Often times there’s a tremendous emphasis on our academic skills and experience when advancing our qualifications for a job or leadership position. But evidence has shown that emotional intelligence could be one of the greatest skills you need to attain professional success and generally getting ahead in life.
In fact, emotional intelligence is more important than most of us give it credit for. The school system is partly to blame as students are constantly drilled in history, math, and science, with limited focus on skills that teach kids how to properly manage their emotions and the emotions of others.
What’s emotional intelligence?
Emotional intelligence is the way psychologists summarise how well an individual is able control their own emotions and correctly respond to the emotions of others.
How do you determine and measure an individual’s emotional intelligence? The subject is a relatively new field in psychology, but several models are being developed to aid its proper appreciation and understanding.
The model used most often is the 5-pronged ‘mixed model’ developed by psychologist Daniel Goleman. It includes:
The ability of the individual to accurately understand their own feelings, know what they are capable of and when they may need help, and perceive what things within and around them can trigger specific emotions.
This involves an individual’s capacity to keep their emotions under control when they are feeling on edge. This includes the ability to keep calm and maintain presence of mind during disagreements and to dismiss attitudes that demoralize them such as panic or self-pity.
Not the typical motivation in terms of money and status, but nobler rewards like personal happiness, the feeling of being productive, or sheer curiosity.
The three previous key areas in the mixed model refer to managing one’s emotions and keeping them in check. But empathy deals with the emotions of others. It’s the ability to accurately perceive the emotions of others and respond appropriately.
This involves applying the skills of empathy and self-awareness in order to properly understand and respond to the needs of others. This could include looking for common interests, or managing behavior within a social group.
How emotional intelligence gets you ahead in any social setting
You become a better listener
With emotional intelligence, you are able to read your own emotions as well as others better. Trying to understanding people’s emotions and what triggers them makes you a better listener and a more reliable and trusted person in any social setting.
Others can predict and rely on you
Emotionally intelligent people can better regulate and manage their attitude and as such tend to act in more predictable and likeable ways that others find attractive and reassuring.
You become a better leader
With emotional intelligence, you’re able to bring a certain natural leadership trait that’s hard to pinpoint or teach. However, the latest studies in the field of neuroscience are helping us to better understand our brain power and play a more effective role in any social setting. Emotional intelligence may just be the big factor that distinguishes effective leaders from regular ones.
Technology plays an integral part in our lives nowadays. For instance, Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence has created The Mood Meter App by which you can learn emotional intelligence.