Have you ever wondered why some people seem to get ahead in business and get a better salary when they aren’t the most educated or maybe the most qualified? What is it that “it” factor that seems to make some people just sore to the top, somewhat regardless of expertise or background? The answer: “emotional intelligence.”
As it turns out, a single point increase in emotional intelligence brings up to 1,300 dollars in additional annual income, and the vast majority of the most valuable employees exhibit high emotional intelligence. In fact, only 10% of these employees lack emotional intelligence.
Emotional intelligence builds the foundation for career success as those who possess it also tend to have better connections with co-workers and employers; they have a natural propensity to lead; and they tend to be more content with their career decisions. It’s also proven that those with high emotional intelligence are 7x more likely to be effective leaders. Emotional intelligence leads to a confidence that allows people to feel more comfortable with varying cultural experiences; they stay with one organization longer; they aren’t bitter toward their bosses, and they subsequently are more likely to get raises and promotions.
One recent study finds that emotional intelligence is a stronger predictor of salary than both age and gender.
What is Emotional Intelligence?
So, what is emotional intelligence exactly? The phrase was first introduced by psychology professors, John D. Mayer and Peter Salovey, in their 1990 research paper on the topic. To quote Professor Mayer, it is “the ability to accurately perceive your own and others’ emotions; to understand the signals that emotions send about relationships; and to manage your own and others’ emotions.”
The breakdown of that definition looks like this: Emotionally intelligent people are self-aware;
- They understand their talents and their shortcomings, and they take responsibility for them.
- Emotionally intelligent people have the ability to self-regulate; they are aware of their emotions, but emotions don’t dictate their responses.
- Empathy for others; they can see how others might feel in a situation and they understand the repercussions of their actions toward others.
- Excellent social skills; they are well-liked and cooperative.
- They’re full of motivation to keep moving toward improvement regardless of the difficulties.
These characteristics result in a person who owns up to their shortcomings, and knows how to ask for help. They aren’t prone to emotional outbursts, regardless of their feelings in the moment. They’re considerate toward others. They are great team members, and communicate effectively in diverse groups. They ask for feedback and accept constructive criticism with grace. This is what makes them the people who advance their careers. They’re reliable, personable, and adaptable.
Emotional intelligence is also linked to up to 60% of performance metrics for supervisors and executives. Leaders that excel at increasing employee engagement. Their employees stay longer, they’re businesses are more productive, and their customers are satisfied. Another example of their success is in the restaurant business. Restaurant managers with high emotional intelligence generate 34% more profits than their peers. They also tend to keep employees longer and their customers are happy to return.
EI Skills and How to Develop Them
Although some people are more naturally inclined to have emotionally intelligent characteristics, these skills can be learned by anyone. Two of the most important aspects of growing emotional intelligence are understanding your own feelings and monitoring your reactions. Take the time to recognize your own emotions during difficult situations, and think about how much your feelings are playing a part in your reactions. If you find your reactions tend to be more emotionally guided, begin taking a break or time to calm down before you respond in these situations.
In a society that is progressively driven by emotions, it can be even more difficult to find balance and inner peace, both of which will help individuals to succeed both personally and professionally. Finding a mentor has shown to be effective in growing emotional intelligence, and keeping a journal can help to better identify emotions and reflect on the day in a moment of clarity.
No matter how knowledgeable or experienced you are, and no matter your IQ, emotional intelligence is still the key to finding career success, life success, and general satisfaction and contentment.