3 Ways to Increase Your Emotional Intelligence and Boost Your Career

Andrew Snyder is a psychotherapist and executive coach whose work tackles the psychology around life and business, helping C-suite executives optimize creativity, performance and action. Below Andrew provides CEO Today with expert insight into emotional intelligence and application.

Who wouldn’t want to gain an edge over the business competition while also gaining a healthier and happier lifestyle?

If it sounds too good to be true, it isn’t.

This will be especially encouraging news to millennials, who in recent years have had the highest stress levels among all age groups. Their top stressors are work and money, according to annual Stress in America surveys done by the American Psychological Association.

With the competition strong as ever, a bit more self-awareness and resiliency can place you out in front.

Pew Research Center report found that today’s job market is increasingly rewarding socially adept workers who possess strong interpersonal, communication and leadership skills, providing them with greater job opportunities and higher pay. A majority of American workers, Pew found, said continuous training is essential for them to develop new skills to keep up with changes in the workplace, but many say they lack the skills to get ahead.

Benefits of EQ

In the decades since the concept of emotional intelligence emerged, business people in all trades and industries around the globe have embraced the practice as the key to professional success. Emotional intelligence, also called EQ, is your ability to recognize and understand your emotions, and your skill to use this awareness to manage yourself and your relationships with others.

The truth behind all the hype about emotional intelligence is a quarter-century of convincing research that EQ is positively associated with health, well-being and occupational success. HR executives have long proclaimed that IQ gets you hired, but EQ gets you promoted.

Companies looking to hire are taking note of evidence of the emotional intelligence characteristics that are linked to top performers: assertiveness, empathy, happiness, emotional self-awareness and problem-solving skills. These attributes, or so-called “soft skills,” can matter more than IQ, technical skills, gender, education or age at accurately predicting on-the-job success.

So, how do you begin to increase your EQ and improve your performance?

Acquiring proficiency in EQ won’t happen overnight. It is a process that requires determination, work and time. Expect four to six months for meaningful and lasting change to occur if you have covered these three basic essentials:

  1. Openness to change

Being open to change is the crucial first step in developing your emotional intelligence. Flexible people have the willingness and capacity to consider new ideas, change their minds and adapt appropriately to changing circumstances. View the change as an opportunity for you to grow and expand.

  1. Accurate assessment

Self-assessment involves “tuning in” and honestly investigating your emotional strengths and weaknesses. A quick-start way to learn your presence and degree of EQ is to get a scientifically valid assessment that will provide a baseline for your growth and development.

  1. Candid (and caring) feedback

Sign up to be accountable, developing positive and supportive relationships that make change possible. Effective feedback is critical to improving your performance. You might consider hiring a professional coach to keep you focused and overcome blind spots.

Keep in mind going forward that emotional intelligence is not about wearing your heart on your sleeve, giving free rein to emotions. It is not about being nice all the time, nor is it nefariously capitalizing on others’ emotions. Emotional intelligence implies genuineness and honesty with oneself and others. It is about harnessing the power of emotions to motivate yourself and others, manage life’s complexities, find your promise, and to fulfill your heart’s ambitions.

Luckily for us, emotional intelligence is learnable and trainable, but improving EQ competence doesn’t occur effortlessly. Strengthening your emotional intelligence will take practice and commitment. After all, if it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you.

The payoff is in the results. High EQ can transform your career and enrich your life.

(First published on Bizjournals.com)

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