ost jobs require us to interact with others during the workday. Even in a “virtual office,” we need to communicate well and empathize with others. Those interactions can be crucial to success and overall happiness at work. Our ability to boost those skills relies on emotional intelligence, also known as emotional quotient (EQ).EQ is the ability to understand, acknowledge, and manage our own emotions while also tuning in to the emotional experience of others.
Most of us find ourselves drawn to people with high emotional intelligence. They tend to have an easy social demeanor. They have keen active listening skills and are empathetic. Those qualities make them easy to be around. Having high EQ helps us make better decisions. It aids in problem-solving and getting along with others.
Psychologist and author Daniel Goleman writes about why EQ is important in the workplace:
“Self-awareness, self-management, empathy and social skill separate the most successful workers and leaders from the average,” Goleman notes. He says this is extra true when, in a given environment, “… everyone is about as smart as everyone else.” This gives an edge to those who manage themselves and their relationships well.
Verywell Mind points out that high EQ adds value to workplace relationships. EQ in the workplace bolsters skills like problem-solving and communication. It improves how employees interact with each other. Resolving conflicts becomes easier, as does effective crisis management. And it affects overall job performance.
Someone who smiles and uses humor can encourage a relaxed exchange and positive emotions in others. It can help get a team on board with a project. It can reassure a supervisor that everything is on track.
People with high EQ are also more likely to have a healthier work life balance. As one study concluded, EQ “contributes significantly towards maintaining a proper balance in professional and personal life.”
EQ comes more naturally to some than others. The good news is, it can be taught. A 2009 study offered a 10-hour training to study subjects. That training “led to significant improvements” in identifying and managing participants’ emotions. Those skills were still going strong when researchers did a follow up six months later.
High EQ uses skills that improve both our personal and work lives and helps us balance the two. Building our emotional intelligence is a worthy endeavor.