Emotional Intelligence

A study of Harvard graduates in the fields of law, medicine, teaching and business observed that scores on entrance exams, a surrogate for IQ, had zero or negative correlation with their eventual career success. Paradoxically, IQ was found to have limited power in predicting the success of people smart enough to handle the most demanding fields, and the value of emotional intelligence was found to be higher for entry into particular fields. In MBA programs, engineering, law, or medicine, where professional selection focused almost exclusively on IQ, EQ carried far more weight than IQ in determining who emerged successful.” copied. Another finding states that people with average IQs outperform those with the highest IQs 70% of the time. Although IQ is important for academic excellence, it does not necessarily contribute to success in career or even social life.

Emotional Intelligence (EI), also referred to as EQ (emotional quotient), is defined as the ability to perceive, judge, and control one’s own emotions, as well as the emotions of others, to respond to them in positive and healthy ways, realize how they affect you and the people around you, and to use this information to guide one’s thinking and actions. Emotional Intelligence is inaccurately claimed to be many things it is not, it is not a personality trait, social skill, emotion or a motive.

Emotional Intelligence is a way of acknowledging self or others feelings, understanding them, and the choosing how to think and act based on that understanding. Emotions like anger, happiness, anxiety, enthusiasm, optimism, over-excitement, sadness, fear, shame and/or love, when understood and controlled can allow us to make decisions that achieve positive results, set priorities according to the current situation, increase the self-confidence, motivate ourselves and others, manage relationships more effectively, and getting along with peoples’ social complexities.

The Stages of EI

  1. Perceiving Nonverbal Signals: involves understanding nonverbal signals accompanied with emotions, such as facial expressions, body language and voices. How accurately one can perceive self-emotions, and others’ emotions, in the face, body language or voice is considered as the starting point for the understanding of emotions.
  2. Understanding Emotions: Emotions do carry information. The ability to think of and understand the various causes of emotions, messages the emotions show, prioritize what to pay attention and react to, and what to discard on the other hand, and the chain of actions associated with emotions, is considered as the core of this stage. For example, if you and your partner are driving back home, and he/she is acting angry, the causes might be because he/she is dissatisfied with you, had a bad day at work, or it could be because of bad traffic. A message of anger, for example, may mean that the individual feels treated unfairly. The anger, in turn, might be associated with actions like: attacking, revenge-seeking, or preferring isolation for the peace of mind.
  3. Managing Emotions: Once the information behind yours and others emotions is gathered and understood, it can be voluntarily controlled to be used for desirable positive actions rather than causing sadness or harm. A person may want to remain open to unpleasant emotional signals so long as they are not too painful, especially when you are trying to better understand a friend or a colleague, but at the same time, he/she should be able to block out the harmful and destructive ones.

EI in the Workplace

Some studies had revealed that 80% of the difference in performance among top executives can be traced to emotional intelligence. EI is found to be a better predictor of performance, explaining a full 58% of success in all types of jobs than either IQ results or having a relevant work experience. The most effective leaders in the US Navy were found to be the ones who have warmer, more outgoing, emotionally expressive, and more sociable. In a group study, having the good positive feelings cultivated among the group led to improved cooperation, fairness, enhanced overall group performance, lower staff turnover (having employees less-likely to leave the company due to inter-employee issues), and increased sales and net profit per employee.

An employee’s ability to perceive, identify, and manage emotion provides the basis for the kinds of social and emotional competencies such as Influence, Initiative or Achievement drive that are important for success in almost any job. An employee with high emotional intelligence is someone who has a calm assuring behavior, in control no matter what the situation, a good listener, compassionate but not overfriendly, works well in a team, adapts easily to change, inspire and influence others, manage conflicts easily, and usually takes the right informed decisions.


Organizations now lay much emphasis on EQ in their selection process when hiring, promotions, career development, succession planning, and managers and leaders induction. EQ enables managers to have skills motivating employees, managing work relationships with subordinates and teammates, building new teams and enhancing their effectiveness. Emotional intelligence also enhances productivity, profitability, team collaboration and psychological well-being in the workplace.

One important note in the end, emotional intelligence does not and should not be thought of as a replacement or substitute for ability, knowledge or job skills. The EI can be a good predictor of high performance but does not guarantee it in the absence of the needed job skills.