The Importance of Emotional Intelligence in Business

The Importance of Emotional Intelligence in Business

Being in tune with other people’s and your emotions isn’t just good for your mental health, it’s good for business too. Although born in the realm of psychology, emotional intelligence has taken the business world by storm.

Emotional intelligence is the remaining puzzle piece; without it, a business professional may never reach their fullest potential. So if advancing in your industry sounds good to you, here’s what you need to know about the importance of emotional intelligence in business.

What is Emotional Intelligence?

As mentioned before, emotional intelligence is first and foremost a psychological term. It’s defined as knowing your own emotions as well as the emotions of others. Feelings can tell you a lot about situations and relationships, so to be able to decipher what those feelings are telling you is a sign of higher emotional intelligence.

It also entails regulating your emotions as well as the emotions of others. In 1998, psychologist Daniel Goleman applied emotional intelligence to business, saying:

The most effective [business] leaders are all alike in one crucial way: they all have a high degree of what has come to be known as emotional intelligence. It’s not that IQ and technical skills are irrelevant. They do matter, but…they are the entry-level requirements for executive positions. My research, along with other recent studies, clearly shows that emotional intelligence is the sine qua non of leadership. Without it, a person can have the best training in the world, an incisive, analytical mind, and an endless supply of smart ideas, but he still won’t make a great leader.

Becoming a better leader takes more than just good business sense to climb the corporate ladder. You need the emotional intelligence to make the rest of your skills truly visible.

The 5 Components of Emotional Intelligence

Business isn’t just about spreadsheets and deadlines. It requires a human element to grow and excel in the corporate landscape. In order to do that, you need the emotional intelligence to back you up — but what exactly is emotional intelligence comprised of? When it comes down to it, there are five components that make up emotional intelligence. They include:

1. Self-awareness

This is different from being self-absorbed. When you’re aware of yourself, you know what you’re good at and what you can improve upon. You understand that your actions have an effect on others and are open to feedback, positive or negative.

2. Self-regulation

Being able to express your emotions and control how you express them is often an underestimated skill to have. Self-regulation is all about addressing your emotions in a positive and constructive manner. Although some people are naturally more self-controlling, self-regulation skills can be taught by a counselor as well.

3. Motivation

Many people may be motivated by external factors, but emotionally intelligent individuals are self-motivated. They are better able to withstand disappointments and defeats since they have an inner drive that keeps them going.

4. Empathy

Empathy is the ability to understand what others are feeling. It’s the old adage: “put yourself in someone else’s shoes.”

5. Social Skills

These skills are vital whether you’re in business or not. To be able to interact with people and form positive relationships is one of the most important assets a person can have.

In order to be emotionally intelligent, you must be proficient in all five of these elements. Being completely aware of yourself but feeling no empathy for others will still put you at a disadvantage in your industry.

The Importance of Emotional Intelligence in Business

It is possible to learn emotional intelligence if you think you need to shape up in some of the areas listed above. However, job recruiters will be looking for people who already possess these skills. People with high emotional intelligence are able to integrate into a new team and work with new people more smoothly due to a flexible attitude and an adaptability to change.

Intelligence is definitely still a desired and sought after asset, but if a person doesn’t have the emotional intelligence to most effectively wield it, it may not matter how much experience or how many credentials an individual has. These principles still apply if you are already with a company or doing the hiring yourself.

You’re more likely to get that next promotion if you exhibit exceptional emotional intelligence from the get go, and you would want the emotional intelligence to make better and more informed hiring decisions. You don’t want just anyone working for your business. Only the best and brightest will be at your company if you have the insight to know them when you see them. 

Emotions are more important than most people give them credit for. How we and other people feel, understand, and react to those feelings determines many outcomes in our lives, especially when it comes to business.

Emotional intelligence may not be the one and only way to success, but it definitely helps your odds. Just like it’s better to build bridges than tear them down and stop fires instead of start them, emotional intelligence helps you navigate the oftentimes complex world of business.

Author: Amethyst Tagney is a freelance writer and illustrator. She spends her time writing on a variety of topics and is an avid learner. When Amethyst’s not drawing, she loves to share what she discovers. You can find her on Twitter @AmTagWrites.

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