The Emotionally Savvy Employee

Working in a university setting allows for contact with a diverse group of individuals. Have you ever wondered how some coworkers are able to “read” their boss and identify their mood? Or have you ever wondered how your supervisor is able to maintain composure under the pressure of a deadline? Emotional intelligence may provide an answer. Emotional intelligence is the ability to monitor and manage your own emotions and the emotions of others. In the workplace, individuals with this skill use their emotions as “data” to make decisions; they read their own emotions and the emotions of others to successfully navigate their professional lives.

Barsade and Gibson (2007) provide a review of emotional intelligence and identify four distinguishing factors: 1) perceiving emotions, the degree to which people are capable of attending to their emotions, 2) using emotions, the process of knowing which emotions to use to facilitate goal attainment, 3) understanding emotions, understanding how emotions shift and change between situations and over time, 4) and managing emotions, the knowledge of how to regulate one’s own and other’s emotions to reach goals. The emotionally savvy employee is one who can perceive emotions in faces, solve emotion-related problems, and has a deep understanding of the messages that emotions convey. Emotionally intelligent individuals tend to be successful at working in team settings, and their coworkers may mistake their ability as charisma, optimism, or happiness. However, emotional intelligence is not a personality trait. It is literally “using your emotions to think intelligently” (Barsade and Gibson, 2007, pg 40).



Barsade, S. & Gibson, D. (2007). Why does affect matter in organizations? Academy of Management Perspectives, 21, 36-59.
Mayer, John. “What Emotional Intelligence Is and Is Not.” Psychology Today. N.p., 2009. Web. 22 Jan. 2016.
“What is Emotional Intelligence?” Psychology Today. Retrieved March 4, 2016, from


Published 16th May 2016