Emotional intelligence can be important to your career in many different ways. Those who score high on a scale measuring emotional intelligence make on average $29,000 more a year than those who don’t, so anything you can do to improve this trait could be worth hundreds of thousands of dollars over the course of your career.
Some people seem to be born with emotional intelligence, but fortunately, it is possible to develop the traits that make up this larger one. The first step is learning about emotional intelligence and determining your strengths and weaknesses in that area.
Emotional Intelligence: The Basics
The first step to emotional intelligence is self-awareness. Those who are self-aware understand their own thoughts and feelings, which gives them the information they need to know why they act the way they do in certain situations. Improving your emotional intelligence also starts with self-awareness because you can’t improve until you understand what’s going on in your mind and heart.
Self-awareness leads to social awareness, which is an understanding of other people’s thoughts and emotions. If you don’t understand why other people are doing what they’re doing, you will be at a disadvantage in figuring out how to communicate with them on their level. Some social awareness comes with time and experience, but it can be taught as well.
Self-management is another part of EI, and it uses your self-understanding to direct your behavior in positive and constructive ways. Finally, relationship management is directing your interactions with others so that they are successful and productive rather than hurtful.
How to Improve Emotional Intelligence
The foundation of EI is understanding yourself, which requires time and thought, and sometimes professional help. Taking a course in EI will help you identify the emotions and thought patterns that drive your behavior and teach you how to journal about them if you wish to do so. If you come across any emotions or behaviors you don’t seem to be able to understand or negative patterns you can’t break, professional counseling may help give more insight.
Learning how to analyze your interactions with others will also help you improve your EI and adopt more advantageous ways of dealing with others, which will be of great benefit in the workplace where relationships are key. It may seem like emotions should have no place in business, but many interactions and decisions are driven by emotions and it is important to understand them and learn how to use them in constructive ways.
Improving your EI because it will help your career is a fine motivation, but greater EI will also make you happier in your personal life, too. It’s a win-win, and well worth working on through courses or other efforts.
CCSU offers many courses to improve your career prospects, including courses on emotional intelligence in the workplace. View our open courses to see how they can benefit your career.