Emotional Intelligence in the Workplace
World Small Animal Veterinary Association Congress Proceedings, 2018
Tania Small, B. Bus (HR), Dip. Bus, Dip. L&M, Cert. IV TAE
Animal Industries Resource Centre, Training and Education, Brisbane, QLD, Australia

Emotional Intelligence – An Overview

There are two different kinds of intelligence: the rational one and the emotional one. Our performance in the workplace, and out of it, is determined not only by IQ (Intellectual quotient), but also emotional intelligence, sometimes also named emotional quotient (EQ). According to Mayer and Salovey (1997), the emotional intelligence is the capacity of realising and expressing the emotion, assimilating it to the thought, understanding and reasoning with it and being able to regulate it in you and in the others.” The leading research on the concept originated with Peter Salovey and John Mayer starting in the late 1980s. In 1990, their seminal paper defined the concept as intelligence. Mayer and Salovey continued to research the concept, and created an emotional intelligence test called the MSCEIT (Mayer-Salovey-Caruso Emotional Intelligence Test). The term “emotional intelligence” was popularised by Daniel Goleman (1995).

Emotional Intelligence Fundamentals

There are four fundamental aspects of emotional intelligence (EI) as measured by the Emotional Competence Inventory:




Your ability to accurately perceive your emotions and stay aware of them as they happen. This includes keeping on top of how you tend to respond to specific situations and certain people.


Your ability to use awareness of your emotions to stay flexible and positively direct your behaviour. This means managing your emotional reactions to all situations and people.

Social awareness

Your ability to accurately pick up on emotions in other people and understand what is really going on. This often means understanding what other people are thinking and feeling, even if you don’t feel the same way.

Social skill

Your ability to use awareness of your emotions and the emotions of others to manage interactions successfully. Letting emotional awareness guide clear communication and effective handling of conflict.

Recognising and Appreciating the Emotional Strengths and Weaknesses of Others

You will probably find that there are mixed levels of emotional intelligence amongst your colleagues and this in itself can cause issues and conflicts because they may not manage their emotions in the same way as another, or how you would manage your own emotions. You need to recognise where on the scale of emotional intelligence each of those people in your team lies and respond to their emotional states accordingly.

 Your emotional responses will differ from those of your colleagues because we all have different personalities and emotional strengths and weaknesses. Something that motivates you may not evoke the same drive from another staff member. Likewise, something that concerns another staff member (e.g., a sick family member) may affect their behaviour towards others in the workplace or it might affect their performance and ability to do their job properly. The emotions this person is experiencing are potential causes of conflict, particularly if other staff members do not understand what is driving this behaviour.

You need to be able to recognise the emotional strengths and weaknesses of others within your team and the emotional states that they produce. The state we are in determines how we perceive something that is happening to us or around us, which results in the emotion we feel towards it. The emotion we feel to the same stimulus may be completely different depending on the state we are in.

Benefits of Emotional Intelligence to the Workplace

Encouraging your workforce to develop their own emotional intelligence helps them to build productive relationships not only in the workplace, but enhances their personal relationships as they gain confidence to manage their emotions and relationships rationally and thoughtfully. It develops their prospects for promotion and consequent rise in salary as well as boosts their overall self-confidence.

The following chart that demonstrates the potential workplace outcomes of developing emotional intelligence within an organisation, was researched and compiled by Dr. Benjamin Palmer and Professor Con Stough from Swinburne University and is based upon their seven-factor model of emotional intelligence.

Emotional intelligence skill


Workplace outcome

Emotional self-awareness

The skill of perceiving and understanding one’s own emotions

• The capacity to identify and understand the impact one’s own feelings is having on thoughts, decisions, behaviour and performance at work
• Greater self-awareness

Emotional expression

The skill of effectively expressing one’s own emotions

• Creating greater understanding amongst colleagues about yourself
• Creating trust and perceptions of genuineness amongst colleagues

Emotional awareness of others

The skill of perceiving and understanding others’ emotions

• Greater understanding of others, how to engage, respond, motivate and connect with them
• Interpersonal effectiveness

Emotional reasoning

The skill of utilising emotional information in decision-making

• Enhanced decision-making where more information is considered in the process
• Greater buy-in from others into decisions that are made

Emotional self-management

The skill of effectively managing one’s own emotions

• Improved job satisfaction and engagement
• Improved ability to cope with high work demands
• Greater interpersonal effectiveness
• Enhanced productivity and performance

Emotional management of others

The skill of influencing the moods and emotions of others

• The capacity to generate greater productivity and performance from others
• The capacity to generate a positive and satisfying work environment for others
• The capacity to effectively deal with workplace conflict

Emotional self-control

The skill of effectively controlling strong emotions experienced

• Emotional well-being
• The capacity to think clearly in stressful situations
• The capacity to deal effectively with situations that cause strong emotions

You can read more at www.eiconsortium.org/measures/genos.html

Use Emotional Intelligence to Maximise Team Outcomes

When team members have a strong relationship, they are more likely to sustain positive emotions and a positive mind set. This maintenance of positive energy then breeds ideas and creativity, which results in innovation and increased productivity.

The satisfaction the team members enjoy from their successes increases motivation for further success and a further increase in productivity. As the positive mood and emotions continue, the members of the team then seek to take on new challenges with other teams, increasing the collaboration, growing the cohesion of the community within the organisation. The more the workers collaborate, share success and satisfaction as a whole, the less competition there is for allocation of resources as it becomes a shared ownership for the benefit of the whole organisation.

Individual members of the work force start to see themselves as part of the fabric of the organisation instead of individual workers and view themselves as ‘we, the organisation,’ and not just ‘I.’ The positive environment creates a work place that is fun, satisfying, productive, supportive and innovative, and one in which the work force takes ownership and responsibility for the part they play in its success. Any negative emotions emanating from an individual are quickly negated by the wave of positivity around them.


1.  Goleman D. Emotional Intelligence – Why It Can Matter More Than IQ. Bantam Books, NY. 1995.

2.  Goleman D. Working with Emotional Intelligence. Bantam Books, NY. 1998.

3.  Mayer JD, Salovey P. ‘What is Emotional Intelligence?’ Emotional Development and Emotional Intelligence: Implications for Educators. Basic Books, NY. 1997:3–31.

4.  Mayer JD, Roberts RD, Barasade SG. Human abilities: emotional intelligence. Annual Review of Psychology. 2008;59:507–53.

5.  Petrides KV, Furnham A. Trait emotional intelligence: psychometric investigation with reference to established trait taxonomies. European Journal of Personality. 2001;15:425–448.

6.  Salovey P, Grewal D. The science of emotional intelligence. Current Directions in Psychological Science. 2005;14(6):231–248.


Speaker Information
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Tania Small, B. Bus (HR), Dip. Bus, Dip. L&M, Cert. IV TAE
Animal Industries Resource Centre
Training and Education
Brisbane, QLD, Australia

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