Emotional Intelligence and Job Success

The first time I came across the term “emotional intelligence” (EI) in connection with the work world, I thought, “What?” Shows how much I know–or knew then, anyway. Since that time, I’ve been reading more about the concept and have found it quite interesting and informative. Although there are probably a gazillion articles published about the topic, you can get a good sense of what it involves and what it could mean to your job success by reading just a few of them. I encourage you to spend at least a few minutes doing that in the near future.

Emotional Intelligence Makes Better Leaders

One of the most recent articles I read about emotional intelligence, “Secret Weapon: How to Strengthen the Most Valuable Job Skill” by Amanda Ebokosia, provides some enlightening and potentially useful information about EI. In doing so, Ebokosia also references an analysis conducted by Virginia Commonwealth University and mentions Daniel Goleman, author of Emotional Intelligence. These are good sources of information, but you don’t have to read the full university study or Goleman’s entire book to get some sense of what they’re saying.

How does emotional intelligence make better leaders? You might not plan to be a leader–some people are perfectly happy and well suited to being followers, and after all, leaders need to have followers or they’re not leaders. However, even non-leaders could benefit from learning how emotional intelligence can help with job success.

Here’s what the article has to say about it (based on the VCU study): “For managers or senior executives, high EI usually corresponds with a good job performance. For employees it often leads to better decision-making abilities, job satisfaction and completion of goals….Leaders with good EI gain the benefits of creating a harmonious work environment while boosting job performance among staff.”

What is EI?

Ebokosia references Goleman’s belief that EI consists of five primary domains:

  • Empathy
  • Motivation
  • Self-regulate
  • Social skills
  • Self-awareness

One of these concepts that I found particularly interesting was self-regulate. (The nit-picker in me notes that it should really say self-regulation to fit the noun form of the other four terms.) If you’re a leader or aspiring to be one, this concept could be critical. It’s not enough to behave well when someone is more or less forcing you to do that. You need to be able to control your own behavior–both your thoughts and your actions–and make them work for you in a constructive way.

As the article indicates, while it’s true that good leaders can “buckle under pressure and have breakdowns,” it’s also true that “a person with high EI and control over their emotions can effectively find solutions and operate with clarity.”

Emotional Intelligence Matters to Job Success

Before you dismiss this as “touchy-feely” stuff that doesn’t pertain to you, I urge you to look further into the subject. Emotions and their related actions have long been proven to have a potentially huge impact–positively or negatively–on what you experience and how the things you do affect those around you. EI is certainly relevant in that context. If you understand it and incorporate awareness of it into the steps you take going forward in your job and career, job success could be more certain for you than it has been in the past–at least as certain as anything can be in the world today!

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