Emotional intelligence, or EQ, has been a buzzword surrounding the workforce since the 1990s. It is great for conflict resolution as well as improving business relationships within your company, but what exactly does emotional intelligence mean?

Emotional intelligence defined
In terms of business, EQ involves a set of skills essential for any workplace. However, the technical definition makes those set of skills a little more clear. According to the Oxford Dictionary, emotional intelligence involves "the capacity to be aware of, control and express one's emotions, and to handle interpersonal relationships judiciously and empathetically." Essentially, emotional intelligence is being intelligent about emotions, the ability to understand both your own emotions and the emotions of others around you. The tricky part comes in translating this understanding in to action.

"Emotional intelligence is necessary for a handful of skills."

What is it good for?
According to Daniel Goleman, author of "The Executive Edge: An Insider's Guide to Outstanding Leadership," emotional intelligence is necessary for a handful of skills. Goleman, in blog post for LinkedIn, argued that strong motivation and sustained focus are closely linked to a person's individual emotional intelligence.

In a 2013 newsletter, the University of South Florida's faculty assistance program claimed that good EQ is essential for employees looking to be promoted into leadership roles. Emotional intelligence ensures that a person knows how to accurately perceive emotions, thus helping them better understand difficult situations.

In a guest article for Entrepreneur magazine, Vice President of Glassdoor, Mariah Deleon​, credits her engaged and committed staff to her company's investment in EQ efforts and plans to keep putting an emphasis on the types of behaviors linked to EQ in the future.

How to identify good emotional intelligence skills
According to Deleon, hiring managers should keep an eye out for potential employees who already possess high EQ skills. But what do these skills look like?

Goleman's book argues that there are five main traits or skills that all people with high EQ will have a solid grip on: self awareness, self regulation, motivation, empathy and people skills. These five main traits can manifest themselves in a number of different ways. For example, someone who proves to be adaptable is signifying that they have good self regulation skills, according to Goleman. 

Working well with others indicates one aspect of emotional intelligence.Working well with others indicates one aspect of emotional intelligence.

How to foster them within your team – and yourself!
While Deleon does suggest hiring people with great EQ from the start, this is not always possible. Emotional intelligence can be fostered within your company culture pretty easily if you set up the correct systems – via office resources and leading by example. Here are four tips for promoting emotionally intelligent practices within your office.

1. Teach time management: Goleman cited this as a great way to foster self-regulation. As a manager, set up systems of efficient time-management that you can then teach all new employees upon hiring. This has the added bonus of just generally teaching new employees good practices for producing time-considerate materials.

2. Show interest in your employees: In an article for Fast Company, Harvey Detschendorf reported that a great way to showcase your people skills is by forming a cordial relationship with your employees. Detschendorf suggested really making an effort to learn the names of your entire staff and personal hobby or two to match.

3. Feedback: Create an early onset culture of feedback in your office. Goleman suggests practicing this from the start by providing honest comments about a new hires interview process. While this may be too quick for your company, try setting up consistent feedback about your employee's work – both good and bad. This will allow for your entire office to become more self-aware of the work they are producing.

4. Manage emotions: Employees tend to mimic the actions of their bosses. When there are situations in the office with high potential for quick emotional responses, work on reeling in those feelings. According to Detschendorf, leaders with high EQ should be able to first process and then respond to the situation while also being perceptive to their employee's emotions.

No matter how you do it, it is important to pay close attention to how EQ manifests itself within your company – or if it even does at all.