Emotional Intelligence & Your Career Success

Many studies have been conducted on the factors that lead to career success. Are individuals with more education, high intelligence, or extensive training more likely to rise in their chosen career and ultimately become more successful? Research suggests that one of the most critical factors in performance and overall career success is not education or training, it is Emotional Intelligence.

What is Emotional Intelligence? And can someone who lacks it still succeed in their career? We examine those questions today.

Emotional Intelligence & Your Career

What is Emotional Intelligence?

Emotional Intelligence (EI) consists of the ways we manage behaviour, navigate social complexities, and make personal decisions that achieve positive results.

EI consists of four core skills under two competencies: personal competence and social competence.

Personal Competence = the ability to stay aware of emotions and manage behaviours and tendencies.

Social Competence = the ability to understand other people’s moods, behaviour, and motives to respond effectively and improve the quality of your relationship.

The following chart outlines the four core skills of Emotional Intelligence (please see below for a text description of the chart):

Personal Competence:

Self Awareness – The ability to accurately perceive emotions and stay aware of them as they happen

Self Management – The ability to use awareness of your emotions to stay flexible and positively direct your behaviour

Social Competence:

Social Awareness – The ability to accurately pick up on emotions in other people and understand what’s going on

Relationship Management – Using awareness of emotions and other’s emotions to manage interactions successfully

Emotional Intelligence & Your Career

Individuals that have a high Emotional Intelligence are reported as being 90% of the top performers in the workplace. Having a high EI means being better at things such as:

  • Teamwork
  • Communication
  • Expressing empathy
  • Trusting others
  • Time management
  • Decision making

The qualities listed above are also known as ‘soft skills’.

These are the types of skills that employers look for when hiring new candidates because they greatly affect the work environment. A candidate can be taught a new program but if they can’t work well in a team they may not be hired as they will not fit well within the company environment.

Soft skills are in high demand therefore individuals with higher EI and better ‘soft skills’ are more likely to be chosen for a job and more likely to excel in their chosen field.

What if I Have a Low Emotional Intelligence?

Don’t worry!

You can improve your EI with practice. There is no connection between IQ and EI. A person’s ability to learn facts stays at the same level no matter what age they are but someone’s EI can grow at any time!

By repeatedly practicing new behaviours  your brain will build pathways to make them into habits.

Psychology Today has developed a list of ‘6 Ways to Increase your Emotional Intelligence‘:

  1. Reduce negative emotions
  2. Stay cool and manage stress
  3. Be assertive and express difficult emotions when necessary
  4. Stay proactive, not reactive in the face of a difficult person
  5. Bounce back from adversity
  6. Express intimate emotions in close, personal relationships

Studies show Emotional Intelligence predicts performance. With the help of the steps above everyone can work towards a higher EI and succeed in their chosen career path!