People with high emotional intelligence quotients (EQ) are easy to talk with. They are great listeners and strong communicators in both the written and spoken word. People with high EQ know who they are and are the ones that can resolve conflicts before they escalate beyond repair. These people regulate their reactions to everyday work situations and can keep their cool no matter what comes their way. Often modest and unassuming, high EQ contributors are priceless to a business. Indeed, they should be leveraged to gain an advantage in the marketplace.

Here's how high EQ team members can make a difference in your business:

1. Their empathy improves communications: Someone that can put themselves in someone else's shoes tends to have a knack of breaking through with others and can quickly establish an open and honest dialogue. Whether dealing with co-workers or customers, this skill is invaluable in any work setting.

2. Their ability to handle pressure improves business outcomes: Staying cool, calm and collected when things go south, as they sometimes do, enables an individual to do the thinking and perform the work required to get the job done. High EQ professionals possess a grace under pressure that separates them from their more "hot headed" peers.

3. Their tact improves trust in the workplace: Diplomacy is a skill worth developing. It comes naturally to high EQ people. A delicate touch breeds trust among others and the thoughtfulness and the discretion demonstrated by someone who is tactful is often rewarded by increased thoughtfulness and the discretion in return.

4. Their adaptability improves collaboration: High EQ team members are highly adaptable and this adaptability improves their chances of being accepted by others. Once accepted, these folks can spark the cooperation needed to drive winning solutions through collaborative efforts with their colleagues.

5. Their engaging personality improves team performance: Teamwork is enhanced when all of the players are engaged and working towards the achievement the same outcomes. High EQ teammates inspire others to do their best.

6. Their ability to influence others improves leadership capabilities within the business: High EQ people are often seen as natural born leaders. This is so because of their ability to influence others. Cultivating and developing high EQ talent enables a business to establish the leadership needed to set direction and manage change well into the future.

To close, these are just a few of the ways that emotional intelligence can be used as a strategic differentiator in the marketplace. Clearly, firms should begin to seek out people that have a naturally high EQ and invest in the training and development needed to improve the EQ of their entire staff. As outlined, a high EQ workforce can separate a business from its competitors. Please reach out to me directly for more ideas on extending the EQ of your workforce. As always, I am here to help.