What you don’t know about your emotions could hurt you at work.

That’s the gist of a growing body of business research on emotional intelligence, which is the ability to use one’s emotions effectively to help yourself and others. It is often why some workers and some companies succeed while others don’t.

“People with high emotional intelligence make $29,000 more, on average, than their counterparts,” according to certified behavior analyst Kerry Goyette. She is the author of “The Non-Obvious Guide to Emotional Intelligence.”

Why is it important?

“Research has shown that most of the decisions we make are in the emotional centers of our brain,” Goyette says. Making good decisions multiply one’s skills, she says.

The Huge Advantage or the Huge Problem

Goyette, a consultant with her firm, says the value of emotional intelligence is becoming more widely recognized and can be large.
Goyette said “90% of top performers have a higher level of emotional intelligence.”

The Carnegie Institute, in recent research, demonstrated that “85% of your financial success” is because of skills in “human engineering.” Those who don’t develop emotional intelligence are running risks, research suggests.

The Center for Creative Leadership found that the primary cause of executives who don’t move up was a deficiency in emotional competence.

We Are the Same, or Are We?

Take two people, Goyette adds, who are about the same in IQ and technical skills. Which one is promoted? She said most of the time it is the one with superior emotional intelligence.

“So,” she asks, “what am I saying? That a high EQ (emotional intelligence) will make you perform better, earn you more money, and help your business grow? Yes.” But emotional intelligence is more important than that, she adds.

“Emotional intelligence isn’t just about recognizing and exercising your own emotional life and strengths,” Goyette says. “It’s also about perceiving and connecting with your environment and the emotional lives of those around you.”

How does one achieve emotional intelligence?

Listen, Especially to the Troubling Comments

Be sure to listen to all different opinions about yourself and how you interact at work.

“Get honest feedback from people around you, even if it can sometimes be uncomfortable, Goyette says.

And, by the way, achieving emotional intelligence can have another big payoff besides getting ahead at work, Goyette says.

That’s because, according to Goyette, all the principles of emotional intelligence apply not only to business and other professional relationships, they also apply to one’s personal relationships.


Gregory Bresiger
Gregory Bresiger

Gregory Bresiger is an independent financial journalist from Queens, New York. His articles have appeared in publications such as Financial Planner Magazine and The New York Post.