Many people argue that emotional intelligence is even more important than IQ (intelligence quotient) when it comes to success, both in terms of career and personal life.

What is emotional intelligence?

Here are two definitions:

“Emotional Intelligence is the measure of an individual’s abilities to recognise and manage their emotions, and the emotions of other people, both individually and in groups.” [Source]

“Emotional intelligence (EQ) is the ability to identify, use, understand, and manage your own emotions in positive ways to relieve stress, communicate effectively, empathize with others, overcome challenges and defuse conflict. This ability also allows us to recognize and understand what others are experiencing emotionally. This recognition and understanding is, for the most part, a nonverbal process that informs thinking and influences how well you connect with others.” [Source]

What these definitions tell us is that emotional intelligence is a set of skills and abilities that enable us to interact successfully and in a positive manner with the people around us, thereby contributing to our success, not only in the workplace, but in every aspect of our lives.

Some of these skills and abilities include:

  • Adaptability to change
  • Conflict resolution skills
  • Empathy
  • Negotiation skills
  • Self-awareness
  • Self-control
  • Self-motivation

So why does emotional intelligence matter?

According to Talentsmart, “Your emotional intelligence is the foundation for a host of critical skills—it impacts [almost] everything you say and do each day.” [Source]

Being skilled and experienced at your job, achieving good marks at school, and generally being clever is not good enough if you want to succeed. Truly successful people are those who have high levels of emotional intelligence, as they know how to interact effectively with others.

Humans are social beings, which means that interpersonal relationships – and how you manage them – will always play a role in how successful you are. It doesn’t help if you have the best skills out of all the people in your field, but no-one can stand working with you.
Here are just a few of the reasons why emotional intelligence matters, and why you should work on developing it:

Emotional intelligence:

1 – Leads to increased self-confidence and self-esteem.

2 – Helps you handle stress better.
Emotional intelligence enables you to recognise your emotions and understand why you are experiencing them. And once you can recognise and understand your emotions, you can respond to them in a constructive manner, which helps to reduce stress.

3 – Helps you adapt more easily to change.
This is particularly important in the modern working environment, where change is a constant.

4 – Helps you communicate more effectively.

5 – Helps you form and maintain interpersonal relationships, leading to a more fulfilling social life and a more successful professional life.

6 – Makes you a better leader.

Take a moment to think about the following quote:

They may forget what you said - but they will never forget how you made them feel - Carl Buehner

This sums up just how important emotional intelligence is when it comes to interacting with the people around you. If you want people to enjoy being around you, and to form positive memories of you, then you need to understand their emotions, as well as the effect you have on their emotions.

Steps you can take to develop your emotional intelligence

Now that you know why it is important to develop your emotional intelligence, it’s time to focus on the how:

    • The first thing to do is to recognise that emotional intelligence is something you can develop. Even though some people have more natural emotional intelligence than others, it is something that we can all learn and develop through practice.
    • Once you know what emotional intelligence entails, you need to practise incorporating those skills into your daily life. Remember, habits are formed through repetition. This means that the more you practise something, the more naturally it will come to you.
  • Take the time to view things from other people’s perspective. Empathy is an important part of emotional intelligence, and you can’t show empathy without considering a situation from someone else’s point of view.

Other steps you can take to improve your emotional intelligence include reading books and articles on the topic, as well taking courses that focus on soft skills development.

How important do you think emotional intelligence is if you want to be successful? Let us know in the comments box below!