Whether you're the type of person who wears your feelings on your sleeve or you bottle them up until they explode, your ability to manage emotions impacts your ability to lead. Many argue emotional intelligence (EI) is even more important than IQ. Some researchers estimate EI accounts for as much as 75 percent of a person's ability to succeed.  

This is why so many managers abide by the old saying, "Hire for personality; train for skill."

It's also why more organizations are implementing training programs specifically to address this. ?

You've probably heard this term tossed around at leadership development seminars, or strewn across the covers of books in the self-help section. But what does it really mean? How is it measured? And is there anything you can do to improve EI?

Here's what you need to know.

What is Emotional Intelligence?

Emotional intelligence is the ability to identify and manage your emotions, as well as the ability to recognize and influence the emotions of others. It's also defined as the balance between the emotional and rational parts of your brain.

EI is composed of four core skills under two primary competencies, according to Travis Bradberry, co-founder of TalentSmart and author of bestselling book "Emotional Intelligence 2.0".

1. Personal Competence

a.     Self Awareness: Recognizing your emotions as they build.

b.     Self Management: Using awareness of your emotions to control your behavior.

2. Social Competence

a.     Social Awareness: Perceiving others' emotions.

b.     Relationship Management: Using awareness of others' emotions to manage interactions.

As a business leader, emotional intelligence can help you keep your emotions in check and identify when your team members are frustrated, burnt out, dissatisfied, or feeling other emotions that could impact their work.

And the higher your EI, the more likely you are to be successful in the workplace. In his research, Bradberry found high emotional intelligence among 90 percent of top performers, but only 20 percent of bottom performers.

How Do You Determine Emotional Intelligence?

While the process for measuring a person's IQ is relatively straightforward, developing an accurate assessment of someone's emotional quotient (EQ) is a bit trickier and generally requires an honest self-evaluation. For example, Bradberry's test asks questions about things like: