5 Ways Emotional Intelligence Predicts Your Success

Business.com / Careers / Last Modified: February 22, 2017

The business of relating to people is what ultimately separates successful people from complete and utter failures. Consider these 5 points.

It may be difficult to believe, but being the smartest person in the room is not always enough to succeed in business. 

Equally as important as the skills and expertise you have to offer is the way you have to offer them to the people you work with.  

Emotional intelligence, otherwise known as the business of relating to people, is what ultimately separates successful people from complete and utter failures.

Consider these five points.

Emotional Intelligence Is Now the Strongest Predictor of Performance

Emotional intelligence has now been identified as the most important factor in terms of predicting job performance. The Journal of Organizational Behavior reported that high emotional intelligence predicts career success, and in fact, patterns have been observed showing that lower emotional intelligence employees tend to leave job positions within two years, oftentimes because of poor performance.

The same rings true for business owners and entrepreneurs. Those who have a high level of emotional intelligence tend to outperform their competitors, who may lack the soft skills needed to succeed in business.

Related Article: Emotional Intelligence & Negotiating: Lessons from Harvard Business School

Self-Management Allows Flexibility and Positivity

Emotional intelligence also means the ability to manage one’s self and use emotions and awareness to stay flexible towards meeting goals and staying positive. People with poor self-managing skills underperform and often have problems with motivation and adapting to new circumstances.  Self-starters tend to outperform business owners who need a strict managerial style to thrive.

A spokesperson for Inc For Free, a free resource for business owners, said, “It’s important to consider the emotional intelligence of your team before launching a business. If your team members are lacking in this area, it’s important to work on improving these skills just as you would any other business skill.”

Higher Emotional Intelligence Is Linked With the Ability to Concentrate

With so many problems occurring with ADHD and distracting multimedia everywhere you turn, the ability to concentrate and pay attention to details is paramount to running a successful business. It is difficult to make connections in your mind and pay attention if you are constantly distracted and this is typically linked with lower emotional intelligence.

Collaborating With Customers and Making Personal Connections Is the Future

Skills are definitely useful but the ability to reach the customer is central to success in an Internet-dominated business world. Collaborating and connecting with customers are sure signs of emotionally intelligent business people. In turn, a business or startup that takes the time to do this will find greater success. Emotional intelligence means looking beyond just the product and into the social aspect of business what makes or breaks a brand name.

Emotional Intelligence Can Be Learned

Emotional intelligence is a skill and failure to cultivate an in-demand skill is a big mistake in the business world. Whereas many people are unable to be creative or be mechanical because of the way their mind works, emotional intelligence is something that can be learned. It is not related to intellect or IQ. It is simply a set of communication and listening skills that can be acquired and improved over time, and with practice. It is not even related to personality, necessarily, as both introverted and extroverted thinkers can learn this type of business training.  

Says a spokesperson from CRM Learning, a company that specializes in teaching workers and students important social business skills, “It’s just a matter of learning how to interact with other people. Business is based on the concept of interacting with other businesses, governments and customers. You can’t take emotional intelligence out of success…this is just a wake-up call to invest more time in taking it seriously.”

Related Article:A Deeper Commitment: 5 Ways to Create Emotionally Intelligent Teams

How to Measure Emotional Intelligence

Emotional intelligence is the culmination of self-awareness, empathy and social skills. When it comes to finding the right people for your team, gauging their emotional intelligence is one of the first steps in determining whether or not they’re a good fit.

Measuring someone’s emotional intelligence is a combination of careful observation and asking the right questions. When it comes to observing, a few of the things you’ll want to consider are; whether or not they seem defensive or open, if they’re able to keep their ego in check and if they seem to be aware of other people’s emotions.

Here are a few common interview questions used to assess someone’s emotional intelligence;

  • What bothers you most about other people?
  • Who do you look up to and why?
  • What kind of people do you like to work with and why?

Although it’s possible for someone to answer these questions dishonestly, if you pay attention to the way they answer, you can generally pick up on whether or not they’re adept at keeping their emotions in check and can empathize with others. Asking the right questions can tell you most of what you need to know about whether or not someone will be a team player or a burden to your company culture.

Alex Konanykhin, founder of Transparent Business, a platform designed to  increase freelancer productivity and protect client budgets that were designated as the top people management solution by Citigroup in 2016 says, “Most employers and startups go wrong by assuming that intelligence and hard skills are what make or break a business.

In reality, choosing people who are emotionally intelligent, willing to work on themselves and able to relate to others is a major component in building a successful business and workplace environment. Just like ‘hard skills’, emotional intelligence is something that can very much be measured and built upon.”

Ways to Boost Emotional Intelligence

Business success isn’t always determined by what you say or what you do, but rather in how you do it. Odds are you probably know someone (or you might be someone) who is considered an expert or genius in their field, but can’t seem to reach any real level of success.

If this happens to you, it’s probably time to invest in becoming more emotionally intelligent and developing your social skills. Not only will it help you relate to your team better, but equally as important, it will help you understand the true needs of your customers so you can relate to them in a way that’s more important than just money.

Here are a few tricks for boosting your emotional intelligence;

  • Practice self-awareness and observation. The first step to becoming more emotionally intelligent is to understand how you feel, why you feel it and recognizing how you might respond in a more productive manner. Once you recognize your behaviors, you can choose to change them if necessary.
  • Are you reacting or responding? Pay attention to whether or not you react to situations or respond to situations. When you react to the world around you, many times you end up making decisions that aren’t the best choice. When you take the time to slow down and consciously decide how to respond, the result is usually better for everyone involved.
  • Don’t allow yourself to be stuck in adversity. Sometimes at work, and in your personal life, the going gets tough. Do you bounce back from adversity or let it keep you down? Next time you’re faced with a difficult situation in business or at home, ask yourself what lessons you can learn and figure out the best path for changing your situation instead of letting it keep you down.
  • Find a mentor. It may seem counter-intuitive to improving your emotional intelligence, but sometimes the best thing you can do is surround yourself with emotionally intelligent people who consistently make good decisions and conscious choices. You become the five people you spend the most time with, so choose wisely.

Related Article:What Does Your Leadership Style Say About You?

Life can be hard and so can business. Working on the way you respond to the world and to others is the first step to building a life and business that runs smoothly. While others are busy learning new tricks of the trade, the time you spend investing in your emotional intelligence will pay off tenfold.

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