2013-02-28

Co.Labs

Want To Advance Your Career? Then Work On Your EQ

Emotional intelligence and its role in job satisfaction and growth.



In case you don't yet feel it, emotional intelligence--the ability regulate emotions in one's self and identify emotions in others--is a predictor of workplace success, both for employees and managers.

Over at Black Enterprise, Amanda A. Ebokosia notes that high emotional intelligence--a topic we've been on for 13 years--leads to higher job satisfaction, better decision-making, and more ready goal-completion for employees, while managers lacking emotional intelligence have difficulty with social interactions and nurturing professional relationships.

"Emotions do matter," Ebokosia writes, citing a pair of studies. "Dismissing them entirely can be detrimental to the workplace, hindering healthy interpersonal interactions and their positive outcomes."

Emotional rescue

The first study, a meta-analysis, combines a range of research. In aggregate, emotional intelligence is linked with job performance, since "in almost all work settings, individuals have to cooperate with others and do at least some group work tasks," so emotional intelligence, with its 360-understandingness, gives you a sense of what a social situation needs--and how to correspondingly act.

The second study, the adorably named "Feeling the Future: The Emotional Oracle Effect," gets into gut feelings. In language familiar to Malcolm Gladwell fans, io9 recaps a gut feeling as "an intuitive summary of all our accumulated knowledge on a topic," one that is "apparently better than what we could come up with if we tried to consciously synthesize this information." But note: Your gut is an oracle only if you have prior understanding of the given domain.

Taken together, emotional intelligence--and its associated intuitions--may be helpful for leaders, teams, and companies looking to grow (and create). Drawing from Daniel Goleman's landmark Emotional Intelligence, Ebokosia describes its five factors of Emotional Intellgience as such:

  • Empathy: The ability to shift perspectives and gain a better understanding of others, or, in fancy-pants language, "inter-subjectivize."
  • Motivation: The driving force(s) of your actions. Your compass, north star, wayfinding. Your interior cartographic prowess.
  • Self-regulation: Being able to deal with your own emotions before they deal with you. Linked with delaying gratification and not eating the marshmallow.
  • Social skills: Knowing what to say in order to engage your team--and knowing how not to offend them.
  • Self awareness: Understanding your own emotions improves your interactions, since getting intimate with your feelings lets you better understand how they affect others.

So how to limber up your emotional intelligence? A little foible-self-transparency might be a first step.

Secret Weapon: How to Strengthen the Most Valuable Job Skill

Drake Baer covers leadership for Fast Company. You can follow him on Twitter.

[Image: Flickr user Wendell]