Emotional Intelligence and Career Success

Summary:  To be successful in your career, you need technical skills… but you also need people-skills. Increasingly, companies are looking for talented people who can work WITH others, build great relationships with team members and customers, and lead themselves.  These characteristics come from emotional intelligence.

Key Points:

The 2016 State of the Heart report shows certain talents are key to success in various fields

The 2016 State of the Heart report shows certain talents are key to success in various fields

Work is stressful and requires juggling.  Emotional intelligence skills are key to managing that complexity.

According to IBM’s 2012 survey, over 1700 CEOs say the their two top needs are COLLABORATION and CONNECTING with customers — these are both driven by emotional intelligence.

Research shows that people with higher emotional intelligence earn higher evaluations from their supervisors — and are overall more successful.

The skills of emotional intelligence are learnable — which means if you want to increase your human capital, you can do so!

Careerbuilder survey: 71% of employers say they value emotional intelligence over IQ. [5]

Recent research shows that EQ spurs creativity by fostering vigor and generosity [6] and helps employees successfully navigate organizational politics [7].


“EQ has twice the power of IQ to predict performance.  EQ is also a better predictor than employee skill, knowledge, or expertise.” – Gerald Mount [4]

“Leadership’s First Commandment: Know Thyself.”
– Harvard Business Review


The graph above shows the correlation between emotional intelligence scores and success scores.  “Success” in this study included career progression and income.  Emotional intelligence predicts 58% of the variation in success. [1]

In a study of retired National Football League players, emotional intelligence predicts 62% of the variation in life success. [2]

In one of McDonalds’ suppliers in Europe, almost half of managers’ performance (47%) is predicted just by emotional intelligence scores [3]

Evaluating high performers, 7 out of the 10 factors that distinguish star managers were tied to emotional intelligence (and only 3 to technical skills and conventional intelligence). [4]

In a study of Pararescue Jumpers, the US Air Force saved $190 million by selecting candidates based on emotional intelligence. [4]


[1] Leadership Success and Emotional Intelligence in the Middle East

[2] Emotional Intelligence for Athletes’ Life Success.

[3] The Amadori Case: Supplying McDonalds

[4] The Business Case for Emotional Intelligence

[5] Survey: Employers Value Emotional Intelligence Over IQ

[6] Carmeli, A., McKay, A. S. and Kaufman, J. C., (2014). Emotional Intelligence and Creativity: The Mediating Role of Generosity and Vigor. The Journal of Creative Behavior, 48: 290–309. doi: 10.1002/jocb.53

[7] Galit Meisler, (2014). Exploring emotional intelligence, political skill, and job satisfaction. Employee Relations, Vol. 36 Iss: 3, pp.280 – 293


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