Are you emotionally intelligent and why does it matter?
One of the main reasons people succeed at work is their ability to work well with others. Is it their intelligence? Is it their work ethic? Or could it be their emotional intelligence?
What is emotional intelligence?
Put simply, it is how well a person picks up on other people’s emotions and the ability to use that information to then connect with them and engage. Emotional intelligence is essentially your ‘street smarts’. We all know people who are calm in a crisis no matter how stressful the situation. People like this have high emotional intelligence; they have strong relationships and manage difficult situations calmly and effectively.
So how emotionally intelligent are you and can you improve it? First, you need you need to know where you are currently. There are lots of resources to help you with this including free tests. You could try the Truity assessment tool for this.
What are the key characteristics of emotional intelligence?
You need to understand your strengths and weaknesses to build self-awareness. This is pretty self-explanatory. How well do you know yourself? Your preferences, your dislikes, how you behave around others. Your knowledge of these aspects are the first step to understanding how to interact well with others.
This is about staying in control and learning how to manage your emotions effectively; taking responsibility for your actions and behaviours. Once you know your strengths and weaknesses, you need to play to them. Find ways to increase use of the skills you know how to do best. You might also need to ‘dial down’ any weaknesses. Maybe you are very enthusiastic? You may need to prioritise listening and thinking over speaking.
How motivated are you to do the work you currently do? Do you tend to set your own goals and work towards them or do you rely on external factors to push you into action? People who have this element of EI tend to be more committed and continue working on personal development throughout their lives. If you think this is an area you need to work on, take a look at your goals and remind yourself to keep working on them.
How well are you able to what someone else is feeling? Do you tend to relate to what others are going through? This is a particularly helpful trait to have if you are in or aspire to a leadership position. Picking up on people’s feelings and emotions can allow you to adjust your response. Think about a group work assignment, a great way to get more out of group work and enhance your empathy skills increase is to be more open and ask more questions.
The top 3 skills looked for by employers in 2019 AAGE employer survey were communication, teamwork and interpersonal skills. These skills deal with how well you get along with others. Think about how you work with your peers. Do you typically get along well with your colleagues or do you run into conflict? There are a number of courses you can take if you want to work on these skills, as well as lots of practice! Try visiting mindtools.com for some further resources.
The bottom line is that improving our emotional intelligence can assist in both our working and our day to day lives. Next time you are faced with a challenge try taking it back to the main principles outlined above and maybe you’ll find that the skills you need are already there; you just need to let them out.
Featured image courtesy of Unsplash
By Kaye Carr
Business Development Officer
A Sydney-based Business Development Officer currently working at UTS Careers, Kaye has over 20 years’ experience in sales, recruitment, account management and business development. She loves engaging with employers to create as many quality opportunities as possible for UTS students.