Emotional Intelligence Can Make Your Career

How much of an impact does Emotional Intelligence have on your career?

The research says (in a nutshell) ‘a lot!’

Decades of research has been pointing to high emotional intelligence as the critical factor that sets high performers apart from their colleagues. Numerous studies of top performers in the workplace have found that 90% of these high performing individuals are also high in emotional intelligence.

Another fascinating finding is that people with a high degree of emotional intelligence make more money (quite a bit more money actually) at an average of $39,385 more per year than people with a low degree of emotional intelligence. The link between emotional intelligence and salary is so direct that every EQ point increase in emotional intelligence adds $1,765 to an annual salary. These findings have been found to be true for people in all industries, at all job levels, in every region of the world.

Interestingly, a recent Career Builder Survey covering over 2600 Hiring Managers and Human Resource Managers found:

  • 71% value emotional intelligence over an employee’s IQ
  • 75% more likely to promote an employee with high emotional intelligence
  • 59% would pass up a candidate with high IQ but low emotional intelligence

So, with that in mind, you might be asking yourself; what exactly is emotional intelligence and what does it look like?

There are a range of definitions, but one I like is the GENOS definition which states:

Emotional intelligence is the ability to; perceive, understand, express, reason with, and, manage emotions within oneself and others.

Importantly, when applied at work, emotional intelligence is about how intelligently you use emotions to get positive results.

There are a range of models and frameworks which articulate the range of emotionally intelligent competencies, however when you read through the scientific literature, they can all be covered by the following:

1. Noticing and understanding emotions in oneself.

This involves the ability to understand one’s deep emotions and to be able to express them naturally. A person with high ability in this area will be better than most people in sensing and acknowledging his or her emotions.

2. Noticing and understanding emotions in others.

This relates to the ability to perceive and understand emotions in other people. A person with high ability in this area will be better than most people at noticing and understanding other people’s emotions.

3. Effective regulation of emotion in oneself.

This involves the ability to effectively deal with one’s own emotions. A person with high capability in this aspect will be better than most people in preventing his or her emotions from automatically influencing his behaviour. For instance, when a person with high emotion regulation skills experiences anger, he will be able to manage the anger in such a way that he does not say or do anything that he may regret.

4. Using emotions to facilitate performance.

This relates to the ability to make use of emotions by directing them toward constructive activities and personal performance. A person who is highly capable in this aspect is able to encourage him- or herself to continuously do better. He or she is able to direct his or her emotions in positive and productive directions

Emotionally intelligent competencies are elements of human behaviour that are different from your intellect. From all the research to date, there is no known connection between IQ and emotional intelligence. What this means, is that you cannot predict emotional intelligence based on how smart someone is.

Intelligence is your ability to learn, and regardless of how many facts and figures you learn, your IQ is the same at age 15 as it is at age 50. Emotional intelligence, on the other hand, is a flexible set of skills that can be acquired and improved with practice. Although some people are naturally more emotionally intelligent than others, anyone can develop a high level of emotional intelligence if they want to.

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