Emotional Intelligence Predicts Job Success: Do You Have It?

The best salespeople and leaders have a high EQ. Daniel Goleman, the man who coined the term, pulls apart the aspects of emotional intelligence.

Let's say you work at a place that's saturated with smarts. If all of your colleagues were always the brightest person in the room growing up, then what makes you stand out? Your emotional intelligence.

Consider cosmetics giant L'Oreal, which has started to factor emotional intelligence in their hiring process for salespeople. Those who were recruited for their high EQ outsold their peers by over $90,000. On top of that, the high-EQ employees had 63% less turnover than the typically selected sales folk. As this and other studies show, emotional intelligence predicts success for people and the companies they work for.

But EQ isn't fixed: it can change over time. As University College London Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic notes on Harvard Business Review, your level of EQ is "firm, but not rigid." While most EQ increases happen with age, you can train yourself to have a higher EQ, by being mindful of your mindfulness, more agile with emotions, or taking the dive into coaching.

Daniel Goleman, the psychologist who coined the term emotional intelligence, recently talked to the Huffington Post about the many characteristics of emotional intelligence. Lets go over a few here, so that we can know what to train in.

1. You're curious about new people

Do you ask a lot of questions when you meet someone? Do you actually listen to their answers? Then you might be a highly empathic person, someone attuned to the needs and feeling of others, and you may also mark high on openness to experience--a trait correlated with creativity.

2. You're self-aware

To be emotionally intelligent, Goleman says, you need to have confidence. To have confidence, you need to know your strengths and weaknesses. Then you work from that framework.

3. You know how to pay attention

As Arianna Huffington told us, you can't make connections if you're distracted. Additionally, the ability to remain focused--and not carried away by texts and tweets--predicts not just the ability to form strong relationships and cultivate self-knowledge, Goleman says, but also your financial success.

"Your ability to concentrate on the work you're doing, and to put off looking at that text or playing that video game until after you're done," he tells the Huffington Post. "How good you are at that in childhood turns out to be a stronger predictor of your financial success in adulthood than either your IQ or the wealth of the family you grew up in."

4. You can say no

If you have high emotional intelligence, Goleman says, you can avoid unhealthy habits and otherwise discipline yourself--which also allows for relationship-nourishing, success-engendering non-distraction.

5. You know precisely what's pissing you off

Folks with a high EQ acknowledge emotions as they come rather than repressing them or misattributing their causes. You could also call this emotional agility.

6. You trust your intuition

There are neuroscientific reasons for trusting your gut: they're markers for what to do next. Part of having a high EQ is learning when to trust them.

The next step? Training. Which will require agility and plenty of sitting.

[Image: Flickr user Paul Downey]

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114 Comments

  • Lack of EI shouldn't be taken lightly. It's critical for corporate sustainability (in any industry) and thus should be a mandatory measure during the hiring process. Would love to know how everyone uses this measure during hiring? Thanks, Kim

  • Geetika Sharma

    Is there any test by which we can get to know EQ, if yes then kindly mail me at geetika.cheenu@gmail.com.... it would be a great help.

    With greetings Geetika

  • Alex Howland

    I would be curious how L'Oreal goes about "factoring in Emotional Intelligence" in their hiring process? Are they using commercially available assessments (e.g., MSCEIT, TalentSmart's), making changes to their interview or reference check processes, or something else? These different approaches have shown various levels of predictive validity when it comes to work outcomes such as performance, retention, customer service,etc.

  • pi2r2

    Golden rules, religious, moral and ethical behavior still rule the day, just as they always have.

  • Sasha

    Just for the record the term Emotional Intelligence was not coined by Daniel Goleman but rather by two prominent psychologists: John Mayer and Peter Salovey. And for those who are quick to dismiss the EI concept as a "flavor of the month", even if you attempt a brief research on the subject you will find out that EI is well supported by the findings of modern psychology and neuroscience.

  • Simon

    Above all emotional maturity, intelligence and healthy boundaries really define the overall health of a team and its ability to produce highly creative and provoking work in an efficient and highly productive manor...both independently and collaboratively.

  • Francisca

    "There are neuroscientific reasons for trusting your gut: they're markers for what to do next. Part of having a high EQ is learning when to trust them."
    Love love love!

  • StoneAge

    Sales is building relationships and making friends. Most any product, whatever it is, is available from many sources. It's not the product they buy, it's the relationship they buy into. Make a friend and you have a better chance of making the sale and your customer has a much higher chance of gaining such good customer service (Because you care) they will always come to you first.

    Buzzwords don't make sales. relationships do.

  • Francis40

    The opposite to EQ is the danger of having narcisists in key functions. Pick and chose or find the right balance as Steven Covey calls between. IQ, EQ, PQ and SQ (Spiritual intelligence)

  • Angela Parisi

    All his books became my "must" together with Dale Carnegie !!!! ......thank you Mr. Goleman!!!!

  • David Davies

    I wonder if Drake is related to Max, whose alter go was the highest in the class - by a clear 2 feet!

  • Ankita Singh

    This is certainly a topic of debate...but as per my experience I have realized that giving space to your employee definitely brings better output....When the employee feel " being valued and respected" they turn out to treat their organization as their own baby and hence results in better efficiency.....And this could be done only by a manager with Emotional Quotient balance....Manager who do not empathize in today's scenario fails.......Valuing others significantly increases the business and gives you high degree of respect and success as a manger.

  • elsa dimopoulou

    emotional intelligence can lead you to more precise decisions in your workplace

  • Tom

    The whole question "Do you have it?" reveals a misunderstanding. Everyone has it, the question is how we use it, how we practice it. Anyone thinking they don't have it has bought a lie…and anyone suggesting some people do and don't have it is perpetuating a misconception (if this makes you think of extreme examples, that's fine; everyone has eyes, except people born without them, so I'm generalizing, but it's a valid generalization, because in general everyone has it.)

  • Respect

    Emotional Intelligence? Yawn. That's another excuse used to not pay high performers. Instead of trying to live up to these silly and constantly moving standards, work for a place that is a true meritocracy. If office politics come into play at all for your review, you dump the place, and I mean quick. If you have a strong skill set, you will be able to get a job quickly. That is how you teach businesses who use things like the EQ or "self-reviews" a lesson. Because they are stuck holding the bag, as training costs, or if they hire you back after realizing their mistake, it will be at a higher salary.

  • Chia Taing

    when corporations have job descriptions, they will kill countless creativity. Why are they surprise to find employees say, "it's not my job to stick my neck out there" ? Are corporations ready to give up some control to let in creativity that will retain linchpins that is crucial for scalability of ideas? I don't think corporations have a choice anymore.

  • James

    Though EQ seems to be an old thought, it is sure to have some good effect on the success of your business. The thing is we need to take it positively.

  • gommatthi

    I feel it is nice that the message is again restated about EQ /EI, which is already practiced in most of IT Industries, they are not going in for performance evaluation, inturn they are measuring emotional inteliigence.Inaddition to this Daniel Goleman also had authored books on Social intelligence which is also relevant in today's competitive world., an Individual can survive and succeed in any environment if they know to excel in EI and SI.