While conventional intelligence and technical know-how are both important assets in the modern job market, they don’t form the whole picture. In our remote world, “soft skills” like communication and team building may actually matter more than ever. Three decades ago in 1990, a group of soft skills were given the collective name of “emotional intelligence” by psychology professors John D. Mayer and Peter Salovey.
According to them, emotional intelligence consists of “the ability to accurately perceive your own and others’ emotions; to understand the signals that emotions send about relationships; and to manage your own and others’ emotions.” Later definitions expanded on this core concept to include empathy and motivation. Individuals with high emotional intelligence are able to both play on and lead teams effectively.
Good relationship skills - a subset of emotional intelligence - make people better leaders. According to Daniel Goleman,
“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.”
Later studies back Goleman up; emotional intelligence is linked to up to 60% of performance metrics for supervisors and executives. Emotionally intelligent leaders increase employee engagement through lower turnover, higher productivity, and improved guest/customer satisfaction. Positive outcomes on these dimensions, especially in the service industry, increases one’s reputation and compensation. A single point increase in emotional intelligence spells an increase of up to $1,300 in additional annual income.
For some people, skills of emotional intelligence come naturally. These people are social and empathetic by nature. For others, self-awareness and self-control require a great deal of practice. Just like conventional intelligence, certain people possess a starting advantage on the emotional intelligence front.
Yet that doesn’t mean all is lost for those who lack a natural disposition. Anyone can learn to practice better emotional intelligence. Growing one’s emotional intelligence means following 2 key steps: understanding your feelings and monitoring your reactions. Easier said than done, but finding a mentor or journaling your thoughts after each day can help identify emotional patterns. Remember: it will benefit your career.