Emotional Intelligence (EI) is “the ability to manage one’s own emotions and perceive others’ feeling.” While many people put a great value on a high intellectual intelligence (IQ), the importance of emotional intelligence is being more widely supported. In fact, Daniel Goleman, the leading research specialist on EI has found that EI is just as important to career success as IQ. According to the University of Consulting Alliance, Goleman found 67% of all abilities associated with professional success are related to EI.
Understanding and developing your emotional intelligence can have a positive effect on both your career as well as your personal relationships. What is more, if you strive to be an effective leader EI is even more important. Being able to understand your own emotions and pick up on the emotional cues of others comes more naturally to some than others. That’s why more and more businesses are investing in developing the EI of their employees, but you don’t need to be an employee at a large company to receive support in this area. There are also many free EI assessments available online.
In order to better develop your EI, it’s important to have a thorough understanding of its main components. According to the Association for Talent Development, the four main skills of emotional intelligence are as follows:
- Self-awareness – our ability to perceive our emotions and understand our tendencies to act in certain ways in given situations
- Social awareness – our ability to understand the emotions of other people (what others are thinking and feeling)
- Self-management – our ability to use awareness of our emotions to stay flexible and direct our behavior positively and constructively
- Relationship management – our ability to use our awareness of our own emotions and those of others to manage interactions successfully.
While people have varying degrees of emotional intelligence, there are many actions you can take to increase your emotional intelligence. Just like a muscle you strengthen at the gym, you can learn to reprogram your brain with new emotional intelligence skills.
Forbes shared some of these strategies.
- First, try to better understand your own emotions. For instance, if you have a negative association with a particular emotion, like anger, you may try to block yourself from feeling it. Understanding this weakness can help you work on dealing with this.
- Second, try to better understand how the people around you feel. In life, especially in business, people are often scared to share their emotions. Understanding how others feel and allowing them to do so without judgment is important to successful relationships.
- Finally, try to gain a better understanding of your relationship strategies. Do you lean towards collaboration or prefer to work on your own? Either approach can be appropriate depending on the situation, but it’s important to take the time to understand why you are taking a particular strategy.
Understanding how to deal with the emotions of yourself and others is a critical skill. The concept of emotional intelligence is becoming increasingly important in the business world, and research supports its link to success. By taking the time to increase your EI, you can create more meaningful and productive relationships around you in both your personal and professional life.