Some may say emotional intelligence is a desirable trait in a partner. Others will argue that it’s crucial to raising a child, or that it far surpasses the value of IQ (intelligence quotient) due to its connection of logical and emotional reasoning or understanding. All of this and more might just be true – but, EQ is hardly recognized as a favorable characteristic in one place where emotions, human relationships, and sound reason-making meet at one busy intersection: the workplace. 

High EQ belongs in the workplace for one very simple reason: it can make or break your professional growth since it can be applied in a multi-faceted manner. Any employee who demonstrates an unusually high emotional intelligence quotient is more likely to be a better decision-maker, can resolve conflicts easily, and exhibit a greater sense of empathy when it comes to reflecting on performance and receiving constructive criticism. 

We know what you’re thinking…

“But… how can people leaders manage office transparency and open communication while respecting their employees’ boundaries?” Since emotional quotient also improves job performance and the reviews you give your people, you’ll be able to identify self-aware employees with the ability to look at their office behavior, their performance results, and their overall attitude with an earnest outlook.

Better yet: “how can people leaders who advocate for EQ in the workplace ensure that employees express themselves appropriately and remain aware of their emotions simultaneously?” Performance reviews are moot if the employee and manager evaluating one another don’t take feedback to heart; defense mechanisms, combative egos, and an argumentative disposition can lead to the exact opposite of what you want and typically, these are traits of people with low EQs. Which is why it’s super important to spot low EQ and the effects it has on the workplace. These employees need to be confronted. 

But not with termination…

Remember, your goal is to grow your people. As an effective and inspirational people leader, you have got to be able to spot low EQ and turn it around for the better. Research has found that EQ training boosts people productivity and results in better evaluations from management. Such training tools and workshops can help you further grow the stagnant EQ of less introspective employees: 

  • Assessing stress or burnout: Teach your people how to identify the physical and mental symptoms of workplace-related stress or burnout to help them better understand their personal needs and boundaries as workers. 
  • Learn social etiquette: Explain appropriate interaction techniques, as well as various styles of body language, tone of voice, and other non-verbal signals that could be conducive to a healthy working relationship. 
  • Practice self-regulation: Your people should be able to feel an emotion and gauge the correct external reaction according to a scale; show them how to recognize which feelings are based on logic and which ones are coming from another sentiment. 

So, then why bother to prioritize high EQ in job candidates in the first place? Because EQ is important for business success, as well as personal growth. Employees who show high EI/EQ also tend to rate higher in job satisfaction. If you’re a company suffering from employee turnover rates, you might want to consider evaluating the EQ of those who are satisfied in their current roles and attempt to apply the way they perceive their own daily purpose or service to the company towards those who aren’t so content. 

When you spot high EQ amongst your people, don’t be afraid to reinforce it. In fact, maybe these are the types of employees you might want to assign as a mentor to new hires or have lead a training session for those who slide a bit left on the EQ spectrum. The benefits of EQ in the workplace are clear. Those employees who have harnessed the power of self-awareness and who can be empathetic towards your company as a whole, will only help advocate for the use of paid time off, work-life harmony, and organizational goal setting that seldom needs to be separated between the head from the heart. 


from Stephanie Stevens

Stephanie is Content Marketer at Hibob. She has a background in Clinical Psychology and Crisis Management, and enjoys abstract painting and watching horror films in her spare time. She believes that people can connect with themselves, their peers, and the world around them through creative writing, helping them foster a deeper sense of self and their life goals in the process.