Are you ready to go places in your career?

Well, if there was a skill that you could hone that could help earn $30k more per year, wouldn't you set out to work on it right now? It turns out there is just such a skill, you can learn how to develop it, and once it is highly developed it can propel your career to the moon. I'm talking about emotional intelligence, the often overlooked but valuable personality trait that can be crucial to your long-term success in life but which is rarely talked about or taught in schools.

The five components of emotional intelligence are:

  • Self Awareness - Do you know your own strengths and weaknesses and are you willing to admit to them accordingly?
  • Self-Regulation - Do you take the time to think before you speak or act? Are you able to cope with things that are outside of your control?
  • Motivation - Are you motivated by money and power or do you see your work as something you're passionate about? Are you willing to take on new challenges?
  • Empathy - Can you respectfully communicate with others, especially people from other cultures, religions, and ethnicities?
  • Social Skills - Are you able to argue for your point of view without alienating others?

Unfortunately, many people lack emotional intelligence. It's not always something that is taught in school, and parents aren't always aware of the need to help their children develop these skills. As a result, many adults enter the workforce completely unaware they need to actually do work to develop these skills, and employers find it easier to pass these candidates by than to help them.

How Can You Build Up Your Emotional Muscle?

Fortunately, there are many different ways you can develop your emotional intelligence. While your IQ may not change appreciably over your lifetime, you can practice the following skills to enhance your emotional intelligence:

  • Before passing judgment, try to put yourself in others' shoes. Thinking about another person's perspective can help you develop your empathy.
  • Learn to control your emotions. There will always be times when you have to deal with difficult people, so practice putting yourself in their shoes and coming up with a way to relate to them.
  • Learn when it's the time and place to express your emotions. Oftentimes there will be difficult things that need to be said, so learn how to express your negative emotions appropriately and diplomatically.
  • Manage your stress effectively. There will be times when stress needs to be managed more acutely, so know when it's time to say no to a new project or stay home for the weekend and relax.
  • Reduce your negative emotions. When you are fearful of rejection, try to reassure yourself by coming up with alternatives in case your fears are realized.
  • Ask others how they are feeling. Getting into the habit of checking up on other people and helping where you can is an important part of building relationships.

What Are the Positive Effects of Developing Your EQ?

Employers are looking less at grade point averages these days and more at emotional intelligence markers. Teamwork is critical to the success of most businesses, so finding someone who will work well with the team is important to the company's overall success. And employers also know that 90% of top performers have high emotional intelligence scores, while 80% of bottom performers have low emotional intelligence scores.

Your emotional intelligence quotient is a good indicator of how well you will do in a given position, so developing your emotional intelligence muscle will help you go further in your job.

Every point you add to your EQ, or emotional quotient, score means an average of $1300 more per year. When you look at some of the business world's top performing people in the C-suites, you'll find people with extremely high emotional intelligence. Amazon's Jeff Bezos is obsessed with winning over the hearts and minds of customers, and he uses his self-deprecating humor to make others feel comfortable with him.

Former Xerox CEO Ursula Burns inspires her employees with her sense of purpose and her assertiveness. Being a leader is not the same as being a boss, and emotional intelligence makes all the difference.

Emotional Intelligence Is the Key to Connecting With Your Customers, Too

Whatever business you are in, making a human connection with your customers is crucial. Customers want to do business with someone they can trust, and trust is built upon humanity. Learn more about the importance of developing your emotional intelligence from this infographic from Aumann Bender & Associates.

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