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Making Emotional Intelligence a Priority

Why should you prioritise EI?

When searching for a new employee or offering a promotion, we often credit someone’s cognitive ability or expertise and will dismiss the importance of having emotional intelligence.

IQ tests have been used as a measurement to predict job performance for centuries, but research into its effectiveness is mixed. According to Daniel Goleman, two out of three abilities required for effective job performance are accounted for by emotional competencies, rather than academic competencies, and ‘intelligent’ individuals with promising careers are often restricted due to the significant gaps in their emotional intelligence.

This suggests that organisations should recognise an individual’s emotional intelligence, as well as their cognitive ability.

But why should emotional intelligence be a priority in the workplace?

1) Leadership success and improved job performance

Transformational leadership is considered the gold standard of effective leadership. Research has shown a correlation between transformational leadership and emotional intelligence. Emotionally intelligent leaders are more likely to:

  • Understand how their emotions influence others and have the confidence to take initiative when it is needed.

  • Express themselves and their beliefs in a non-offensive and constructive manner.

  • Maintain and develop meaningful relationships and be sensitive to both their team and wider community.

  • Make objective, well thought out decisions when emotions are involved.

  • Be open to new ideas and remain positive and resilient in stressful situations.

2) Team cohesion and collaboration

Someone who has high interpersonal skills, a key component of emotional intelligence, tends to develop genuine relationships and be respectful and considerate of other people’s feelings. These skills are likely to reduce team conflict and create an environment of trust and compassion where employee contribution and collaboration is valued.

3) Improved resilience and wellbeing

Research has shown that individuals who have high emotional intelligence are likely to have increased wellbeing and resilience. Having high emotional intelligence helps individuals to have effective coping strategies in the face of setbacks and stress, making them more resilient when challenges arise.

Emotionally intelligent individuals are also more likely to project confidence, motivation, have a positive outlook and pursue meaningful relationships, which in turn creates a positive working environment.

Organisations should look further than just the cognitive abilities of their current and future employees. The ability to understand, manage and use our emotions in an effective and meaningful manner could be the make or break of success.

Find out more about emotional intelligence, or learn about the EQ-i 2.0 model.

Richardson, K., & Norgate, S. H. (2015). Does IQ really predict job performance?. Applied Developmental Science, 19(3), 153-169.

Goleman, D. (1998). Working with emotional intelligence. Bantam.

MHS Staff. (2011). Emotional Quotient Inventory 2.0 (EQ-i 2.0) Technical Manual. Toronto: Multi-Health Systems Inc.

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