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Emotional Intelligence in the Workplace

         I was reading Jessica Stillman’s blog yesterday, where she posted an entry about emotional intelligence (EI).  She wrote that EI is a more important quality than IQ to managers when evaluating new hires or whom to promote.  Being of particular interest to me, as I am someone on the job hunt, I did some more reading.  She wrote in reaction to a study done by careerbuilder.com where the company polled 2,662 hiring managers, finding that:

When asked why emotional intelligence is more important than high IQ, employers said (in order of importance):

· Employees [with high EI] are more likely to stay calm under pressure
· Employees know how to resolve conflict effectively
· Employees are empathetic to their team members and react accordingly
· Employees lead by example
· Employees tend to make more thoughtful business decisions

         I think it would be easy to assume that these perceived benefits of higher EI would be desirable to any manager.  Moving on to Wikipedia to get a better understanding of what EI is gave light to various definitions or models.  What I understood as the general feeling of EI is being able to not only understand and control one’s own emotions but also to grasp those of others.  This goes as far as being able to grasp what motivates others and their intentions.  These skills are not only useful while working in teams but also when involved with clients or other stakeholders.  Also, perhaps, they allow greater understanding of implicit communication, then someone with higher EI may be able to meet demands that were unclear.

         So now the question is how to make sure that I communicate EI in my cover letters and resume.  However, how sure can I be that I have high EI?  Would someone with it need to be concerned about demonstrating it?  Maybe those thoughts have something to do with her latest post.

  1. August 24, 2011 at 8:52 am

    Very interesting topic! Thanks for starting the discussion. No doubt that a specific skill set is crucial in any work place, but emotional intelligence and soft skills are often just as valuable!

    • August 24, 2011 at 10:14 am

      Thanks! I definitely agree that a specific skill set is a requirement just to be considered, especially for positions that place increasing importance on formal knowledge. When evaluating two or more candidates, though, demonstrating high EI and soft skills is definitely going to come into play.

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