Every job involves some degree of human interaction, whether with managers, colleagues, direct reports, or external stakeholders like clients, customers, or partners. All of these human interactions have emotional dimensions, so that no matter how technical the topic of discussion, the psychological states of the people involved are critical to success. Because of how central emotion is to all professional activities, developing emotional intelligence (EI) is imperative. But what is emotional intelligence, and how can it be developed?
Emotional intelligence is the capacity to recognize, control, and express our own emotions, as well as the ability to recognize others’ emotions and manage interpersonal relationships with empathy. It influences every human interaction and is an essential skill to be an effective leader. One study found that emotional intelligence is the strongest predictor of performance and that 90 percent of high performers in the workplace possess high emotional intelligence. Furthermore, the World Economic Forum’s Future of Jobs Report indicates that social skills, including emotional intelligence, will be in high demand across industries by 2020. Put simply, having high EI can significantly improve your professional success, especially as a manager.
Advanced EI helps managers build strong relationships, influence and motivate others, resolve conflict, and improve their decision making and communication skills, among other things. Emotional intelligence can also have a ripple effect within the work environment. Employees whose managers have high EI are typically more engaged and less stressed, which results in a more productive work environment and improved employee retention.
Despite being an invaluable skill, the reality is that not everyone possesses high emotional intelligence. But there is good news! Like other skills, emotional intelligence can be learned and developed through practice. Working on this leadership skill can have a positive effect on your team and the whole organization.
There are four attributes commonly used to characterize emotional intelligence: self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, and relationship management. Download our FREE Guide to Developing Your Emotional Intelligence, which discusses these attributes and provides guidance on how you can develop them. Doing so will help managers improve their emotional intelligence and enhance their leadership.
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