Blog: How important is EQ at workplace?

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How important is EQ at workplace?

Managers with a higher EQ can efficiently deal with rapid changes in workplace or environment
How important is EQ at workplace?

Steve Harold, 37, is a people’s man, with a strategic intent, a creative edge, and works in the marketing division of a large F&B organization. He heads a team of 10, and just got promoted to senior product manager. He was the most potential candidate to be promoted as believed by the top management. But, with the new assorted designation, he kind of got disoriented in the spotlight and lost focus of the weighted responsibilities and increased political pressures. He started mirroring his counter parts, losing his identity and personality. Philip, the marketing director observed this and called Steve for a meeting. Philip told Steve that his performance was declining and he was losing his team. The feedback wasn’t pleasing, but he was wise enough to ponder over it, and considered recommendations for the same. 

There are many like Steve, who with greater accountability loose track in the moment, often getting trapped in their work, and find dealing with people, changes or communicating cumbersome. What Steve needed was recovering his Emotional Quotient balance, and gaining back the leadership momentum.

Wait did you just read Emotional Quotient, that too in relation with work? Yes, you did.

Emotional Quotient (EQ) is the most under-rated yet banging phrase of the millennium. Emotional Intelligence is the sine qua non for success in long term.  According to the authors of EXECUTIVE EQ, it can be defined as: “Emotional intelligence is the ability to sense, understand and effectively apply the power and acumen of emotions as a source for connection, collaboration, influence and inspiration.” 

An individual with a high EQ is better with perceiving emotions, understanding them, and managing them, as compared to others. According to a recent study by Ernest O’Boyle Jr. at Virginia Commonwealth University, emotional intelligence is the strongest predictor of job performance. He efficiently uses his cognitive skills to unravel emotional problems easily, and is affluent with communication and comprehension intelligence. The high EQ individual, relative to others, is less apt to engage in problem behaviours, and avoids self-destructive and negative actions.   

Emotional Intelligence is made up of 4 elemental skills that can be categorized under two heads: Personal competence, and Social Competence.

• Personal Competence: Self Awareness (emotional self-awareness, accurate self-Assessment, self-confidence) + Self-Management (emotional self-control, transparency, adaptability, optimism) 

• Social Competence: Social awareness (empathy, organizational awareness) + Relationship Management (inspirational leadership, change catalyst and conflict management)  

An individual can measure and analyze himself in these dimensions to get an understanding of his self.  

The next question is: Is IQ and EQ the same thing and can be used interchangeably? The answer is NO.  Academic aptitude (IQ) is not correlated with how people perceive and manage emotions of self and the emotions of others (EI). Another interesting factual difference is that IQ is stable over lifetime and does not change, for a person; it was same at the age of 16 and would remain same at the age of 66. However, EQ is that intangible component that is flexible in nature and can be developed over time. 

Now that we have understood the concept of EQ, let us figure out how is EQ linked to performance at work? 

Emotional Intelligence is linked to performance and highly impacts the chances of success.  Increasing EI awareness for people and organizations, significantly contributes to healthier workplace culture. To put it in a sturdy manner, it can be said that EQ and IQ both affect an individual’s success rate at work in the ratio of 80:20. 

As per a research study done by Carnegie Institute of Technology, 85% of one’s financial success is due to skills in “human engineering,” one’s personality and ability to communicate, negotiate, and lead, whereas, contribution of technical knowledge is only 15%. According to Daniel Goleman, the renowned psychologist and award winning author on EI, cognitive skills "get you in the door" of a company, but emotional skills help you thrive once you’re hired. 

Managers with a higher EQ can efficiently deal with rapid changes in workplace/environment, unfavourable situations, litigious colleagues, despotic seniors, unexpected triumphs maintaining a stable head and strong sense of self. They don’t let circumstances put them down; instead they mould themselves in a manner where they can make use of situations in their favour. Their colleagues and associates depend on them for rationality, good decision-making, and the ability to do the right thing at the right time. A study done on more than 300 high level executives across 15 global companies revealed that six emotional competencies distinguished the stars from the ordinary. A recent survey done on trends in recruitment, 71% employers said they value emotional intelligence in an employee more than IQ. 

In short, the figures are conveying a persuasive story of how significant is EQ for an individual’s success in personal and professional field. This in no sense purports that IQ and technical skills do not have an implication, but the connotation is that the platter is incomplete without EQ.

And the good news is that emotional intelligence can be learned with right motivation and willingness and concerted effort. The process is not easy and time taking, but self development efforts and support from reliable ones, make the progression work.

Disclaimer: This is a contributed post. The statements, opinions and data contained are solely those of the individual authors and contributors and not of People Matters and the editor(

Topics: Watercooler, Others

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