College of Business

Why is emotional intelligence important?

By Mandy Swofford | December 16, 2022

Emotional Intelligence is more impactful than your Intelligence Quotient. When considering people for promotions, workers with high emotional intelligence get promoted 75% more than colleagues with high IQ but low EQ.

Making emotional intelligence a priority for team members within an organization is essential. When team members understand each other’s behaviors, everyone will be better prepared to respond more professionally. IQ will get you a job, but developing emotional intelligence will keep you there and keep you satisfied.

What is Emotional Intelligence?

Emotional intelligence is “the self-awareness to manage your moods and emotions or to manage the moods and emotions of others.” When working with others, you will be best served if you know who you are and how you will react in various situations.

You need to understand your emotions. With this knowledge, you will be able to navigate difficult situations where conflict exists.

A large part of emotional intelligence is empathy. Empathy is defined in the Merriam-Webster dictionary as “the action of understanding, being aware of, being sensitive to, and vicariously experiencing the feelings, thoughts, and experience of another of either the past or present without having the feelings, thoughts, and experience fully communicated explicitly.”

You don’t have to have experienced something another person is going through. You must be aware of and sensitive to another person’s thoughts and feelings. This awareness will help you respond with compassion.

Emotional Intelligence is a critical soft skill

Soft skills are essential for better business relationships. Emotional intelligence is one of those soft skills that should be a significant focus when developing your professional personality.

Many people focus only on learning hard skills. Hard skills are those skills that can be measured and are more technical. They can be put on paper by way of a certificate. Hard skills gain you accomplishments like becoming a Microsoft Excel Advanced Learner, Project Management Professional, or Java Programmer. Many organizations hold courses for these skills, resulting in a certificate of achievement. These are the certificates you can post on the wall in your office.

Soft skills are a bit different. They will require flexibility and adaptability for each person with whom you interact. The Indeed editorial team defined soft skills as “abilities that relate to how you work and interact with other people.”

The team further identified top soft skills as communication, teamwork, motivation, and empathy. Developing a high emotional intelligence will help you maintain stress levels, keep a cool head on your shoulders when dealing with conflict, and keep a positive attitude.

Statistics in support of Emotional Intelligence

UC Berkeley conducted a 40-year study with Ph.D. students on emotional intelligence. The study determined that emotional intelligence was four times more likely to predict success in one’s career than IQ. This indicates that some level of emotional intelligence can best support the technical skills you have gained.

High emotional intelligence can increase your paycheck too. Growing this soft skill may equate to $1,300 annually for every point increase. Employees with high emotional intelligence earn on average $29,000 more annually than colleagues with lower emotional intelligence scores.

Want to grow your business? Salespeople with high emotional intelligence typically sell twice the dollar amount as those with low emotional intelligence scores. Additionally, restaurants have been seen to raise their profits by 22% annually when their management staff has higher emotional intelligence levels.

How to increase your Emotional Intelligence

There are many resources available for increasing your emotional intelligence. There are books you can read to learn on your own. You can even take online courses to learn what EQ is and how to increase your scores. Ultimately it starts with a self-assessment.

You must understand yourself and your emotions to grow in this area. Once you know yourself, you can grow in skills like active listening, responding rather than reacting, and managing stress levels. Build these into habits and practice them daily.


Mandy Swofford is a product manager for Pemko Manufacturing in Memphis, Tennessee. She has worked in the building products industry (Division 08 Hardware) for over 19 years. She is currently attending Charleston Southern University in pursuit of her MBA.

Resources: LinkedIn, Indeed, LinkedIn, Social


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