The World Economic Forum’s future jobs report indicated that Emotional Intelligence (EI) will be one of the most sought after skills by companies. So what exactly is EI and how can you develop it to boost your career and make you more attractive to potential employers?
Emotional intelligence essentially involves two parts: first, becoming aware of how emotions in ourselves and others drive behaviours and second, developing the skills to manage these emotions intelligently, to leverage our personal strengths.
In the time since the concept of EI initially emerged, business people in all industries around the globe have embraced the practice as the key to professional success. However, it hasn’t always been embraced, and at one point, a large number of people believed that EI was similar to personality and couldn’t necessarily be developed. Slowly but surely, research in the area over the last 25 years has dispelled this belief and the evidence has become more and more compelling. It has demonstrated that with time and commitment, emotional intelligence is learnable. But improving your competence doesn’t occur effortlessly. Strengthening your emotional intelligence will take practice and effective training.
Organisations looking to recruit top talent are actively seeking evidence of the emotional intelligence characteristics that are linked to high performers.
The truth behind all the excitement about EI is 25 years of convincing research that it is positively associated with a range of outcomes, such as overall health, well-being, leadership performance and occupational success. HR professionals across the globe have long proclaimed that IQ gets you in the door, but EI gets you promoted.
More and more, organisations looking to recruit top talent are actively seeking evidence of the emotional intelligence characteristics that are linked to high performers: empathy, emotional self-awareness, adaptability, and the capacity to build collaborative relationships, to name but a few. Within the fast-paced nature of the sports industry, these attributes can matter more than IQ, technical skills, or education at accurately predicting on the job success.
So, how do you begin to develop your EI and enhance your performance?
Systematically building your social and emotional skills takes time and won’t happen overnight. It is a process that requires commitment and a desire to change behaviours and habits that might be holding you back. However, as I eluded to earlier, the research shows that emotional intelligence skills can be developed, so the first step along the journey is to approach the challenge with an open mind.
Approaching change openly is the key first step in developing your emotional intelligence. Adaptable people have the willingness and capacity to consider new ideas and adjust appropriately to changing circumstances. A good way to view the change is as an opportunity for growth.
The evidence is compelling – high levels of EI can transform your
career and enhance your life.
Even when people are motivated to develop their emotional intelligence, they can often remain unclear about how to work on these skills until they become aware of how they shape up.
There are many ways of helping people become more aware of their behaviour and performance, but by far the most credible and compelling way is to measure emotional and social competencies and receive constructive feedback using high-quality psychometric assessment tools. What’s critical here is to ensure the methodology adopted is developmental in nature. This provides insight and a platform on which to develop.
At RocheMartin, we have developed our own unique model of EI based on over 10 years of research, which examined the relationship between EI and effective workplace performance. The Emotional Capital model describes a set of 10 social and emotional skills which distinguish high performing individuals, and the ECR was built to accurately measure these, thus providing an insight into an individual’s current level of competence.
Once you have gained insight into your behaviours and have set some specific goals for your development, the next stage is to start deploying new strategies that will help you change your behaviour and improve your EI competencies.
The process of completing an assessment and obtaining your profile will help you identify the areas of EI where you are strong and where you might want to focus your development efforts. For example, in the Emotional Capital model, the first key skill is self-awareness and cultivating better self-awareness is the foundation for improving your overall levels of EI. So if your assessment indicated that you scored lower on this skill, you could deploy some of the strategies below to improve it over time:
Another key competency in the Emotional Capital model is Empathy and some useful strategies that can help you build this skill include:
As you progress throughout your career, keep in mind that emotional intelligence is not about wearing your heart on your sleeve or being nice all the time. EI implies honesty with oneself and others. It is about harnessing the power of emotions to motivate yourself and others, make better decisions, manage life’s complexities, and unlock your potential.
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