Emotional intelligence (EI) is often linked to high performance. In fact, a recent survey found that 90% of top performers have high emotional intelligence. On top of that, people who are highly emotionally intelligent tend to feel more satisfied in their roles and have higher-paying jobs.
All in all, EI seems like a recipe for success, both for employers who are looking for high-achieving employees and for your own career progression. But how exactly can emotional intelligence help you to progress in your career?
In essence, emotional intelligence underlies many of the key skills you need to successfully develop your career. Here’s how EI supports them:
1. Direction & drive
The more aware you are of your strengths and goals, the better equipped you are to spot and seek out opportunities that will help you get ahead in your career. When someone is emotionally intelligent, they pay attention to how they feel in different situations so they are more aware of what gives them energy and helps them find flow, where their strengths are and what they enjoy – they have clear visibility of what they want to focus on. Having that understanding of where you want to go will also work as a motivator, helping you push through challenges and continue developing those key skills you need to reach your career goals.
2. Coping with challenges
Working life is full of challenges – big and small. For example, you may receive negative feedback on a project you’ve worked on or have to deal with conflict among colleagues. Your success in the workplace will depend on how well you manage these situations. EI plays a key role in your ability to acknowledge and not blindly act on your emotions. The space EI provides allows you to carefully consider your nascent reactions and choose to handle challenging situations gracefully and positively. In turn, these behaviours will help you to become a better performer and establish a positive reputation.
3. Collaboration skills
Being able to collaborate well with your colleagues is crucial if you want to get ahead in your career. Emotional intelligence plays a big part in making sure those connections are positive. It’s as much about managing how you come across to others as it is about acknowledging the emotions of those you work with, being able to see things from their perspective and noticing when someone may need help.
4. Influencing skills
Being able to influence others is a key skill across many different roles, from advertising to sales, as well as something employers look for in leaders and managers. Being a good influencer means you can convince people and bring them on a journey with you. To do this you need to be empathetic to other people’s situations, perspectives and feelings and you need to know how to communicate your vision in a way that will resonate with others. In other words, you need to be emotionally intelligent.
5. Leadership skills
The ability to clearly communicate, to inspire, influence, encourage, trust and get the best out of people are all key leadership skills and all of them are connected to emotional intelligence. The more you display these skills, the more likely you are to be noticed for leadership roles, whether it’s your manager encouraging you to apply for an internal role or someone in your wider network alerting you to an opportunity they think you’d be perfect for.
When it comes to career progression, emotional intelligence is crucial every step of the way; from figuring out your direction and motivating yourself to building strong relationships with those around you and establishing a positive reputation through your ability to collaborate, influence, deal with challenges and lead others.