The job market is over-crowded with applicants all applying for the few coveted jobs. What makes one person stand out in the crowd over another? One thing may be their emotional intelligence. Emotional intelligence (EI) has become a buzz word in the last 10-15 years, thanks mostly to Daniel Goleman who has popularized EI through several mainstream books. Goleman’s definition of EI is not the only definition of EI. In fact, there are several authors who have defined EI in slightly different ways. I think one of the basic and most easily understood definitions is: Emotional Intelligence is the ability to understand one’s own emotions as well as those of others.
Why do employers care about this? By having the ability to understand other people’s emotions, you can have more empathy, social intelligence and interpersonal skills. In my dissertation, I examined the relationship between emotional intelligence and sales performance. I did indeed find that a correlation existed between the two. Those with higher EI levels did produce more sales. Employers know about the importance of having EI now and are looking for it in their potential employees.
What if your emotional intelligence quotient or EQ is low? The good news is that Goleman and others have shown that EI can be improved. I would recommend reading Daniel Goleman’s book, Emotional Intelligence: 10th Anniversary Edition, Why it Can Matter More Than IQ. Another important book is by Authors such as Hughes, Patterson, and Terrell, who offer training activities that help develop specific areas of emotional intelligence. Although their book, Emotional Intelligence in Action, is aimed at leaders, it would be helpful to those looking for exercises to develop their emotional intelligence.