7 Big Ways Emotional Intelligence Can Help You Get Ahead

Our resumes and online professional profiles are chock full of pieces of evidence chosen to support and justify our qualifications. But, it turns out that our emotional intelligence (a trait rarely highlighted during the job search process) could be one of the greatest determinants of our professional success. Emotional intelligence is more important that most folks realize. Here’s how it helps you at work.


(Photo Credit: Hamed Saber/Flickr)

1. You’re be a better listener.

Emotional intelligence helps improve our understanding of others’ emotions, not just our own. Therefore, this skill will make you a more active and effective listener at work, which could help others trust and rely on you more.

2. You send the right signals.

Body language also helps to build trust, or reduce it, and emotionally intelligent people are more aware of how their actions (including their posture and facial expressions) read to others. They are also more tuned into their own emotions and actions, causing their body language to be more aligned with what they’re hoping to convey. Both consciously and subconsciously, these folks are sending the signals they intend to send.

3. You’re emotionally predictable, and others feel they can rely on you.

People with high emotional intelligence (EQ) are more able to regulate and manage their own behaviors than others. Therefore, they tend to act in predictable ways that others find comforting. Is there a better qualification for a leadership position than emotional stability?!

4. With awareness comes competence.

Success.com defines emotional intelligence as being composed of four skills: “Self awareness” and “social awareness” (how well you understand your emotions and the emotions of others), which improves “self-management” and “relationship management” through utilizing that heightened awareness. It’s as simple as that: with better awareness comes improved competence, and it has absolutely nothing to do with IQ.

5. You’re able to collaborate effectively.

People with high EQ are strong team members, as the skills that go hand-in-hand with this kind of intelligence impact our people skills most acutely. “People skills” aren’t much different than the skills that come along with emotional intelligence, so it’s easy to see why these folks are excellent at collaboration. Being able to compromise and work well with others could be one of the things that distinguishes us from the robots, so be proud of this awesomely human ability.

6. You can roll with the punches.

Folks with high emotional intelligence are generally more flexible, as they tend to effectively regulate their feelings and reactions more reliably. In the professional world, being able to go with the flow and roll with the punches is pretty darn important. Not only are those with high EQ more prepared to handle changes in practical ways, they are also more able to feel good (or at least, stay level and calm) while big shifts happen. This helps them stand out professionally.

7. You’re a better leader.

Emotional intelligence helps us bring that certain something to the table that it’s hard to pinpoint or teach. At the end of the day, It may be emotional intelligence that separates the effective leaders from not-so-effective ones.

“The most effective leaders are all alike in one crucial way: they all have a high degree of what has come to be known as emotional intelligence,” stated Daniel Goleman, a psychologist at Rutgers, in a landmark article written for Harvard Business Review over a decade ago.

“It’s not that IQ and technical skills are irrelevant,” he continued. “They do matter, but … they are the entry-level requirements for executive positions. My research, along with other recent studies, clearly shows that emotional intelligence is the sine qua non of leadership. Without it, a person can have the best training in the world, an incisive, analytical mind, and an endless supply of smart ideas, but he still won’t make a great leader.”

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