03/11/2014 03:12 pm ET Updated May 10, 2014

How Would Others Describe You? Intelligent, Emotionally Intelligent or Both?

When we think of how others perceive us, the tendency is to think about the things we say and whether we appear smart or knowledgeable. However, our perceptions of other people are more rooted in emotion than intellect. So what does that mean for team members and leaders who want to be seen as competent, effective, and high-performing?

Emotional Intelligence is critical in dealing with co-workers and engaging in high-performance.

Those who are successful in the workplace often have high EQs. In fact, just being aware of one's emotional intelligence can be valuable to workplace performance. A person's EQ is determined by a number of traits, including:

• Being aware of, understanding, accepting and respecting yourself.
• Expressing feelings non-destructively.
• Having the drive to set and to achieve personal goals
• Being aware of, understanding and appreciating the perspectives of others.
• Establishing mutually satisfying relationships.
• Effectively and constructively managing your emotions.
• Being able to size up a situation accurately, to adjust emotions and thoughts on the spot and to solve problems.

A person's emotional quotient is not a fixed number that stays with a person forever. That said, if you want to learn about EQ and suspect you could increase your own emotional intelligence, here are a few tips:

Take advantage of research. Daniel Goleman's, "Working with Emotional Intelligence." and "Primal Leadership" are sequels to his original work on the same subject. Both include analyses by dozens of experts in Fortune 500 corporations, government agencies and nonprofit organizations worldwide who conclude that emotional intelligence is the gauge of excellence on virtually any job. Real-life examples demonstrate lessons learned from business-world successes and failures.

Be aware of how others perceive you. So much of what you communicate is through nonverbal cues such as tone of voice, gesture and facial expressions. Your demeanor is likely the initial impression that customers, clients and co-workers have of you when you're meeting for the first time. Any interaction you have with anyone, regardless of whether it's the first or 1,000th time, will include others' assessment of your nonverbal communication.

Commit to improvement. You can improve your emotional intelligence only if you choose to do so and then make the commitment to tackle areas for growth. A coach can be particularly useful in this process. An effective coaching intervention includes a method of obtaining accurate feedback about how others experience you. It takes work, but the improvement to your personal development is well worth the effort.

Your Emotional Intelligence is an undeniably important facet of what makes you valuable, what makes a business relationship work and what keeps customers coming back. Mastering your emotions at work and improving your rapport with colleagues are smart ways to increase your chance for business success.