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Importance of Emotional Intelligence

Importance of Emotional Intelligence IQ, which stands for intelligence quotient, is a numerical figure used to convey the intellect, reasoning, and problem-solving skills of an individual based on a standardized intelligence test. 

The term “emotional intelligence” was popularized in 1995 by psychologist Dr. Daniel Goleman, a behavior science journalist and author. Also referred to as emotional intelligence quotient or emotional quotient, it can be abbreviated as EI, EIQ, or EQ. Regardless of how it is written, emotional intelligence (EQ) is defined as the ability to recognize, manage, and understand emotions in oneself and others. The following chart outlines the five key elements that Goleman identified and an explanation of each element to help with the evaluation of EQ in executive candidates.
EQ Element

Recognition of one’s strengths, weaknesses, and areas for improvement

Understanding of how one’s actions, moods, and emotions affect others


Control of one’s actions, moods, and emotions

Preservation of one’s values and beliefs


Desire to achieve personal and/or organizational goals

Ambition and work ethic


Asking about and acknowledging others’ perspectives

Understanding of another person’s thoughts and feelings from their point of view

Social skills

Polite and clear communication (written, verbal, and non-verbal)

Listening, sharing, and cooperating with others


EQ has been a common topic among hiring managers and organizational leaders for many years. In fact, 59% of employers said they would not hire someone who has a high IQ but a low EQ. And 75% of employers said they are more likely to promote a worker with a high EQ. These opinions are supported by research: A study with more than one million people conducted by TalentSmart, Inc. showed that 90% of top-performing leaders have high EQ. And a study of PhDs at the University of Berkeley found that EQ was four times more effective than IQ in predicting who achieved success in their field.

About achieving success in investing, billionaire business magnate Warren Buffett once wrote, “What is needed is a sound intellectual framework for making decisions and the ability to keep emotions from corroding the framework.”

While changes to workplace culture can influence aspects of EQ, conversely, those with higher EQ are better able to navigate change and to prevent setbacks from hindering performance. Those are just two of the benefits.

Collective advantages of higher EQ include:
  • Ability to navigate change by adapting and being flexible
  • Ability to prevent setbacks from hindering performance
  • Capability of persevering and remaining optimistic amid challenging situations
  • Capability of resolving conflicts successfully
  • Competence in collaborating with coworkers 
  • Competence in building and maintaining solid relationships with coworkers
  • Direct and decisive communication
  • Quality decision making
  • Receptiveness to constructive feedback
  • Willingness to take accountability for mistakes
Possessing traits from the above-mentioned list is important to one’s career because that often correlates to an individual’s general attitude and performance, as well as the potential to manage teams and lead organizations. 

When evaluating executive candidates, hiring managers should consider the positive impact that an employee’s higher EQ has on an organization. In order to assess EQ in a candidate, prepare interview questions based on the explanation of each element of EQ. Use the questions to prompt a discussion during which a candidate can provide specific instances to demonstrate their proficiency. For example, to gauge self-awareness, an interviewer might ask a potential employee, “Can you describe three of your strengths and three of your weaknesses? How do you typically go about improving on weaknesses?” To gauge self-regulation, a suitable question might be, “What are your techniques for managing stress in the workplace?”

Of course, evaluating EQ is only one aspect of candidate assessment. Education, experience, and technical skills are other factors that contribute to the success of an individual in a new role. To learn more about the best practices of candidate assessment or to discuss a pending hiring need at your organization, please contact us to connect with a Helbling search consultant.