What is Emotional Intelligence?
Emotional intelligence (EI) is defined as the ability to: be aware of, name and manage one’s emotions, as well as those of others; and effectively relate to others personally and professionally in a range of contexts and roles. Coined by researchers Peter Salovey and John D. Mayer in 1990, the basic components of EI are:
- Self-awareness: the ability to recognize and understand your emotions, emotional triggers and limitations
- Self-regulation: the ability to manage and regulate your emotions
- Motivation: the inner drive to accomplish goals
- Empathy: the ability to recognize and understand the emotions of others
- Social skills: the ability to relate to and interact with others
Watch this video to learn more about these components, the qualities of emotionally intelligent employees, the importance of EI to hiring managers and how to improve your EI.
Emotional Intelligence in the Workplace
Emotional intelligence relates to career factors such as:
- Promotion potential: According to the CareerBuilder survey, 75% of hiring managers and human resources professionals said they were more likely to promote a highly emotionally intelligent worker.
- Job performance: A 2010 meta-analysis from the Journal of Organizational Behavior found that emotional intelligence correlated to job performance.
- Entrepreneurship: A 2014 study in the Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology found that two dimensions of emotional intelligence – regulation and utilization of emotions – were related to entrepreneurial self-efficacy.
- Creativity: Employees with higher EI had a higher level of creativity, according to a 2017 study from the International Journal of Management Excellence.
- Engagement: Emotional intelligence was linked to workplace engagement in a 2014 study from the Journal of Personality and Individual Differences.
- Perceived power: The Journal of Personality study also found that higher emotional intelligence was linked to greater perceived power in the workplace.
Emotionally intelligent employees may also be better at working in teams, adjusting to change and being flexible. Additionally, they typically have superior people skills, and are resilient, motivated, empathetic and self-aware, according to an article from the Harvard Business Review on the 12 Elements of EI. These workers can regulate their emotions in difficult situations, and communicate and relate to coworkers more effectively.
Signs of Low Emotional Intelligence
Given the potential benefits of having high EI, what are some of the signs that you may need to improve your emotional intelligence?
- You are unable to hear feedback.
- You blame others for issues on your team.
- You often feel like other people don’t get the point you’re trying to make, which makes you feel frustrated.
- You don’t think being liked at work is that important.
- You can be aggressive or passive-aggressive in your communication.
- You become irritated when people expect you to know how they feel.
Does any of this sound familiar? Take our quiz to find out your emotional intelligence level.
If you didn’t do as well as you’d like, read our article for tips on improving your emotional intelligence.