The Importance Of Emotional Intelligence
Sarah Roy4-Minute Read
UPDATED: March 24, 2021
Managing emotions in a stressful or new environment can be difficult, but if you know how to respond, you possess a strong skill. One area of expertise that is often praised is emotional intelligence (also known as “emotional quotient”) or “EQ” skills. There are several elements involved in emotional intelligence and it’s considered a great strength if you’re able to demonstrate your ability to use emotional intelligence effectively.
We’ll explain why emotional intelligence is important inside and outside of the work environment, what factors are involved, and how you can work on strengthening your overall EQ skills for everyday use.
What Is It?
Emotional Intelligence means that you can handle your own feelings as well as recognize the feelings of others. Someone who has great emotional intelligence is usually highly aware of emotions and can problem solve or help others.
There can be a real clash of people with high and low EQ because they tend to get frustrated with one another. In most cases, women have a higher emotional empathy than men but in terms of leadership, both men and women tend to improve on different areas of emotional intelligence based on their individual needs. Emotional intelligence helps form and maintain relationships with people by having strong and engaging conversations and being able to communicate feelings.
Why Is It Important Inside And Outside Of The Workplace?
Imagine going into work and sitting in a corner, not talking to anyone all day just working … pretty boring, right? Well, studies show that emotional intelligence has an impact on job performance overall as well as how team members handle conflict and stress.
“EQ is something CEOs and managers need to pay attention to when it comes to all the communication factors in leadership. The best leaders are the ones that listen to, understand, and validate all levels of employees.” says Tim Penning, PR consultant, author, and Grand Valley State University communications and public relations professor.
Penning said early on in his career, he struggled with people who did not possess high EQ – they seemed to need more support and encouragement in their work – whereas, he preferred to be left to his work and didn’t need as much validation. Now after several years, Penning feels that there are positives on both ends of the spectrum.
Strong EQ also helps in similar ways outside of a work setting in terms of forming and maintaining relationships with friends and family.
Including EQ Tests In Job Applications
If you have applied to a job or internship recently, you may have noticed that some employers are including emotional intelligence tests in the application process. Many employers are choosing to do this because they want to see if the job candidate has emotional intelligence skills. Many of the questions may even be scenario-based to see what kind of response the job candidate will give.
5 Elements Of Emotional Intelligence
There are five things that construct emotional intelligence and interrelate to one another. Each of these elements are good to have on their own, but if you can manage to have all five, you’re on the right path to higher EQ.
As mentioned earlier, self-awareness is the ability to understand your emotions and recognize how you’re feeling. People aren’t born completely self-aware; this is something that’s developed with work over time. Once you become self-aware, then you can start to recognize the emotions of other people and, in some cases, respond to those emotions.
Self-regulation is being able to put emotions to use properly, so in a stressful or emotional setting you can express how you’re feeling in an appropriate way. Once you’re good at self-regulating your emotions, you can handle change better as well as conflict.
Social interaction is huge when it comes to emotional intelligence. This is a skill that is especially hard for someone who is more introverted because it requires you to go out of your comfort zone and interact with people around you. Having social skills allows you to take the steps to make connections and then form relationships. Once those connections and relationships are created, then you can utilize all the other elements involved with emotional intelligence to maintain them.
People who work remotely need social interaction in some cases to help with stability since they are usually working independently and don’t interact with many people.
There is a distinct difference between sympathy and empathy. Empathy, is when you try to put yourself in someone else’s shoes, whereas sympathy, is when you feel bad for someone because of what they are going through.
Having empathy allows you to read how someone else may be feeling and then respond in an appropriate way. For example, if someone at work approaches you and says that they are going through a lot and they start to get upset, you’re able to respond with concern and support if necessary.
The final element of emotional intelligence is motivation. Being intrinsically motivated is a great characteristic to have because it allows you to work on your own without needing to be pushed. Being intrinsically motivated allows you to accomplish many things and fulfill internal desires.
Think of times when emotional intelligence has helped you or a coworker succeed in the workplace and perhaps when EQ levels were not as strong. How did it change a situation? Being able to reference examples in an interview setting can help potential employers evaluate your ability to handle a variety of workplace scenarios.
Emotional Intelligence is just one of hundreds of training and development courses that Rocket Companies® offers for free to all of our team members to enhance their personal and professional skills. Learn more about the training and development offerings here.
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