How Emotional Intelligence can be a Career Enhancing Attribute?

Emotionally Intelligent Business People
Emotional intelligence is a career enhancing attribute, a career maker. Equally so, being emotionally unintelligent can be a career breaker. It is for this reason that every leading business school in the world has a course on emotional intelligence.

I have conducted many workshops on becoming emotionally intelligent and I know from the questions asked in the workshops and the feed-back afterwards, that the whole concept is still somewhat of a mystery to many.

I’m therefore going to break it up into small pieces in the next five blog posts and help you understand what it is, why it’s important and why you really need to be making a commitment to becoming more and more emotionally intelligent in the way you respond to people and situations.

Until 1998 when Daniel Goleman popularised “emotional intelligence”, it was strongly held and believed that it was your intellectual quotient that determined your success. As a result you put all the emphasis in your professional and leadership development into excelling in the hard technical skills of your chosen professional or industry sector. Your “emotional quotient” did not even get airplay.

While those technical skills are still foundational and essential they are no longer enough to bring you the success you deserve and want. They will get you an interview, and they may even get you the job. They will not, however, see you advance without the development of your complementary soft skills, of which one of the most important is emotional intelligence.

Research from the highly respected Centre for Creative Leadership in the US has shown that when leaders derail, the primary cause is lack of emotional competence. Specifically it mentions their inability to work well in teams, manage the uncertainty and change that is the “new normal”, and to relate effectively with others. This is an organisation that works with over 20,000 leaders a year and 80 of the 100 Fortune 100 companies, so their research can be taken seriously.

The World Economic Forum Future of Jobs Report has said that emotional intelligence will be one of the top job skills in 2020.

TalentSmart™ has tested 1 million people plus and 99% of the top performers have a high emotional quotient (EQ). They earn an average of $28,000 more per year than their low EQ counterparts do.

Daniel Goleman himself has said that “for leadership positions emotional intelligence competencies account for up to 85% of what sets outstanding managers apart from the average.”

When someone presses your buttons how you respond emotionally brands you. More people than you know are watching and forming opinions about you. When a situation crashes down on you from out of left field, which often happens in these uncertain and unpredictable times, how you respond emotionally has the potential to enhance or destroy your reputation. How you respond in both situations will certainly determine the promotions and opportunities that are offered to you.

If you can learn to recognise what you are feeling at any given time, can name that feeling for what it is, you can then manage it in a way that will enhance rather than destroy your professional credibility. Once you have learned how to manage your own emotions, you then become very adept at identifying what others are feeling. This means you respond in much more appropriate ways to achieve the response you want from those others. In time you become the highly sought after professional for the way you can manage the people issues in your organisation. You become the CEO of Relationship Management.


  1. Mohammed Sadiq on February 26, 2017 at 9:43 pm

    Great article, indeed waiting for the next steps on emotional intelligence, tackling people and situations professionally.

  2. Maree Harris on February 27, 2017 at 11:56 am

    Mohammed, thanks for joining the conversation here. I am pleased the blog post resonated with you. I hope you have by this stage received the second post. I took a specific situation – poor performance review – and showed how someone could handle it in an emotionally intelligent way.

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