Emotional intelligence, sometimes shortened to EI or EQ, is the ability of individuals to recognize their own and others’ emotions, discern between them, and use that knowledge to guide their thinking, behavior, and actions. The term was first popularized in a 1994 book by Daniel Goleman, “Emotional Intelligence: Why it Can Matter More than IQ“, but the term and the study of the value of using emotions to form behavior and action dates back to a 1964 paper by Michael Beldoch arguing the value of emotional sensitivity in various modes of communication.
Emotional intelligence has a long history, but it’s only recently that business and organizations have begun to see its value. With more modern leadership techniques changing the focus from productivity to individual performance, concepts like emotional intelligence become extremely important.
Direct Impacts on Business Performance
Having leaders and employees who show high emotional intelligence creates a direct business impact by changing how situations are treated, how people respond and disagree, and even how meetings are handled.
Emotional intelligence enables people to see understand the emotions of their counterpart and to judge how to respond appropriately. This, in turn, enables people to handle conflicts without getting angry, can benefit problem solving, and increases instances of compromise between teams and employees in decision making processes.
When leaders respond with emotional intelligence and compassion, they reward employees for a job well done, recognize top performers, focus on helping others to perform, and respond to personal and emotional problems with compassion and understanding. This creates an environment where employees feel listened to and valued, fosters gratitude and a sense of belonging, and increases employee satisfaction. Over time, it increases productivity while decreasing churn.
Team-building and Trust
When teams know that their colleagues will respond with emotional intelligence, they are more likely to trust each other. A person who knows that his colleague or supervisor will respond with emotional intelligence is more likely to trust that person, and therefore more likely to build a quality working relationship.
Emotional intelligence helps people to work better together, helps leaders to respond well to situations, and improves every level of communication. This will, in turn, improve employee satisfaction, improve leadership, improve communication, and even productivity.