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In the early 20th century, the Intelligence Quotient (IQ) started to gain popularity as an indicator to determine whether a person would be successful in life. IQ scores, according to some old beliefs, could establish a strong relationship with academic performance and professional success (Cherry, 2019). This idea does not seem out of the ordinary, given that the industry was utterly mechanical and labor-intensive. Nevertheless, Dale Carnegie, author of the bestseller titled How to Win Friends and Influence People, asserted in 1936 that, “about 15 percent of one’s financial success is due to one’s technical knowledge and about 85 percent is due to skill in human engineering-to personality and the ability to lead people” (p. 15). Along the same lines, John D. Rockefeller once said that “the ability to deal with people is as purchasable a commodity as sugar or coffee, and I will pay more for that ability than for any other under the sun.” Thus, this premise about the importance of IQ as main predictor of people success is not in itself wrong, but it shows us a biased and incomplete picture of reality. But, what ability to deal with people were Carnegie and Rockefeller referring to? Indeed, they were talking about empathy. In 1995, a term began to capture the headlines of business magazines, emotional intelligence (EI). Daniel Goleman, a science journalist, mentions that EI is as important as IQ for success (Goleman, 1995). Based on the same principle, Keyser (2013) states that, “EI deepens our empathy—a capacity to sense the feelings of others.” Specifically, in the 21st century when globalization has taken over the world, interactions and expressions of feelings and emotions gets more complex and perplexing. Thus, EI represents a valuable instrument to deal with challenges of this new age. Therefore, based on these premises, the existence of emotional intelligence positively influences in today’s business settings, in which social skills and building relationships are significant.
Emotional Intelligence is that disposition that allows us to take the reins of our emotional impulses, understand the deepest feelings of peers, kindly manage relationships or develop what Aristotle would call the infrequent ability to get angry at the right person, in the degree exactly, at the right time, with the right purpose and in the right way (Coleman, 1995). In other words, this intelligence allows us to meditate on our feeling in order to have a complete domain over them. Also, it helps understand others’ feelings, so that we could understand what others act in a specific way. In essence, it is a construct that helps us comprehend how we can influence in an adaptive and intelligent way both our emotions and our interpretation of the emotional states of others (Regader, n.d.).
Elements of Emotional Intelligence
Goleman (1995) points out that the main domains of Emotional Intelligence are the following:
- Self-awareness: which refers to the knowledge of our own feelings and emotions and how they influence us.
- Emotional self-control (or self-regulation), which allows us to reflect and dominate our feelings or emotions, so as not to get carried away blindly.
- Recognition of emotions in others (or empathy). Interpersonal relationships are based on the correct interpretation of the signals that others express unconsciously, and often emit nonverbally.
- Motivation that allows us to stay motivated and focus on goals rather than obstacles.
- Social skills. A good relationship with others is an essential source for our personal happiness and even, in many cases, for good job performance.
These five areas make up what is known as emotional intelligence, five qualities that are increasingly in demand in companies so that they can improve due to an internal effort to unite the workforce and make it more productive.
The importance of EI on the business arena
According to Judge and Robbins (2019), emotions are critical to rational thinking. So, there is no way to eliminate them. We, as human, must live and deal with them. There are common at work and necessary. Therefore, EI at work is essential for an unquestionable reason, because if this does not happen, communication within the work teams could get obstructed, causing deterioration of interpersonal relationships and negatively affecting the level of productivity.
In a study conducted by Schutte and Loi (2014), it is shown that higher EI is strongly associated with workplace flourishing. The authors concluded that higher emotional intelligence is related to good mental health, work engagement, more satisfaction and more perceived power in the workplace. They also show that employees with high levels of EI are better able to cooperate, manage work-related stress and resolve conflicts.
Furthermore, Arora (2017), in a literary review, argues that “high emotional intelligence plays an important role in the career, especially if a person is aiming for a leadership position within the organization” (p. 45). Therefore, if skills in understanding human behaviors is an important indicator for people’s financial success, so is it for companies. By analyzing her findings, EI at work plays a decisive role at all levels of the chain of command. If the phases designed to understand the complex concept of this type of intelligence are considered, it can easily be associated with leadership within companies, where efficient social interaction is essential to achieve the maximum team performance.
Moreover, a correlational study conducted by Rosete and Ciarrochi (2005) shows that EI leads to better executive performance. They concluded, as Schutte and Loi did, that higher EI was associated with stronger leadership effectiveness, and that EI explained variance not explained by either personality or IQ.
Emotional intelligence is one of the best predictors of performance in the workplace, of excellent leadership and personal excellence. Also, when increasing effective use of EI, we enhance the ability to develop stronger and more reliable relationships in our business environment.
The quality of our relationships determines the effectiveness of the organization performance. Relationships, internal with colleagues and team members and external with providers and clients, are so important to our success in the business arena. The stronger internal and external relations are the stronger the bottom line is. Indeed, these findings suggests that high EQ leaders immensely enhance the performance of their companies.
- Arora, B. (2017). Importance of emotional intelligence in the workplace. International Journal of Engineering and Applied Sciences (IJEAS), 4, 43-45. https://www.ijeas.org/download_data/IJEAS0404010.pdf
- Carnegie, D. (1936). How to Win Friends and Influence People. New York, NY: Simon and Schuster.
- Cherry, K. (October 18, 2019). Are people with high IQs more successful? Retrieved from https://www.verywellmind.com/are-people-with-high-iqs-more-successful-2795280
- Goleman, D. (1995). Emotional intelligence. New York, NY: Bantam Books.
- Judge, T. A. & Robbins, S. P. (2019). Essentials of Organizational Behavior (14th ed.). Tamil Nadu, India: Pearson Education Services.
- Keyser, J. (June 11, 2013). Emotional Intelligence is key to our success. Retrieved from https://www.td.org/insights/emotional-intelligence-is-key-to-our-success
- Regader, B. (n.d.). ¿Qué es la inteligencia emocional? [Blog post]. Retrieved from https://psicologiaymente.com/inteligencia/inteligencia-emocional.
- Rosete, D., & Ciarrochi, J. (2005). Emotional intelligence and its relationship to workplace performance outcomes of leadership effectiveness. LODJ, 26,5. https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/e90b/7588e31849055a2ca43233827d09ba26ce9c.pdf
- Schutte, N. S., & Loi, N. M. (2014). Connections between emotional intelligence and workplace flourishing. Personality and Individual Differences, 66, 134-139. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.paid.2014.03.031
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