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The smartest person is usually considered the best person for a job, especially when it comes to leadership. However, HR experts argue that traditional intelligence (book smarts) may not be as important as emotional intelligence (people smarts).

What is Emotional Intelligence?

Emotional intelligence (EQ, or emotional quotient) can be summed up by a few characteristics:

  • The ability to evaluate one’s own emotions and their greater impact
  • Solid understanding of one’s abilities and self-worth
  • An innate desire to help toward the greater good

In other words, having a high EQ means you work well with others because you understand how your and your co-workers’ emotions affect each other. The argument goes: if our behavior is dictated by our emotions, then understanding them is the key to long-term success.

Making Emotions Work for You

Leaders who understand emotions can channel that energy into producing desired results. For instance, managing employees is much easier when you can empathize and understand them on an emotional level. Nothing builds barriers faster than a perceived misunderstanding from a manager.


Overall, EQ is a fluid area of study, like most aspects of the brain. There are still many unknowns, so one cannot definitively say if emotional intelligence is the trump card for leaders. However, raising the EQ of managers even slightly can help with employee relations.

Consider offering EQ training to managers to help them relate better with their employees. You may be surprised how far a little emotional understanding can go.

Contact Sue Justice for additional information at sue@emerybenefitsolutions.com