Define Emotional Intelligence in Business

Emotional Intelligence or EI can play a huge role in your success or failure in business and in personal relationships. Is emotional intelligence in business absolutely essential for success? Certainly not, but it can make a lot of difference in how you spend your time and live your life. Emotional intelligence is described as the capacity, ability or potential to manage your own emotions and the emotions of others. Emotional Quotient or EQ is the way in which Emotional Intelligence gets measured.

Emotional Intelligence Can be Key to Your Business Success

Anyone who has been in business for more than five minutes can see that emotional intelligence can and will play a big part in a person's success or failure in business. It is not 100% predictive of success or failure because we all know the tyrant, the person who has absolutely no empathy for anyone else in the universe, who is a great success in business.

There is of course controversy about exactly what emotional intelligence is and how to measure it. But we can all understand that it exists. There are numerous emotional intelligence articles and emotional intelligence books as well as varying definitions of what exactly emotional intelligence is. The bottom line is that all of us have to deal with emotions-our own emotions and the emotions of others. Emotional intelligence is about how we perceive things.

Researchers John Mayer and Peter Salovey define emotional intelligence as "the ability to control one's own and others' feelings and emotions to discriminate amongst them and to use this information to guide one's thinking and actions."

Probably the bottom line definition of emotional intelligence is that it is the ability to feel what it going on around you. To feel what makes you happy and what makes you unhappy; to feel what makes other people happy and what makes them unhappy. Different people have different levels of emotional intelligence, just like they have different levels of recall or the ability to solve mathematical or scientific problems.

If your business is selling or negotiating with others, a high level of emotional intelligence would be a plus to you. General George Patton, for example, was a brilliant tank commander in World War II, but he constantly ran into trouble interacting with his peers, subordinates, and the press. As brilliant as he was, he might have suffered from a deficiency of emotional intelligence. A leader like Bill Clinton, on the other hand, was said to be able to charm even his worst enemy.

Business people, successful business people, are probably highly emotionally intelligent as a group. For example, the scientist in the lab who is tracking down the cure for cancer needs to be highly intelligent to solve complex scientific problems, but the top business person or the great salesman needs to be closely attuned to his own feelings and those of his or her clients. The salesman who "knows" or "feels" innately when to go for the "close" or when to back off because he is ticking off the client is one who will be highly successful. The business person who can negotiate a deal well and can handle peers and employees well probably is a highly emotionally intelligent person. Finally, the courtroom lawyer who is able to feel the emotions of a jury will probably be very successful in his or her profession.

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