In his first column for UofL Today, UofL ombuds Tony Belak talks about a less job-specific skill that everyone needs: emotional intelligence. Belak will provide information for faculty and staff each month through UofL Today.)

Much of what we do throughout the day involves interacting with other people. In a university setting, we may be faculty or staff who work with students on a daily basis; researchers who work in teams; staff who sometimes work alone and other times work in groups.

Whatever our work circumstances, we all benefit by developing our emotional intelligence (EQ).

Our EQ determines our ability to understand and motivate ourselves and others and to have productive interactions with other people – all of which can affect our career success.

Recently, I read some interesting statistics about the value of EQ.

  • 71 percent of employers in a CareerBuilding survey said they value EQ over IQ
  • 59 percent of hiring managers said they would not hire someone with a high IQ if that person had low EQ
  • 75 percent of hiring managers said they would be more likely to promote someone with high EQ than someone with a high IQ

So what makes EQ so important?

The same article that cited those statistics noted that “The biggest reason employers value emotional intelligence is because those are the employees who are most likely to stay calm under pressure.”

Typically, people with high EQ

  • are self-aware
  • know how they react in different situation and can channel their emotions and reactions accordingly
  • are self-motivating
  • know how to motivate other people
  • focus on other people’s strengths – not on their weaknesses – to help them meet their goals
  • express appreciation for other people’s accomplishments
  • are optimistic and pleasant to be around
  • know how to handle constructive discontent
  • empathize with others
  • are willing to share information and resources to help others to get what they want – an important quality for people who work in teams

People with high EQ understand that the focus is not on them and what they want – it is outward and, when reciprocated, a healthy relationship is established.

Some people are born with EQ, but people also can learn it.

The Office of the Ombuds holds regular training courses to encourage personal transformation and increase emotional intelligence. Please call 852-7359 for more information.