Why is emotional intelligence important? Read on to learn how being emotionally intelligent can help you in your personal and professional life.
In this article:
- What Is Emotional Intelligence?
- EQ vs. IQ
- Importance of Emotional Intelligence
- Categories of Emotional Intelligence
- Emotional Intelligence and Stress Management
- Developing Self-Motivation
- Emotional Control and Your EI
- Building Resilience
- Links to Job Performance
- Promoting Rational Decision-Making
- Goals and Your Emotional Intelligence
- Emotional Intelligence as a Key to Success
- Communication and Conflict Management
- Personal Happiness
Why Is Emotional Intelligence Important in the Workplace and Beyond
What Is Emotional Intelligence?
Emotional Intelligence (EI), also knows as Emotional Quotient (EQ), refers to your capacity to handle emotional information and use them to guide your social interactions and relationships.
It provides a benchmark to guide your responses and understand how your actions affect others. Having a high EI allows you to adapt to change quickly, work with others effectively, and manage stress easily.
EQ vs. IQ
When psychologists first studied human intelligence, their main emphasis was on people’s cognitive ability. There’s not a lot of emphasis on the emotional and social aspects of intelligence.
Emotion and intelligence have been regarded as mutually exclusive. How can one be emotionally intelligent when emotion is considered a hindrance to achieving goals?
IQ is about how your brain processes things, and can help predict how you would succeed in an academic setting. You EI tells you how well you handle stress and work with others.
Importance of Emotional Intelligence
The higher your EI is, the better you’ll perform in any profession regardless of your IQ. This is especially more important in professions that do a lot of emotional labor like nursing, service work, social work, and management roles.
It’s also an integral part of forming meaningful and fulfilling relationships with others. People with higher EI levels tend to be more empathetic, cooperate well with others, and have more satisfying relationships in general.
The value of your EI is so high that there’s been a lot of discussion about teaching EI in schools. Emotionally intelligent children grow up to be emotionally intelligent adults.
Categories of Emotional Intelligence
Emotional intelligence can be categorized into five distinct skill sets:
- Motivation: Working for and achieving your goals even without any external rewards
- Self-Awareness: Understanding yourself, your emotions, and your behaviors
- Self-Regulation: Controlling your emotions and your responses to situations
- Empathy: Recognizing how others feel and consider them before responding
- Social Skills: Maintaining relationships, manage conflict, and work with others
Unlike your IQ, which remains stable throughout your lifetime, you can work on your emotional intelligence, which will give you a lot of benefits. These benefits include professional success and personal happiness.
Emotional Intelligence and Stress Management
Stress is a normal thing, and everyone has endured a stressful day at one point in time. The good news is that stress is also manageable with the right coping skills.
A high EI also means better stress management. You’d have the self-awareness to recognize negative emotions and prevent them from escalating.
Poor stress management can cause your mental health to deteriorate. This, in turn, makes you vulnerable to various physical illnesses.
The workplace is most people’s primary source of stressful events. Thus, being able to recognize and process emotional information at work is a vital skill in managing stress.
Emotional intelligence also gives you the ability to rationally evaluate situations. Otherwise, you tend to feel the effects of stress more intensely.
Motivation is the basic process you use to drive yourself into action to create a desired outcome.
There are four elements that make up motivation:
- Personal commitment to goals
- Drive to constantly improve
- Willingness to harness opportunities presented
- Resilience against adversity
If you have high emotional intelligence, you likely have a strong inner motivation that’s crucial for achieving success. This enables you to understand your deeper aspirations and learn the self-motivation you need to achieve your goals.
Not only do you have the tools to self-motivate, but also those you need to motivate others around you. This is especially vital if you’re in a management position.
Emotionally intelligent leaders within your organization have the power to impact employee morale. Being able to pick up other people’s concerns emotions is an indispensable skill to have if you want to find ways to motivate your team.
Emotional Control and Your EI
It’s a reality that emotions are impulse-driven and you have no control when they come in. However, you possess the capacity to manage and even control your emotions and how you respond to them.
- Self-regulation is an integral part of emotional intelligence, as it exercises your ability to detach yourself from your impulses.
- Self-management, meanwhile, is using your emotional knowledge to motivate yourself and create a positive social environment.
These skills aren’t about repressing your emotions (which isn’t a good thing either) but acknowledging them and using these skills to respond more rationally.
A leader who’s excellent at self-regulation is less likely to make impulsive decisions and be aggressive towards others.
Emotional intelligence not only enhances your leadership and teamwork skills, but also keeps you solid in the face of adversity. Resilience, or the ability to cope with stress, makes you less likely to crack under its negative effects.
People with higher EI assess perceived threats better, don’t feel negative emotions as intensely, and don’t exhibit as much physical stress effects.
They’re also less likely to experience burnout or depression. Not only that, but there’s also evidence that suggests a strong link between resilience and self-motivation.
Links to Job Performance
There’s a strong link between emotional intelligence and your job performance. Higher EI allows you to better understand yourself and others, enabling effective communication and improving your coping skills.
You can then manage your emotions better to improve your work and help people stay calm and rational when making decisions and achieving goals. Leaders with high EI not only manage stress well, but also recognize and address them in others.
Even rank-and-file employees with high EI perform better in the workplace. They’re better equipped to manage conflict and maintain great working relationships.
Organizations are slowly acknowledging the value of emotional intelligence. It’s a vital factor in your job performance both as an individual and a team member.
As you move up the ladder, the positive impact of emotional intelligence on coping skills and doing tasks also increases.
Promoting Rational Decision-Making
Emotional intelligence impacts how you navigate social complexities and manage your behavior. This, in turn, affects how you make decisions.
If you can’t get an objective look at your emotions, how can you avoid making snap decisions based on them? In contrast, being rational in the face of high emotions gives you a lot of benefits for your personal and professional life.
It’s important to recognize which emotions are unrelated to the problem at hand. Allowing these emotions to influence you can create anxiety and lead you to make poor decisions.
Goals and Your Emotional Intelligence
Emotional intelligence can also help you achieve your goals. All the factors that make up your emotional intelligence are interwoven with each other.
If you can’t regulate your emotions, how can you motivate yourself in the face of stress? If you’re not motivated, how can you achieve your goals?
Having high emotional intelligence makes you and your team perform better. It also allows you to understand your goals and motivate yourself to accomplish them.
Emotional Intelligence as a Key to Success
Different people define success in different ways, but no matter what your definition is, your emotional intelligence plays a vital role in your success.
It doesn’t matter if you’re the most intelligent person in the room. If you can’t address your negative thoughts or manage your stress, it almost becomes a moot point.
Technical skills are no longer the only benchmark for success at work. Having the soft skills to effectively deal with various people is another, sometimes more weighty, factor.
Communication and Conflict Management
To properly manage conflict, you need to be sensitive to others’ needs and feelings. This has an impact on how effective you can communicate.
Having high emotional intelligence also makes you more likely to be more collaborative than combative. This is vital if you want to build meaningful working relationships.
On the other hand, having low EI levels make you more reactive and defensive in high conflict situations.
Regardless of how you define happiness, emotional intelligence matters.
If you have a high EI, you tend to be more empathetic, cooperative, and affectionate. This, in turn, allows for more satisfying relationships.
You would also be able to manage stress better, which has a positive impact on happiness and well-being. If you can cope with the demands of daily life, you bounce back after every challenge.
It’s this resilience and positivity that gives you the motivation to get things done. In fact, as much as 50% of your happiness comes from your emotional intelligence skills.
These are just some of the ways why emotional intelligence is important. If you want a happy, successful, and resilient life, work on managing your emotions and stress so you can get things done wherever you are.
What are some aspects of your emotional intelligence that you want to work on? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.