Emotional intelligence, the ability to identify and control emotions in oneself and others, has gained much attention recently. With the increasing automation and offshoring of jobs that don’t require much human interaction, emotional intelligence will be become even more important as time passes. Although not everyone is a natural at understanding or regulating emotions, emotional intelligence (EI) can be developed through training. Some major characteristics of emotionally intelligent people:
Individuals with high emotional intelligence can easily understand what others are feeling, whether it be an angry customer or frustrated coworker. For most people, it’s hard to empathize in a lot of situations. However, empathy is crucial in customer-facing or leadership positions. In order to develop your ability to empathize, you have to first be able to listen and understand. Hear the other person out, acknowledge their problems and ask yourself what you would want if you were in their shoes. This process may be subconscious for those with high EI, but will take special effort for others.
Understanding the audience and environment, and adjusting your actions accordingly can transform your career. A sales professional that knows how to speak to each client will develop stronger bonds and make more sales. Although social skills are particularly beneficial in sales or customer oriented roles, they are useful to everyone striving for career advancement. While it may seem that some people have it and others don’t, social awareness can be developed through practice. Observe those that are naturally gifted with social awareness and ask for advice or feedback on your own behavior.
External motivations only work temporarily or intermittently, but self-motivation pushes us forward even when things aren’t easy. Therefore, self-motivation is an essential quality of successful people. As with other EI traits, motivation comes more naturally to some people. But we’re all self-motivated under the right conditions, so work to find a career with intrinsic rewards and you’ll experience improved motivation.
No matter where you work or which field you choose, change is inevitable. The ability to adapt and be open to change is a huge factor in success. Technology advances at a rapid pace, and those unwilling to embrace change will be left behind. How can you be more comfortable with change? First, start learning new things on your own by taking up a new hobby or researching an interesting topic. Learning doesn’t end with graduation, and your brain will be primed take in new information if it’s continually facing new concepts.
For more information, read Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ