How Important is EQ in the Workplace?

While much has been said about the growing gap in technical skills that employers in many industries face, that shortfall may be further complicated where applicants and employees have limited emotional intelligence.  In a survey completed by staffing firm OfficeTeam, nearly all human resources (HR) managers (95 percent) and workers (99 percent) surveyed said it's important for employees to have a high emotional quotient, or EQ, because it helps them manage their own emotions and understand and react to the emotions of others.
 
But there is more to emotional intelligence than managing one’s own emotions.  According to Brandi Britton, a district president for OfficeTeam, "It's equally important to focus on what others are saying with their words and nonverbal cues and identify with their feelings to build effective working relationships." Indeed, more than one in five surveyed employees (21 percent) believe EQ is more valuable in the workplace than IQ. Nearly two-thirds (65 percent) said the two are equally important. But nearly half (40 percent) of surveyed HR managers said soft skills, such as communication, problem-solving and adaptability, are more difficult to teach workers than technical abilities.
 
To assist in this, OfficeTeam has developed a research guide, Emotional Intelligence at Work: What It Is and Why You Should Care, which provides advice for recognizing and boosting EQ.  It describes how professionals can rely on their emotional intelligence to deal with a variety of personalities and workplace challenges. When employees take emotions into account, they make better decisions, communicate more diplomatically and resolve issues faster.  To gauge an individual’s aptitude in these areas, the company has created a quiz for individuals to test how emotionally intelligent they are.