Defined as the skills or ability necessary to identify, assess and control the emotions of oneself, other people or entire groups, emotional intelligence is a concept that has become widely popular in management texts and related literature for its ability to enhance and capitalize on the human potential of an organization.

Seeking to support a leader’s cognitive, emotional and physical resources, the use of emotional intelligence is a modern tool of effective management, enabling the individual to manage a wide range of employees that are often performing in a unique set of roles. In addition, emotional and personal competencies are two primary factors that are shown to be directly linked to performance within a work environment, making their identification and analysis essential for effective management as well as the increased development of the organization’s human capital.

It Pays to be ‘Likeable’

In part, emotional intelligence is a response to the problems businesses face in the modern world. With tighter budgets, escalating costs and the continuous demand to produce more for less, there’s a need to develop a higher standard for leadership skills, ones that will effectively address the challenges of high employee turnover, a rapidly changing business environment and the ever-increasing demand for improved products and services. And at least in part, the solution to these problems is found in a leader who possesses technical knowledge as well as the social and emotional abilities that will enable them to meet and beat the afore mentioned challenges and maximize the human potential of their organization while achieving their own personal agenda.

Any organization at the forefront of its industry needs to retain the best employees to remain competitive. And if you take a look at the factors that contribute to the highest levels of creativity and effectiveness in the workplace within these types of businesses, you’ll find components of emotional intelligence 9 out of 10 times.

That’s because duration of employment is directly linked to an individual’s relationship with their immediate supervisor, with some figures reporting that only 11 percent of employees who rated their boss as ‘excellent’ would consider looking for a new job. This figure is in comparison to the 40 percent who would consider leaving after rating their boss ‘poor’.

Moving Up Requires More Than Just Technical Capability

Your skills can land you a great job but emotional intelligence is what enables you to keep it and, more importantly, get promoted and motivate those around you. In fact, some psychologists believe that emotional intelligence matters twice as much as both technical and analytic skills combined. And the higher the individual moves up within an organization, the more crucial emotional intelligence becomes – not really a surprise given the high degree of loyalty required to inspire people toward achieving an expansive, complex or long-term goal.

To climb the modern corporate ladder, a leader must be competent within their chosen field but also have a finely-tuned sense of emotional intelligence. Specifically, they are typically expected to be more positive, approachable, warm, empathetic and optimistic, traits many believe to be more important than traditional cognitive intelligence in the successful achievement of workplace goals. The reason for this may be due to the fact that a focus on emotional intelligence often includes the ability to contain any negative feelings and focus instead on a positive outcome – a capability that is vital for high-reaching leaders and executives.