research says “people with average IQs outperform those with the highest IQs 70% of the time” and that “there is no known connection between IQ and emotional intelligence.” Let’s break this down. At the end of the day, it’s not the number of credentials after your last name or the number of times you found yourself on the Honor Roll during your younger years that makes you a stellar employee or most likely to succeed. Instead, it’s the core skills that define emotional intelligence:

  • Self-Awareness
  • Self-Management
  • Social Awareness
  • Relationship Management

The most successful employee isn’t the one who recites the company manual with ease and who creates pivot tables of perfection. Although those are good qualities, it’s more important to know how to handle your emotions and how to respond appropriately to others.

Coworkers and customers typically respond well when someone says they don’t know an answer but is more than happy to track the answer down. Lack of knowledge and a need to learn is excusable as long as the intent to learn is present. The same can not be said for a lack of empathy or the lack of a reasonable response. Not attempting to understand your coworker’s or customer’s point-of-view and/or responding in a way that isn’t productive is not respected and will not move you forward on your road to success.

How can a business help employees boost their emotional intelligence, you ask? According to workforce.com, employers can:

  1. Provide communication skills training that helps develop self-awareness and teaches employees to recognize their colleagues’ verbal and non-verbal cues.
  2. Help employees understand the importance of listening by providing hands-on listening training.
  3. This step asks employees to question whether they truly listen to conversations or if they’re only paying attention to the pauses in the conversation, not actually what is said, so they can insert their opinion.
  4. Teach employees to manage stress and work collaboratively to develop time management plans.

What about for employees? What can they do to boost their emotional intelligence? According to The Balance Small Business, employees need to learn how to:

  1. Be self-aware
  2. Respond with a purposeful response, instead of simply reacting
  3. Know your triggers
  4. Develop empathy
  5. Learn to be positive
  6. Take critique well
  7. Be resilient
  8. Have personal responsibility
  9. Be an active listener
  10. Pay attention to how you communicate

The importance of emotional intelligence cannot be underestimated. When the head and heart intersect among employees, those employees’ actions, thoughts, and decisions propel their respective businesses forward. And what is, perhaps, most incredible about emotional intelligence is that unlike intelligence, which is someone’s ability to learn and is said to be the same at both 15 and 50, emotional intelligence can be obtained, practiced, and improved.

Successful company leaders know that if forced to choose between the academically brilliant applicant who is arrogant and carries a history of impulsive outbursts and the academically average applicant who understands how to contribute and respond within a team, company leaders will choose the latter. They will choose the one with higher emotional intelligence.

Here’s the good news: If emotional intelligence is the strongest predictor of performance and it’s a predictor that can be cultivated and grown, everyone, regardless of the number of trophies and certificates collecting dust, can be successful.

Author: Evelyn Lindell