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The Value Of Emotional Intelligence In The Workplace

Written by Ken Gaebler
Published: 12/26/2014

New study shows that the ability to accurately gauge other people's emotions leads to higher personal earnings and more influence in today's workplace.

Most of us associate success in the workplace with personal traits like intelligence, determination and creativity. But the ability to intuitively understand other people's emotions? In many industries, that skill isn't even on the radar.

Emotional IQ Value

However, a new study by The Journal of Organizational Behavior may begin to change the way we view emotional intelligence in the workplace. According to a report at Entrepreneur.com and numerous other media outlets, the study showed that employees who are more adept at reading their coworkers' emotions have higher salaries, greater influence and other advantages.

The Role of Emotional Intelligence in the Workplace

On the surface, emotional intelligence sounds like something that belongs in self-help or therapy circles--not in growth-driven companies where success is gauged in hard metrics and measurable business outcomes.

But in fact, emotional intelligence is a valuable tool because it enables us to effectively navigate social systems. Emotional testing showed that this leads to increased social influence and a greater ability to navigate workplace dynamics for the purpose of advancing careers. As a result, individuals who rank high for emotional intelligence also earn significantly more than their peers.

Based on their findings, study researchers advised businesses to more strongly emphasize emotional intelligence when it comes to selecting managers and supervisors.

"Often we hear managers speak of understanding and esteem," said the study's lead author, Gerhard Blickle. "But when we look at their management behavior, we realize that they have neither."

Emotional intelligence may have even more value for small business workplaces. Unlike large organizations, small businesses involve fewer personalities and require a higher number of interactions between employees. In a typical small business workplace, employees routinely interact with the entire workforce.

Emotional intelligence can help small business owners create a smoother functioning workplace and may be beneficial for dealing with problem employees. By emphasizing the ability to read emotions, small businesses can achieve benefits for both individual workers and the company itself.

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