Using Emotional Intelligence to your Advantage

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Every workplace is comprised of people with different strengths, personalities and emotions, which can greatly affect the way they work. Emotional intelligence is the ability to identify and manage your emotions as well as the emotions of others.

Emotional intelligence is typically factored into the everyday decisions employers make, such as hiring, firing and promoting employees. Many hiring managers study candidates’ emotional intelligence by asking specific questions during the hiring process, to identify those who have a higher degree of emotional intelligence. They also analyze the emotional intelligence of their current employees to determine leadership potential. In addition, when promotions and pay raises are being considered, emotional intelligence is typically factored into the decision.

The right academic background, professional experience and certifications are obviously necessary to land a higher position. Emotional intelligence, however, can be the key to further success, particularly when moving into management positions. Employers say emotionally intelligent managers rate higher in job satisfaction and lower in levels of turnover. If your career plans include a leadership position, emotional intelligence can help you develop teams who are happier and more productive in their work, and more likely to stay in their positions.

It’s clear that emotional intelligence can be an asset to your professional life. Unfortunately, though, a lack of emotional intelligence can also influence your career. Here are five ways it can be detrimental.

  • Insensitivity: People who are insensitive are often perceived to be uncaring. Their co-workers are less likely to want to work with them or offer help. If you’re insensitive, you may not make a good leader, and can be much less likely to be promoted.
  • Arrogance: Arrogant people can sometimes seem to think they know it all and that no one can teach them anything. Arrogance is not a quality employers seek.
  • Volatility: Tapping into the emotions you feel is good; however, acting out in anger can derail your career. Volatile people can cause dysfunction in teams, upset co-workers and doom projects and initiatives to failure.
  • Rigidity: If you are inflexible in your thinking and approach, or believe that your way is the only way, you’re not a team player. In today’s professional environment, being a team player is absolutely necessary.
  • Selfishness: If your agenda is the only one that matters, you could be perceived as being selfish. Being professional means aiming for a win-win situation whenever possible.

The business world is always changing, and emotions are becoming a much more important aspect of working relationships. Having emotional intelligence increases your chances of being more accepted on teams and considered for leadership positions. It can also set you apart from the competition when seeking a new position or promotion.

Daniel Goleman proved in his research, that a person’s personal and interpersonal skills carried much more weight than a person’s IQ. in determining which individuals would emerge as leaders. In fact, he concluded that not more than 25 percent of a person’s success could be attributed to IQ, but let’s focus on exactly how emotional intelligence allows you to get more done every day.

Stress management and self-care

Entrepreneurship is also stressful. You’ll be facing tough decisions almost every day, and working long hours on a regular basis. Emotionally intelligent people know their own limits, and can recognize when the stress of the job is starting to get the better of them.

What’s more, they’ll proactively take breaks, whether that means an extra 10 minutes at lunch or a week-long vacation, and prevent themselves from ever becoming fully exhausted. As a result, they’ll get more done in a day and be far less likely to burn out.

Collaborating with others

As you might guess, emotionally intelligent leaders are much better at collaborating with other people — and collaboration is vital in a fast-paced startup environment. These people can read the emotions of others easily, recognizing their strengths, weaknesses and reactions for what they are.

They’re also adaptable, since they’re empathetic, and more willing to make sacrifices for the good of the team.

Accepting and incorporating feedback

The best entrepreneurs gather feedback, both internally and externally, to better understand how their companies are performing and how they can do better. Emotionally intelligent entrepreneurs are able to accept this feedback, even if it includes negative or harsh criticism, and understand it without taking it personally.

They’re also able to give feedback to their team members more productively, since they can deliver it with more sensitivity and greater focus on individual needs.

Striking valuable partnerships

Emotional intelligence allows you to create better strategic partnerships and attract better people to your brand; it may even help you attract more social media followers. The idea here is that you’ll be able to understand exactly what your prospective partners need or want from you, and be able to communicate more effectively with them once the partnership agreement is drafted. These partners will be able to improve your company’s overall productivity and efficiency, provided you can maintain your relationship with them.

Clearly, then, emotional intelligence is worth honing as an entrepreneurial trait. If you don’t feel especially empathetic, or if you struggle to acknowledge and control your own emotions, don’t feel defeated. Emotional intelligence may have a genetic component, but that doesn’t mean it’s out of your reach.

Conclusively, by getting in closer touch with your feelings, and working to listen to and understand others, you can gradually gain mastery over your own emotional intelligence. If you’re in a leadership position, or hope to be someday, I highly recommend you make the attempt.

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