Emotional Intelligence: The Pulse of the Workplace

Emotional intelligence. You may recognize it as a workplace buzzword or simply wonder where the intelligence is behind certain emotions. While there are many factors playing into the success of an individual, team, and workplace, one’s emotional intelligence manages the pulse of them all.

What is Emotional Intelligence?

The measure of how you perceive, regulate, and manage the emotions of yourself and others speaks to your emotional intelligence. This valuable skill influences our perceptions, reactions, decisions, attitude, relationships, how we work through challenges and emotions, and how we communicate with others. Like any other skill, it can be honed through training and practice.

Emotional intelligence encompasses five elements which work together to promote healthy workplaces: self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy, and social skills.

  1. Self-Awareness: Understanding your own feelings and emotions
  2. Self-Regulation: How you control those feelings and emotions
  3. Motivation: What drives you
  4. Empathy: Understanding how others feel
  5. Social Skills: Reading, responding, and communicating effectively with others


Why is Emotional Intelligence Important?

Emotional intelligence allows us to navigate our environment despite the highs or lows we face. It also leads us to be more effective in the workplace by remaining true to ourselves. We are better able to communicate boundaries, navigate and solve problems, understand colleagues, and manage stress. Workplace benefits include:

  • Increased job satisfaction
  • Higher employee retention rates
  • Elevated employee performance
  • Heightened employee morale
  • A trusting team environment
  • Effective leadership 
  • Collaboration


Long story short, emotional intelligence is: 

  1. A better predictor of success than IQ (4x better!) – see this study from UC Berkeley
  2. Greater among a company’s top performers


Ways to Strengthen Emotional Intelligence

Like a muscle, you can strengthen your emotional intelligence – so start paying attention. Pay attention to how you feel, and in turn, respond (journal about it if you need to). Watch how coworkers react and what role their emotions play in your interactions with them and others. Pause to understand and control your emotions. Be aware of the impact emotions may have on others while you’re looking for nonverbal cues; remember, emotions can be communicated nonverbally, too!