Emotions are important on the job insofar as that people who are good at “reading” and understanding emotions in others and who are able to regulate their own emotions tend to have an edge when it comes to dealing with others. Recently, experts have come to recognize the importance of what is called emotional intelligence (EQ)– that is, a cluster of skills related to the emotional aspects of life, such as the ability to monitor one’s own and others’ emotions, to discriminate among emotions, and to use such information to direct one’s thoughts actions (Greenberg, 2005; Goleman, 1988).
As you might imagine, people who have highly developed emotional intelligence in the workplace have an edge in many different ways. Consider entrepreneurs, for example. To be successful, individuals usually have to be able to accurately judge what other people are like and to get along with others well enough to craft successful business deals. Not surprisingly, several aspects of emotional intelligence are related to the financial success of entrepreneurs (Baron & Markam, 2005). Clearly, having high levels of emotional intelligence is a real plus when it comes to one’s success on the job (Jordan, Ashkanazy, & Haertel, 2003).
Specifically, people who are considered to have high emotional intelligence (those said to have high “EQ”) demonstrate four key characteristics:
– Skills in regulating one’s own emotions: High EQs are good at self-regulation; that is they are aware of their own feelings and display the most appropriate emotions. For example, people who can calmly discuss their feelings and do not yell at others at when angered exhibit a high degree of emotional intelligence.
– Ability to monitor others’ emotions: People with high EQ’s are very good at judging how they are affecting other people and behaving accordingly. Such an individual would perhaps refrain from sharing bad news with a colleague who is already upset about something in his life. Instead, she would be inclined to wait for a more appropriate time.
– Interest in motivating oneself: There are times when many of us feel frustrated and lack interest in whatever we are doing and want to quit. This is not the case of people with high EQ’s. Rather, such individuals motivate themselves to sustain their performance, directing their emotions toward personal goals and resisting the temptation to quit.
– Highly developed social skills: People with high EQ’s also are very good at keeping a great number of relationships going over long periods of time. If you know people like this, realize that long-standing relationships are no accident. Such individuals are not only skilled at forming networks of relationships, but they are also able to coordinate carefully and work out ways to get along with others, even during difficult periods.
Goleman, D. (1998). Working with emotional intelligence. New York: Bantam.
Baran, R. A., & Markam, G. (2005). Social competence and entrepreneurs’ financial success. Journal of applied psychology.
Jordan, P. J., Ashkanazy, N. M., & Haertel, C. E. J. (2003). The case for emotional intelligence in organizational research. Academy of managment review, 28, 195-197.