There’s an expression floating around that your IQ get’s you hired, and your EQ( emotional intelligence) gets you fired. Today we are all experiencing that work is changing and the work rules have changed. There is a considerable workplace shift taking place, and it has to do with our emotions and how we manage them. Today emotional intelligence is good for your career, noting the benefits are impressive. Soft skills, such as listening, communication, empathy, are changing corporate America’s landscape and are the foundation for emotional intelligence.

I know this because I have personally seen the shift take place before my very eyes. I started speaking to corporate clients back in early 2000, and there was no place for “soft skills,” let alone a discussion on emotions in the workplace. When we talked about leadership back in 2005, leadership and career advancement focused on essential business skills, the “hard skills,” such as managing budgets, strategic planning, monitoring quality measures, and thinking strategically. Today business skills are still important, however, soft skills lead the way for growing your emotional intelligence and growing your career.

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Daniel Goldman popularized the concept of Emotional Intelligence bringing it into the workplace in 1998 with his book Working with Emotional Intelligence. Goldman stating that emotional intelligence is the ability to manage our emotions and the emotions of others. In other words, It’s not what happens that matters but how you respond to it that counts. His best-selling books, beginning with “Emotional Intelligence” (1995)  changed how many businesses interact with their employees and clients. 

The career benefits of emotional intelligence

The value and benefits of emotional intelligence are widespread in terms of personal and professional career success. Here are several.

Make more money

New TalentSmart® research shows that the road to higher income relies on the quality of your relationships. People earn more money as they become more emotionally intelligent. The study shows that people with high emotional intelligence levels earn an average of $29,000 more annually than those with less emotional intelligence.

Increased customer satisfaction

Research shows that those with high EQ outperform in terms of client satisfaction, have lower turnover, and are responsible for 34% greater profit growth.

Better communications

People with high emotional intelligence speak clearly and respectfully. Because they are more connected to others, emotionally intelligent people can calmly react, give appropriate feedback to the situation, and achieve a better engagement in the whole communication process.

More productive

People with high EQ can manage themselves and know how to help others settle down and focus. Their skills allow them to solve problems and manage conflict more efficiently. Consequently, they are more productive in their work behavior and enable others to do the same.

Better managers

EQ is a determining factor in a manager’s ability to lead their team successfully. They can stay calm in the face of the highly emotional reactions of others. They can influence others to solve problems more effectively. Managers with high EQ build stronger relationships with their employees that, in turn, make them more engaged and productive in their work.

Higher retention

Recent research found that as many as 70% of employees are encouraged to stay at their company for five years or longer when their manager leads with emotional intelligence.

Can you increase your emotional intelligence?

Fortunately, you can learn to improve these emotional intelligence skills. Daniel Goleman suggests that there are five components of emotional intelligence. By working on and increasing these skills, you can become more emotionally intelligent.

1. Self -Awareness:

You can’t change what you don’t see, and you can’t help others until you figure out your own emotions. Self-aware individuals also recognize the relationships between the things they feel and how they behave.

Self-aware individuals can recognize their own strengths and weaknesses, are open to new ideas and new experiences, and continually learn from their interactions with others. Goleman suggests that people who possess self-awareness have a good sense of humor, are confident in themselves and their abilities, and know-how other people perceive them. The best ways to grow your self-awareness are asking for feedback, paying attention to your thoughts and feelings, and continuing to reflect on your experiences with others.

2. Self-Regulating:

Once you are aware of your own emotions and their impact on others, the next step is self-regulation. It’s time to manage your own emotions. This doesn’t mean you have to stuff your thoughts and hide your feelings; it simply means waiting for the right time and place to express them appropriately. People who can regulate their emotions are more adaptable to change. They are flexible and are good at managing conflict by defusing tension and challenging situations.

Goleman also suggests that those with strong self-regulation skills are high in conscientiousness. They are thoughtful about how they influence others, and they take responsibility for their actions.

3. Social Skills

Having the ability to interact with others is key to developing your social skills. Having strong social skills allows people to build meaningful relationships as they understand themselves and others. This is the action step going deeper into accurate emotional intelligence. It’s the next step: Once you know your own emotions, you put that information to work in your daily interactions with others. The social skills include active listening, verbal communications, non-verbal communications, persuasiveness, and a touch of humor.

4. Empathy:

They say that empathy allows you to walk in someone else’s shoes. Empathy is the ability to relate to and understand how others are feeling. The action behind empathy is your response to people based on how you sense their emotions.

I recently learned a lot more about empathy while working with a hospital in the Houston area. As you well know, hospitals and their employees are going through tremendous stress right now with all of the Covid cases. They asked me to do a Managing Stress program through Renewal, and I had the opportunity to interview several of the hospital’s leaders. One of the intensive care nursing leaders shared that her team was highly stressed. The best way to help them was to bring them into her office, where she had a chalkboard with words such as overwhelmed, frustrated, defeated, helpless, and concerned.…and she would have them circle the word they were feeling. Then they would talk about that emotion. She was connecting and expressing empathy. She said she was helping her team dial down their emotions. She practiced tremendous empathy.

5. Motivation

There are two types of motivation; Intrinsic motivation comes from within, while extrinsic motivation comes from outside. Intrinsic motivation comes from enjoyment and personal satisfaction in doing an activity, while extrinsic motivation arises from outside, such as fame, success, money, acclaim. Those with emotional intelligence are intrinsically motivated and have the energy and passion for fulfilling their inner needs and goals. Intrinsic motivators seek internal rewards and personal satisfaction from being in tune with their motivators. They set goals, have a high demand for achievement, and always look for ways to do better. They also tend to be very committed and are good at taking the initiative.

Why is it important to develop your leader’s emotional intelligence?

“The most effective leaders are all alike in one crucial way: they all have a high degree of what has come to be known as emotional intelligence. It’s not that IQ and technical skills are irrelevant. They do matter, but. they are the entry-level requirements for executive positions. My research and other recent studies clearly show that emotional intelligence is the sine qua non of leadership. Without it, a person can have the best training in the world, an incisive, analytical mind, and an endless supply of smart ideas, but he still won’t make a great leader.”

Daniel Goleman from his Harvard Business Review article “What Makes a Leader”

Your IQ will get you hired, and your EQ might get you fired!

The” hard skills” like your technical skills are still important, however, if you want to advance, you must tap into your emotional intelligence. Emotional intelligence is the piece that helps you successfully coach teams, manage stress, deliver feedback, and collaborate with others.

In his research at nearly 200 large, global companies, Daniel Goleman found that truly effective leaders are distinguished by a high degree of emotional intelligence. Without it, a person can have the best education, a brilliant mind, and an endless supply of good ideas, and consequently, he still not be a great leader. His research found direct ties between emotional intelligence and measurable business results. Leaders set the tone of their organization.

If leaders lack emotional intelligence, it could have far-reaching consequences, resulting in lower employee engagement and a higher turnover rate.  Recent research found that as many as 70% of employees are encouraged to stay at their company for five years or longer when their manager leads with emotional intelligence.

Emotional intelligence and Millennials

Leaders with high emotional intelligence will attract and keep your top performers. Today Millennials (born 1980-1997) comprise 50% of the US workforce. When Millennials entered the workplace, they brought their smartphones, social media, and emotions with them. Millennial professionals are highly ambitious. They also have a reputation for job-hopping their way toward careers that provide personal meaning: If Millennials do not feel they are being seen, heard, or appreciated by their manager’s they move on.

In 2017, the Levo Institute polled millennials on their career development’s key elements, including the factors they credit with their personal growth. About 80% of survey respondents indicated emotional intelligence as something they actively focus on developing their careers. Also, 87% of millennials revealed a strong connection between their motivation to help the company succeed and its leaders’ emotional intelligence. When employees feel respected, understood, and valued, you’ve created an environment they won’t want to leave.

Why is Emotional Intelligence important now more than ever?

Many of us are living in the COVID era of anxiety, stress, burnout, and uncertainty. A new survey by Mental Health America reported that 75% of workers had experienced burnout, with 40% saying it was directly due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Soft skills and emotional intelligence have never been more essential than they are now. Working remotely combined with social distancing means that workplace interactions occur via phone, email, chat, or video calls. Emotional intelligence skills are essential to creating a positive learning environment and a more fulfilled life.