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One Thing the Boss Appreciates More Than Being Smart

Monday, 22 Aug 2011 | 2:57 PM ET

Being smart certainly gives you an edge in business. But there’s one thing the boss appreciates more than a high IQ.

Lane Oatey | Getty Images

It’s not being a snappy dresser. Or having a killer instinct. (Though, those things certainly can’t hurt.)

It’s being able to hold it together, no matter what the job — or the economy — throws at you.

Seventy-one percent of employers said they value “emotional intelligence” over IQ, according to a recent survey by CareerBuilder. Emotional intelligence is defined as being able to control your emotions, understand and react to others’ emotions and manage relationships.

The biggest reason employers value emotional intelligence is because those are the employees who are most likely to stay calm under pressure. And that’s become even more important since the recession.

The philosophy on Wall Street is if you can’t run with the big dogs, get back on the porch. The financial crisis really drew that line on the lawn. A lot of investors cowered, but the big dogs toughed it out, and even looked around for buying opportunities. You didn’t see Warren Buffett scurrying back to the porch.

“In a recovering economy, employers want people who can effectively make decisions in stressful situations and can empathize with the needs of their colleagues and clients to deliver the best results,” said Rosemary Haefner, vice president of human resources at CareerBuilder.

EI is so important, 59 percent of hiring managers said they would not hire someone who had a high IQ if they had low emotional intelligence. And 75 percent said they were more likely to promote a person with high EI than one with a high IQ.

So, while this market will surely test your patience and your endurance, make you want to throw your hands up in the air and scream, “Whyyyyyyyy?,” remember that no one ever got ahead by losing it.

Don’t get angry and pound your chest like a Neanderthal. Don’t act like a pre-teen girl at a Justin Bieber sighting. Channel your inner Buffett and remember his sage advice: “Look at market fluctuations as your friend rather than your enemy; profit from folly rather than participate in it.”

Seriously, dude, hold it together.

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  • Cindy Perman is a writer at CNBC.com, covering jobs, real estate, retirement and personal finance.

  • Based in Los Angeles, Jane Wells is a CNBC business news reporter and also writes the Funny Business blog for CNBC.com.

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