Emotional Intelligence for the New-Age Workforce

Jan 12, 2024

7 minutes

Did you know that high emotional intelligence can increase your career success rate by about 75%? Yes! It can! Studies have revealed that emotional intelligence is a critical driver of professional growth and development, especially for the new-age workforce. Job seekers in highly competitive talent pools must leverage their emotional intelligence so that employers consider them top candidates capable of filling advertised job vacancies. The modern job market requires ideal candidates to be both book smart and emotionally intelligent to thrive in the new-age workforce.   

What is Emotional Intelligence?

Emotional intelligence (EI) refers to the quality of being “emotionally smart.” An emotionally intelligent person displays the ability to notice, comprehend, and manage their own emotions alongside others’ feelings. To be considered emotionally intelligent, you must be capable of differentiating varying emotions and labelling them correctly.

Since emotional intelligence has become critical to the modern workforce, employers use the emotional quotient (EQ) to assess potential employees’ emotional smartness before filling job vacancies.  EQ tests reveal professionals’ abilities to manage the helpful and harmful effects of emotions. Higher effective emotional management capabilities translate into enhanced communication and behavioural skills, traits that are attractive to potential employers.  

Elements of Emotional Intelligence and Their Relation to Workplace Trends

Reuven Bar-On is the clinical psychologist who introduced the EI concept in 1982 as he studied the factors that make people happy and those that make them successful. In 1990, Peter Salavoy and John Mayer’s article titled “Emotional Intelligence” brought more attention to the subject. Ultimately, Daniel Goleman’s book, Emotional Intelligence: Why it can matter more than IQ, popularized EI in the mid and late 90s, allowing the concept to enter mainstream culture. In his book, Goleman created an EI framework with 5 major components: self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy, and social skills. The author emphasized that EI is a learned skill that anyone can develop and improve over time.

1.  Self-Awareness

Self-awareness refers to an individual’s capacity to acknowledge and understand their emotions, values, strengths, and weaknesses. Your level of self-awareness impacts how you interact with others. For instance, professionals in work settings use their self-awareness to temper their communication with workmates. High self-awareness levels among the workforce facilitates the adaption of workplace trends like improved dialogue. Improved dialogue encourages one-on-one communication among colleagues, maximizing communication efficiency. Moreover, high self-awareness enables employees to participate in the creation of sustainable and inclusive organizational cultures. In turn, organizations can embrace workplace diversity trends, allowing them access to a more extensive talent pool with highly qualified candidates to fill job vacancies.

2.  Self-Regulation

Self-regulation is your ability to control your impulses and manage your emotions, enabling effective adaptation to changing circumstances. It is the EI component that professionals should develop to help them control their flight and/or fight responses when they face frustrations and difficulties in the workplace. High self-regulation among colleagues reduces tension and conflict in the workplace, enhancing collaboration and productivity within the workforce. Employers can encourage employees to practice and master self-regulation by offering mental health support in the form of mental health days, wellness hours, in-office counselling, and open conversations.

3.  Motivation

Motivation is a person’s drive to achieve a goal or perform a task. It is a critical employee skill that determines individual and organizational success. Highly motivated professionals can maintain their drive despite work circumstances.

Motivation is an EI component that eases employers’ adaptation to workplace trends like hybrid schedules. Highly motivated employees can meet work deliverables with minimal supervision, allowing employers to trust them to manage hybrid schedules effectively.

4.  Empathy

Empathy is a skill that allows you to understand others’ emotions and relate to their circumstances and feelings. It is a critical trait that enables professionals to see all perspectives of a problem, facilitating objective decision-making. Additionally, highly empathetic leaders are good interpreters and listeners attuned to their followers’ verbal and non-verbal cues. Empathy encourages employers to improve parental leave policies, a workplace trend that enhances new parents’ work-life balance.

5.  Social Skills

Social skills are a person’s ability to manage relationships, which allows professionals to build rapport with colleagues and encourage teamwork. Examples of the social competencies new-age workforce members should possess include persuasiveness, verbal and non-verbal communication skills, and active listening proficiency. Employers can use workplace trends like free in-office lunches to encourage staff members to interact with their colleagues and build relationships. Such interactions can create rapport and enhance cohesiveness within a workforce.

Benefits of Emotional Intelligence

1.  Improved Rapport-Building Skills

When you are emotionally intelligent, you tend to be empathetic. Employers are more inclined to hire professionals who display empathy to fill job vacancies. Such individuals make attractive job candidates because they can connect with colleagues and clients on a deeper level. Their rapport-building skills foster the creation of trust-based relationships that enhance collaboration among colleagues and inspire client loyalty.

2.  Enhanced Teamwork Skills

Your EI enhances your teamwork skills through developed social competency. Most organizational roles require professionals to collaborate to realize company goals. As such, recruiters favour emotionally intelligent job candidates displaying enhanced social skills that enable them to communicate effectively. Well-developed social skills promote seamless teamwork that improves workforce productivity.  

3.  Improved Stress & Change Management Skills

Your high self-regulation and self-awareness capabilities improve your change adaptability and stress-coping skills. New-age work settings are dynamic, necessitating that professionals develop EI that equips them with emotional resilience to adapt and thrive in changing and fast-paced workplaces. Employers are likely to consider you a top job candidate for job vacancies if you can brand and present yourself as an agile professional capable of embracing innovation and navigating transitions,    

4.  Enhanced Leadership Skills

EI can facilitate your career progression by propelling you into leadership and executive positions. New-age workforce leaders require more than technical expertise to be effective in their roles. They must be capable of inspiring and motivating their followers to drive innovation and foster connections within teams. Developing your motivational skills enhances your leadership competency, improving your value as a candidate interested in filling job vacancies in your niche.

5.  Improved Communication Skills

Self-awareness is an EI component that greatly contributes to improving your communication skills. Effective communication is crucial to your career growth. It enables you to build a brand and communicate its value to potential employers through cold calling or interviews. Recruiters are more likely to hire you to fill job vacancies if you have good communication skills, which facilitate effective teamwork and productive collaboration within organizations.   

Are You an Emotionally Intelligent Professional?

Emotionally intelligent professionals (high EQ) can skillfully read a room, anticipate other people’s emotional needs, make sound character judgements, embrace change, identify and communicate their complex emotional needs, and are often not easily offended.

In contrast, professionals with low EQ have difficulties regulating their emotions, lack empathy, blame their failures on others, have poor social skills (arrogance or misplaced humour), and are demotivated.

Job seekers and working professionals should strive to develop their EI to improve their career progression opportunities.

Cultivating Emotional Intelligence in the Workplace

EI has an undisputable value in the new-age workforce. Hence, organizational leaders must strive to cultivate EI among staff members by:

  • Encouraging employees to understand their feelings, strengths and weaknesses. Such comprehension improves self-awareness, making individuals better team players and communicators.
  •  Providing employees with self-regulation tips that help them improve their ability to identify and manage emotional triggers.
  •  Helping employees build social skills through communication training and team-building activities that improve active listening skills.
  •  Encouraging employees to consider their colleagues’ emotions and perspectives, especially during conflicts, to enhance empathy.
  • Advocating for employees’ self-motivation through the identification of personal motivators. Employers should encourage employees to incorporate their motivators in daily working life


Emotional intelligence is critical to the new-age workforce. Employees must cultivate higher EI to fast-track their career progression. On the other hand, job seekers should enhance their EI to increase their attractiveness to recruiters scouting for talent to fill job vacancies. Furthermore, employers must create workplace environments that encourage EI development to improve organizations’ competitive advantage in the dynamic business industry.

EI is the key to personal, professional, and industrial growth that the new-age workforce must embrace!

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