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The Importance of Emotional Intelligence in the Workplace

Part 2 of 3

Why It Matters More than Personality

Previously we defined Emotional Intelligence (EQ) and described how it was different from Personality. Now we will outline and define the 5 key EQ competencies that have been correlated to workplace success.

EQ Competencies that Correlate to Workplace Success

The following outlines a set of five emotional intelligence competencies that have proven to contribute more to workplace achievement than technical skills, cognitive ability, and standard personality traits combined.

Social Competencies—Competencies that Determine How We Handle Relationships

Intuition & Empathy. Our awareness of others’ feelings, needs, and concerns. This competency is important in the workplace for the following reasons.

  • Understanding others: an intuitive sense of others’ feelings and perspectives, and showing an active interest in their concerns and interests

  • Customer service orientation: the ability to anticipate, recognize, and meet customers’ needs

  • People development: ability to sense what others need in order to grow, develop, and master their strengths

  • Leveraging diversity: cultivating opportunities through diverse people

Political Acumen & Social Skills. Our adeptness at inducing desirable responses in others. This competency is important in the workplace for the following reasons.

  • Influencing: using effective tactics and techniques for persuasion and desired results
  • Communication: sending clear and convincing messages that are understood by others
  • Leadership: inspiring and guiding groups of people
  • Change catalyst: initiating and/or managing change in the workplace
  • Conflict resolution: negotiating and resolving disagreements with people
  • Building bonds: nurturing instrumental relationships for business success
  • Collaboration and cooperation: working with coworkers and business partners toward shared goals
  • Team capabilities: creating group synergy in pursuing collective goals

Personal Competencies—Competencies that Determine How We Manage Ourselves

Self Awareness. Knowing one’s internal states, preferences, resources, and intuitions. This competency is important in the workplace for the following reasons.

  • Emotional awareness: recognizing one’s emotions and their effects and impact on those around us
  • Accurate self-assessment: knowing one’s strengths and limits
  • Self-confidence: sureness about one’s self-worth and capabilities

Self Regulation. Managing one’s internal states, impulses, and resources. This competency is important in the workplace for the following reasons.

  • Self-control: managing disruptive emotions and impulses
  • Trustworthiness: maintaining standards of honesty and integrity
  • Conscientiousness: taking responsibility and being accountable for personal performance
  • Adaptability: flexibility in handling change
  • Innovation: being comfortable with an openness to novel ideas, approaches, and new information

Self Expectations & Motivation. Emotional tendencies that guide or facilitate reaching goals. This competency is important in the workplace for the following reasons.

  • Achievement drive: striving to improve or meet a standard of excellence we impose on ourselves
  • Commitment: aligning with the goals of the group or organization
  • Initiative: readiness to act on opportunities without having to be told
  • Optimism: persistence in pursuing goals despite obstacles and setbacks

Next we will discuss several workplace case studies that reveal EQ’s impact on the bottom line.

Read Part 1

- Mike Poskey

Mike Poskey is vice president of ZERORISK HR, Inc., a Dallas-based human resources risk management consulting firm specializing in the identification and retention of Top Talent. For more information, visit or call Mike at 800-827-5991 x 347.

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