Vanessa Urch Druskat, associate professor of organisational behaviour, describes the introduction of the concept of emotional intelligence (EI) among managers with the words “the lids fell from their eyes.

The message that organisational effectiveness is as much a function of emotional intelligence (EI) as it is of intelligence quotient (IQ) is gaining traction and support. But as Druskat continues, “more importantly, the idea held the potential for positive change. Instead of being forced to play with the cards that fate has dealt them, people could now take steps to increase their emotional intelligence to become more effective both at work and in their personal lives.”[1]

But she points to the misguided tendency to see EI “only as the competence of the individual, when in practice most of the work in the organisation is done by teams”.[2] Therefore, he directs his studies in the direction of his thesis and discovers that, in fact, an analogue of the individual KEI is the collective KEI, which is no less a key factor for the effectiveness of the group. A number of studies and top researchers confirm this conclusion.

Emotional intelligence is a critical characteristic for finding a job and advancing in a career

A national survey[3] by CareerBuilder in the United States, conducted between May and June 2011, of more than 2,600 managers and HR professionals, reveals that emotional intelligence is a critical characteristic for finding a job and advancing in a career.

The obtained results indicate that:

  • 34% of respondents put more emphasis on EI in hiring and promoting employees since the 2008 recession;
  • 71% say they value an employee’s EI more than IQ (intelligence quotient);
    • 59% of employers surveyed said they would not hire someone with a high CI but a low KEI;
    • 75% confirmed that if they had to choose between two employees, they would promote the one with a higher EI (Emotional Intelligence Quotient).

In the same survey, when asked, “Why is emotional intelligence more important than high IQ [or rational intelligence]?”, employers answered, in the following order of importance, that they believed employees with high EI:

  • are more likely to keep calm under pressure;
  • know how to resolve conflict effectively;
  • empathise with their team members and respond accordingly;
  • tend to make more thoughtful business decisions;
  • they set an example.
Why EI is important

Rosemary Haefner, vice president of human resources at CareerBuilder commented on the results, summarising that “employers want people who can effectively make decisions under stressful situations and empathise with the needs of their colleagues and clients to achieve the best results”[4] .

Learn more: Emotional intelligence – a key factor for success in business and life

Emotional intelligence – an increasingly desirable quality in potential employees

The above results are not just an indicator, but proof that EI is and is becoming an increasingly desirable quality among potential employees.

On the one hand, a higher KEI allows managers to understand the needs of the people they are responsible for and, accordingly, manage to motivate them appropriately.

On the other hand, employees prove that they work best when they are treated with respect and trust, and if they also make an effort to develop their emotional intelligence, they learn:

  • to admit and learn from their mistakes;
  • to control their emotions;
  • to listen as much as they speak;
  • to accept criticism;
  • to show resilience.

The same opinion was formulated by Snezhina Ivanova: “Emotional literacy, the measurement of emotional intelligence, one’s own and that of others, increases the effectiveness of communication and provides the manager with a means of diagnosing the situation and managing the behaviour of the human factor in the organization.“[5]

Peter Drucker

Goleman, citing Peter Drucker’s words that “the unit of production is the team, not the individual,” adds:

“…when people come together.. [ ] …for the purpose of cooperation… [ ] …we can quite justifiably speak of a group’s IQ – the sum total of the talents and skills of all its participants. Only on this coefficient depends how well they will cope with their task.”[6]

In support of this statement are Druskat’s conclusions that “probably most of all, a team can be influenced by the overall organisational culture that recognises and welcomes the sharing of emotions by employees”[7] and reminds that this is what it’s happening in the companies that are currently creating the value in the new economy. According to her, this is also the “piece of the puzzle” that will be extremely difficult to implement in organisations with a long history of employees being encouraged to leave their emotions at home. Because the prevailing wisdom is still that feelings have no place in the office and business.

Worse, according to Bunker, many inexperienced managers “suffer from a lack of patience, openness, empathy – qualities that at the top of the business hierarchy become far more important than raw intellect… [ ] …Aggressive and callous , fast-rising managers are willing to complicate relationships with colleagues and subordinates—not realising that they need those relationships to deal with problems. Problems will turn into crises that managers will not be able to handle. Your company, customers, and employees will pay the price.”[8]

Емоционална интелигентност
From the point of view of empathy – two of the key components of EI, Brad Stone in the book The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon, includes an interesting childhood memory of the most successful digital entrepreneur to date, Jeff Bezos. The story was shared personally by Bezos and describes how the then ten-year-old future entrepreneur, gifted with incredible intelligence, enthusiastically calculated the years of life that his grandmother had lost as a result of her vice – smoking cigarettes. And in an extremely tactless way, he subsequently tells her about them. As a result, he receives not the praise he expected, but a lifelong lesson from his grandfather, who tells him, “Jeff, one day you’ll learn that it’s harder to be kind and compassionate than it is to be smart.“[9]

On the same occasion, Bezos made a further comment to John Byrne, author of World Changers, saying:

“The mind is a gift. Kindness is a choice. Gifts are something easy – after all, they are given to you. Choices can be difficult. If you are not careful, you can be tempted by the gifts you have, and if you do, you will probably harm your choice.”[10]

Optimism remains that this lesson from one of the most successful men on the planet, as well as the fact that “we have already seen how financial experts with brilliant minds, have imposed (and continue to to impose – b.a.) short-sighted, selfish economic decisions that led to the global financial crisis of 2008, the continued deterioration of the environment and the widening of income inequality”[11] will serve as evidence of the need to cultivate of the main competencies of EI – self-knowledge, self-control, optimism and motivation, empathy, social skills (according to the Goleman model).

Only this way humanity will transcend the individualistic, self-centered way of thinking and move towards a more mature, long-term and planetary decision-making process.

Conclusion #1: Results are achieved through teamwork and motivated employees

The modern organisational structure requires managers to constantly upgrade not only their rational but also their irrational skills in order to be able to build strong relationships with their employees based on mutual trust and respect.

Creating a favourable work climate and building cohesive teams of engaged and motivated employees has never been as difficult as it is today in a state of high-tech economy and favourable opportunities. All managers are aware that results are only achieved through teamwork, and that those results would be higher if people felt motivated.


Работа в екип

And often, the manager “albeit unconsciously, instead of engaging them, demotivates them”[12].

Highly dynamic and high-tech, the modern workplace has turned emotional intelligence from an exotic to a necessary requirement for each of us to adapt to the complex business environment developed by different generations, largely with different value systems and views. Today, “emotional leadership is the spark that gives life to a company”[13].

Conclusion #2: From an organisational perspective, investing in emotionally intelligent employees and teams will prove key to the success of the respective business unit

Kostadinova‘s words are a logical explanation:

“In everyday business, as in life in general, regardless of the nature of our work or the language in which we communicate, there is one constant that is universal, and that is the emotions we express.”[14]

And if it is true that humanity stands on the threshold of a kind of war between man and machine, between natural reason and artificial intelligence, it is quite possible that emotions will turn out to be the lifeline for people, keeping them above the surface of the ocean of digital innovation and business ventures.

It is only necessary that feelings are not perceived as a weakness, but that they are cultivated in the best possible way and that their full potential is harnessed in the direction of realising personal, professional and socially significant goals.

In support of this statement is the conclusion of the specialists from the National Competence Assessment Network, indicating EI as “a key competence for the exercise of any profession and position, regardless of its level in the organisational hierarchy and professional field. People management, leadership and teamwork is about solving problems, mostly on an emotional level.”[15]


Conclusion #3: There is every reason for EI to be taken as seriously as classical intelligence.

Anastasia Noela points out that decades of research have confirmed EI as a critical factor differentiating top employees and managers from the crowd[16]. This set of social-emotional abilities helps an individual connect with colleagues, build strong relationships, and understand how emotions affect performance.


Lauren Landry, Associate Director of Marketing and Communications at Harvard Business School Online (HBSO), provides a concrete answer to the question, “Why is emotional intelligence important?“[17]. According to her, “leaders set the tone for their organisation,” and if KEI is low, it leads to lower employee engagement and higher turnover rates. Goleman gives a similar answer to the question “what has the strongest influence on the final financial result of a company”, namely – the mood of the leader.

The emotional intelligence of leaders – their self-awareness, empathy, relationships with others – has a clear connection to their own performance in the workplace. However, new research shows that a leader’s emotional style also guides the mood and behouvior of others—through a neurological process called mood contagion.”[18]

Conclusion #4: Technical skills alone do not give an individual an edge in the organizational environment if he does not know how to communicate effectively with his team or collaborate with other individuals

Only by mastering EI could one gain a unique advantage and advance one’s career, or as Goleman writes:

“All of the most effective leaders are alike in one crucial way: They all have high levels of what has come to be known as emotional intelligence. Not that AI and technical skills are unimportant, but…they are the initial requirements for leadership positions.”[19]


[1] Druskat, V.W., Wolf, S., Building Group Emotional Intelligence, 10 Emotional Intelligence Must-Reads, Hermes, 2020, pg 95

[2] Druskat, V.W., Wolf, S., Building Group Emotional Intelligence, 10 Emotional Intelligence Must-Reads, Hermes, 2020, pp. 95 – 96

[3] Survey conducted online in the US by Harris Interactive © on behalf of CareerBuilder among 2,662 US hiring managers (non-government) between May 19, 2011 and June 8, 2011 (percentages for some questions are based on a subgroup based on their responses on certain questions). In purely probability samples of 2,662, it can be said with 95 percent probability that the overall results have a sampling error of +/- 1.90 percentage points, https://bit.ly/3dkMcxn, last accessed 02/17/2021.

[4] Seventy-One Percent of Employers Say They Value Emotional Intelligence over IQ, According to CareerBuilder Survey, https://bit.ly/3dkMcxn, last accessed 01.04.2021г.

[5] Ivanova, S., Emotional intelligence and management of human behavior, Economic Academy “D. A. Tsenov”, Svishtov, 2017, ISSN: 2367-7384, Issue 4, pp. 17-32

[6] Golman, D., Emotional Intelligence, East-West, 2011, pp. 223-224

[7] Druskat, V.W., Wolf, S., Building Group Emotional Intelligence, 10 Emotional Intelligence Must-Reads, Hermes, 2020, pp. 117 – 120

[8] Bunker, A.K., Kram, K., Ting, S., Young and inexperienced, 10 Emotional Intelligence must-reads, Hermes, 2020, p.185

[9] Stone, B., A shop for everything: Jeff Bezos and the century of Amazon, Janua`98, Sofia, 2016, p.156

[10] Byrne, D., The People Who Changed the World, East-West, Sofia, 2012, p.105

[11] Glenn, D., Gordon, T., Florescu, E., The Human Future: Horizons of Development, East-West, Sofia, 2015, p. 27

[12] Docheva, D., How to create an engaging environment through emotional intelligence, LinkedIn, 10/10/2019, https://bit.ly/2LXcryC, last accessed 04/01/2021.

[13] Golman, D., Boyatzis, R., McKee, A., Authentic Leadership, 10 Emotional Intelligence Must-Reads, Hermes, 2020, p57

[14] Kostadinova, I., Defining the categories of “emotional and social intelligence” for the purposes of applied research, Scientific works of Ruse University, 2013, volume 52, series 5.1, https://bit.ly/3ct3kAE last accessed 04/01/2021.

[15] Assessment of Emotional Intelligence, National Competency Assessment Network, http://bit.do/fNstL, last accessed 04/01/2021.

[16] Noela, A., Emotional intelligence in the digital era, Today Software Magazine, https://www.todaysoftmag.com/article/2146/emotional-intelligence-in-the-digital-age, last accessed 01.04.2021г. 

[17] Landry, L., Why Emotional intelligence is important in leadership, Harvard Business School, 03.04.2019, https://online.hbs.edu/blog/post/emotional-intelligence-in-leadership, last accessed 01.04.2021г. 

[18] Golman, D., Boyatzis, R., McKee, A., Authentic Leadership, 10 Emotional Intelligence Must-Reads, Hermes, 2020, p35

[19] Landry, L., Why Emotional intelligence is important in leadership, Harvard Business School, 03.04.2019, https://online.hbs.edu/blog/post/emotional-intelligence-in-leadership, last accessed 17.02.2021г. 


The material is part of a Diploma Thesis (for the acquisition of the OCS “Bachelor” in the professional direction “Administration and Management”) on the topic “Researching the influence of emotional intelligence in digital entrepreneurship”, developed by graduate student Ana Todorova and successfully defended in June 2021 before the department “Management and social activities” at the “Business and Management” faculty of Ruse University “Angel Kanchev”.

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