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How important is emotional intelligence in the workplace?

Emotional intelligence has become a major talking point in the business world. Also referred to as EQ (Emotional Quotient), emotional intelligence refers to a person’s ability to recognise, understand, manage and reason with emotions. Emotional intelligence incorporates skills such as self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy and social skills. This is why emotional intelligence is essential in interpersonal communication, especially in the workplace.

While some of you may be wondering if emotional intelligence is important in the workplace, I believe the answer is a resounding ‘’yes” – here are some of the reasons why:

The benefits of emotional intelligence in the work place

Some studies have shown that having a corporate culture that is not emotionally intelligent can have a negative impact on the productivity, performance and well-being of employees. It is important for businesses and employers to embrace the nuances of emotional intelligence as it can have pragmatic benefits.

Some of the benefits of emotional intelligence include:

  1. Better teamwork – Employees with higher EQ work better in teams for numerous reasons. People with high EQ are better at communication, more open to sharing ideas, listen more attentively to others’ ideas and they have the ability to apply empathy which makes them more thoughtful. These are qualities that are useful to most employers.
  2. Better workplace environment and social awareness – Having an emotionally intelligent culture helps boost morale in the workplace and create a healthy corporate environment. Furthermore, the company culture tends to become stronger when employees respect one another, value each other’s opinions and get along with one another. Having an emotionally intelligent culture can facilitate a truly collaborative environment in the workplace.
  3. Easier adjustments – A company is more likely to experience positive change when its employees are focusing on ways to improve both themselves and the company. Employees that exhibit higher emotional intelligence tend to find it easier to adjust and embrace change and grow with the company.
  4. Greater selfawareness – Employees with higher EQ tend to be more aware of their strengths and weaknesses, they also tend to take constructive criticism and feedback well, and are able to apply it in order to grow and improve.
  5. Greater selfcontrol – Employees with higher EQ are better poised to handle themselves in a professional manner in high-pressure or other difficult situations. Whether it’s dealing with difficult clients or superiors, it is important to stay calm and avoid emotional outbursts. Employees with higher EQ are able to exercise greater restraint and approach situations more rationally.
  6. Better relationship management skills – Relationship management is basically applied empathy. With this in mind, it is easy to see how an employee with high EQ and better relationship management skills will be better poised for conflict resolution. Employees with high EQ are able to diffuse potential conflict either through empathetic listening or even applying humour to diffuse the situation.

Given the reasons outlined above, it is clear to see how understanding emotional intelligence and developing an emotionally intelligent corporate culture can benefit any company or organisation. However, it is important to note that the requirement for higher EQ in the workplace is not only limited to employees but also the company leaders or business leaders. It is important for a leader in any organisation to exhibit high EQ in order to get the most out of their employees and create a productive and healthy corporate culture. Thus, the role of emotional intelligence in the workplace cannot be underestimated or overstated.


Written by Lesedi Monamodi