Emotional Intelligence and How It Affects Your Career

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Emotional Intelligence is a hot term in business right now, and quite rightly so. No matter how educated you are, if you don’t have high EI levels, you’re simply not going to reach your full potential in business and in your personal life.

© Joe Shlabotnik
© Joe Shlabotnik

So What Is It?


© Jason Devaun
© Jason Devaun


About Education describes emotional intelligence as;

“Emotional intelligence (EI) refers to the ability to perceive, control and evaluate emotions. Some researchers suggest that emotional intelligence can be learned and strengthened, while others claim it is an inborn characteristic.”

So basically, it’s all about how you behave around others, how you interact with them, how aware of your emotions you are and how well you are able to control them.



Why Does It Matter?


© Denise P.S.
© Denise P.S.

It’s all related to emotional management. Do you struggle to empathise with other people? Do you struggle to keep calm in stressful situations? When you are completing sales tasks is your approach completely one sided, with no awareness of the person you’re pitching to?


In life, not only being aware of our emotions but being able to manage them effectively really matters. It’s the difference between being a valued friend who is able to see another’s point of view and empathise with it even if they don’t agree with it, and being a friend who consistently acts in an insensitive and ignorant way. It is the difference between a team leader who actively treats their team members as individuals, dealing with issues and conflicts with tact and sensitivity, and a team leader who barks orders and sees any signs of weakness as setbacks.


How Will It Affect My Career?


© stockmonkeys.com
© stockmonkeys.com

Think about the people you admire in the workplace. The people who listen really well, the people who always seem to know what to say and how to say it, without offending or upsetting anyone. Colleagues or managers who are caring, considerate, who turn mistakes into lessons and learning curves, not reasons to feel bad or negative.


These people can manage their emotions well. They don’t get angry or stressed in high pressure situations. They can see issues or problems and work to find a solution. They trust the decisions they make and have the ability to self-reflect honestly.


All of these attributes belong to people with high emotional intelligence. They are not only the people businesses want to have working for them, they are the people others want to be friends with and work for.


EI is something companies consider when they hire someone. EI could be the difference between you getting the job and staying unemployed, the difference between you getting that new contract or not, the difference between you staying at entry level in your company, or working your way to the top. If you ask yourself honestly, when you read the descriptions of people with high EI in this article, wouldn’t you want to be more like that? Is it possible that your lack of emotional intelligence is the one thing that’s been keeping you from reaching your career goals?


I’m in! How Can I Improve my EI?


© gfpeck
© gfpeck


Key points for improving emotional intelligence are:

  • Become aware of how you react to others. Are you judgemental? Are you able to put yourself in another’s shoes? Be honest with yourself and question your interaction with others. Learn how to be more open and able to accept the needs, emotions and opinions of others.
  • Be honest with yourself. What are your strengths and weaknesses? What could you improve? How could you become the best version of yourself?
  • Keep calm. Do you find yourself blaming other people when things don’t go your way, even if they are not to blame? Do you quickly become stressed or upset when things go wrong? Being able to keep calm and controlled when things get tough is an incredible attribute to have in your personal and business life.
  • Learn to take responsibility. If you upset someone, apologise to them and acknowledge what you have done. If you make a mistake, own up and never blame it on others. Making an honest attempt to correct mistakes is a great attribute.
  • Think before you act. Consider how the things you do or say will affect other people. Try to put yourself in their place. If the actions you take are going to be negative, can you avoid taking those actions? If not, could you work to help lessen or reduce the negative effects of those actions?


The following videos and articles are really useful if you want to take further steps to improve your emotional intelligence;

Emotional Intelligence in Leadership

Leading with Emotional Intelligence in the Workplace

How Your EQ Is More Important than Your IQ

Take action today and improve your emotional intelligence, it is completely achievable and within your reach – you deserve to be the best version of yourself.

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