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Why is Emotional Intelligence (EQ) Important?

Why is Emotional Intelligence (EQ) Important?
Higher EI is a better predictor of success than high IQ alone.

Emotional Intelligence plays a crucial role in our personal and professional success, and it's important to cultivate our EQ along with our IQ.

Written by Editorial Team |Updated : April 7, 2023 5:31 PM IST

Hey there! When you think of your favorite boss or leader, what sets them apart? Have you ever wondered why some people seem to handle even the most stressful situations with ease? Why some people are more successful than others?

Let's understand the reason

Have you ever heard of the term Emotional Intelligence or EQ before? It's a term that's being thrown around a lot these days, and it's becoming more and more important in our personal and professional lives.

Now, Intelligence Quotient or IQ is something that we're all familiar with. It's commonly associated with our cognitive abilities like problem-solving, critical thinking, logical reasoning and memorizing information. But Emotional Intelligence or Emotional Quotient is a bit different. It's all about our ability to sense and understand our own feelings and the emotions of others around us.

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Is emotional intelligence the key success factor?

Imagine a class of 50 students from a top business school, all of whom were selected based on tough selection based on their high IQ levels. In such a scenario, it is reasonable to assume that most students would perform equally well academically. However, it has been found that those who outperform their peers tend to have higher emotional intelligence (EQ) levels.

Similarly, many successful business owners and professionals may not possess higher educational degrees but excel due to their high EQ skills.

Studies have shown that people with high levels of emotional intelligence tend to have better interpersonal relationships, communicate more effectively, and have higher levels of job satisfaction. They are also better equipped to handle stress and manage conflict in the workplace.

In contrast, people with low levels of emotional intelligence may struggle to connect with others, experience difficulty managing their emotions, and have trouble communicating effectively. This can lead to conflicts with colleagues and a lack of success in their personal and professional lives.

EI plays a crucial role in our personal and professional success, and it's important to cultivate our emotional intelligence along with our intellectual intelligence.

Why is Emotional Intelligence gaining popularity?

According to research, Emotional Intelligence (EI) is a key factor in leadership success. Talent Smart's study revealed that emotional intelligence accounts for 58 per cent of job performance in all types of jobs. Carnegie Institute of Technology's research found that 85 per cent of financial success in a company was attributed to skills in human engineering, and 15 per cent was due to technical skills. The Center for Creative Leadership's study found that EI accounted for almost 70 per cent of the abilities that differentiate outstanding leaders from average ones.

A longitudinal study found that individuals with higher levels of EI were less likely to experience burnout and were more likely to experience job satisfaction. Additionally, a survey of hiring managers and HR professionals revealed that 71 per cent of respondents value emotional intelligence over IQ in candidates. These statistics underscore the importance of developing emotional intelligence skills for personal and professional growth and success.

Emotional Intelligence old and new

Emotional intelligence (EI or EQ) is one of the most popular and most researched psychological concepts of the 21st century. However, it is not a new idea at all. Ancient Indian scriptures such as the Vedas, the Upanishads, and the Bhagavad Gita have extensively explored this psychological aspect of humans.

In the modern days, the term "emotional intelligence" was first coined by researchers Peter Salovey and John D. Mayer in 1990, in an article published in the journal Imagination, Cognition, and Personality. However, it was Dr. Daniel Goleman who popularized the concept and brought it into the mainstream with his 1995 book "Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ."

During Mindfulness India Summit, I had the opportunity to speak with Dr. Daniel Goleman. During our conversation, he emphasized how emotional intelligence and mindfulness can pave the way for both personal and professional success.

Thanks to the pioneering work of all these researchers, we have a better understanding of the importance of emotional intelligence in our lives.

My experience with Emotional Intelligence

Let me share something that I've experienced during my 30-year professional career as a senior leader, as well as a Mindfulness & Emotional Intelligence trainer and coach. I've seen many leaders and managers with high IQ, technological skills and experience, fail to perform in senior leadership positions, in managing bigger teams, or handling complex situations. On the other hand, individuals who understand others, demonstrate poise, and manage complex social situations without losing their composure tend to be more creative and perform and lead better.

So it's not just about having knowledge or being cognitively smart, these people have higher emotional intelligence which allows them to not only to understand and manage their emotional state. They have the skill which helps them navigate through difficult situations with ease while maintaining strong relationships. They handle stress better than those with high IQ alone. In other words, emotional intelligence plays a key role in their day to lives and decision making.

What makes up Emotional Intelligence?

EI is a powerful skill that helps us in recognizing and managing emotional data in two ways, Inside World (Intrapersonal) and Outside World (Intrapersonal)

There are four key characteristics that define these two stages.

  1. Self-Awareness: Paying attention to our own self, observing our thoughts, feelings, physical sensations habits, reactions and behavior.
  2. Self-Management: Managing and regulating feelings and emotions effectively so that we can respond to situations and communicate those feelings and emotions to other in a productive way.
  3. Social Awareness: Recognizing and understanding the emotions of others.
  4. Relationship Management: How can we build strong and meaningful connections with others.

Are there any benefits of Emotional Intelligence?

Developing emotional intelligence (EI) offers numerous benefits. One of the key advantages is the ability to make better decisions under pressure and recognize when personal biases or ego are hindering productivity. Leaders with high EI can manage their emotions, remain calm during stressful times, and have exceptional communication and listening skills.

Few of the benefits are as below

  • Higher Awareness
  • Better mental and physical health
  • Reduced anxiety, stress and burnout
  • Empathize with others.
  • Better relationships and lesser conflicts
  • Effectively manage challenges.
  • Creativity,
  • Problem-solving,
  • Decision-making,
  • Leadership and teamwork,
  • Customer service
  • Motivation
  • Compassion and Kindness
  • Flexibility and Understanding

Finally

While intelligence quotient (IQ) is undoubtedly important, it is not the only factor that determines success. Emotional intelligence (EI) is equally significant in shaping how we handle stress, interact with others, and build relationships. Higher EI is a better predictor of success than high IQ alone.

So, if you're ready to invest in your personal and professional success, start working on your emotional intelligence today. It's an opportunity to unlock your full potential and become the best version of yourself.

The writer is Manish Behl, India's Leading Mindfulness and Emotional Intelligence expert.