HR Glossary for HR Professionals

Glossary of the most common HR terms and acronyms to assist professionals navigating the ever-growing and ever-changing world of HR terminology.

Emotional Intelligence (EQ)

What is Emotional Intelligence?

Emotional intelligence (EQ) is a person’s ability to recognize, express, and manage their emotions appropriately, as well as recognize and understand the emotions of others in both personal and professional settings.

Types of Emotional Intelligence

There are five main categories of emotional intelligence: 

  • Self-awareness: Understanding and recognizing your own emotions and the impact that they have on your choices and feelings, as well as how they affect others. 
  • Self-regulation: Being able to recognize the most appropriate opportunity to share your emotions.
  • Motivation: Channeling your emotions towards greater goals, accomplishments, and self-improvement. 
  • Empathy: Recognizing how those around you feel—and responding to those feelings accordingly and appropriately.
  • Social Skills: Packaging all of the other types of emotional intelligence together to better interact with your peers and colleagues to develop meaningful relationships and interactions. 

Why Emotional Intelligence Matters in the Workplace

In many modern workplaces, teamwork and collaboration are vital to accomplishing an organization’s goals. With emotional intelligence, employees can more easily work alongside one another, develop camaraderie, and address issues that may come up in the day-to-day work cycle.

Why Employers Should Care About Emotional Intelligence

Without employees who utilize emotional intelligence, teams may experience delays, high turnover, and dissatisfied workers. In essence, a team composed of individuals who exercise emotional intelligence is one that thrives, one that accomplishes more goals than not.

How to Improve Emotional Intelligence

As with many self-improvement projects, there’s no end to developing your emotional intelligence. But, as the Harvard Division of Continuing Education puts it, you can work towards gradual development of these five types of EQ by being open about your emotions, embracing feedback from managers and coworkers, and reading literature.

Test Your Emotional Intelligence

Curious about your own EQ? Take the following 45-minute test from Psychology Today to see where you stand on the five types of emotional intelligence.

How to Measure Emotional Intelligence in Candidates

Like any other job interview, the key to assessing any personality trait or characteristic is in the questions you ask and the responses they elicit. Ask candidates questions that reveal how they work with others, how they address issues in the workplace, and how others responded to those actions. Combined with body language and facial expressions, their responses should provide insight into the candidate’s EQ.

Examples of EQ in the Workplace

  • Offering a listening ear to a frustrated coworker after a bad meeting.
  • Remaining attentive to your teammates during a brainstorming session. 
  • Providing constructive feedback on a project. 

Related Terms: Employee Benefits

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