When it comes to performance in the workplace, there are two categories of competencies (or abilities): threshold and distinguishing.
Threshold competencies are the abilities required to carry out the bare minimum requirements of a job; think of these as the baseline qualifications. IQ (cognitive ability) is a threshold competency.
Distinguishing competencies go beyond the baseline; these are what separate the exceptional performers from the average. Emotional Intelligence competencies fall under this category.
When Daniel Goleman, Ph.D., one of the leading experts on Emotional Intelligence, surveyed organizations' competency models to understand what qualities and abilities led to an individual getting hired, promoted, and generally succeeding in the workplace, he found EQ was twice as important as IQ.
When he evaluated leadership positions, he found the higher up in the organization an individual was, the more their success in their role relied on strong EQ skills over strong cognitive skills.
In fact, when looking at C-suite roles, he found that “80 to 90%, sometimes 100%, of the competencies that organizations independently determined to set apart their star leaders were based on emotional intelligence.” (from “Emotional Intelligence Competencies: An Introduction” by Daniel Goleman, 2017)
The takeaway? To grow your career and be an effective leader, Emotional Intelligence is REQUIRED.