Understanding emotional intelligence and the benefits to business


Emotional intelligence is about your ability to guide and help others in the workplace.

It’s about how we perceive situations, react to them, understand them, and make reasonable decisions often under pressure. This is a trait that is difficult to see when interviewing applicants but one that can make an incredibly positive impact on the business and its people.
In general people who have what we call a high emotional quotient (EQ) have good self-awareness and are observant of people and situations. To help you find emotionally intelligent people we’ve broken down the typical traits that will help inform the questions you should be asking during the interview process.


Self-aware people know themselves and understand their emotions and behaviour. They’re also able to understand themselves in relation to others and acknowledge how their behaviour can impact others. People with self-awareness tend to be self-reflective and willing to modify their behaviour. It’s most likely that their emotional intelligence has been shaped by a range of life experiences as well as a desire for personal development. In the workplace, this means that they easily understand and uphold business values even when they may not fit with their own personal beliefs. They’re able to see the bigger picture and compromise without feeling compromised.


Self-regulation is closely tied to self-awareness – it’s the ability to regulate emotions, behaviour, and actions. For example, when conflict arises between employees, a person with a good emotional quotient will have the capacity to regulate their emotions even when they’re feeling annoyed or angry. They’ll be able to process their emotions before they act on them – to work out what it is they’re feeling and how best to express that without an emotional outburst. They’ll also understand that conflict is a part of life.


We all know people who have incredible motivation and self-discipline and whilst some appear to be naturally better than others at motivating themselves, it’s often the result of hard work, commitment and lessons learned. Motivation as part of emotional intelligence means a person understands why it’s important to be motivated, and how best they’re able to motivate themselves. Employing people who take the initiative and keep the wheels turning is essential to any business so take the time to work out some questions that will help you identify how motivated a prospective employee is.


The ability to understand people and put yourself in someone else’s shoes is one of the most important components of emotional intelligence. Employing people who are empathetic ensures that you’re building a supportive environment where people feel understood and validated. When employees trust that the people they work with have the emotional intelligence to understand many different perspectives, they’re more likely to be productive and ask for help when they need it.

Social skills

Closely linked with empathy is a person’s social skills. Individuals who have well developed social skills will interact well with colleagues, clients, and stakeholders as well as boost business reputation. An employee’s work history will hold some insight into whether they have a good social antenna as will external factors such as interests and life experience. If the role you’re trying to fill demands someone with exceptional social skills, it pays to factor this into the recruitment process by way of interview questions or psychometric testing.

In considering the key components of emotional intelligence, you will be better placed to identify which attributes are important to your business when it comes to recruitment. By assigning value to each and working them into your recruitment process, you’ll be well equipped to assess prospective employees.


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