What kind of quality is essential to be successful at work? Talent, diligence and discipline are indubitably important, but sometimes they seem insufficient. So, what is the name of the `X factor` that creates crucial difference between `leaders` and `others`? According to numerous psychological studies, the answer is emotional intelligence (EI).  71% of managers believe that EI is more relevant for business than IQ; 59% of them would not even consider hiring a person who has high IQ but low EI (Freedman, 2014)!

EI emerged from multiple intelligence theories (Sternberg, 1985; Gardner, 1986), according to which there are several independent abilities that could be considered as intelligence. EI is one of them: it has become highly investigated due to its practical implications in professional aspects of life — EI is responsible for 58% of our job performance (Schmidt, 2012). John D.Mayer, Peter Salovey and David R.Caruso EI model is based on four main branches: (a) to perceive emotions in oneself and others accurately, (b) to use emotions to facilitate thinking, (c) to understand emotions, emotional language, and the signals conveyed by emotions, and (d) to manage emotions so as to attain specific goals.
Next 4 steps explain how to engage your social potentials in order to achieve your business goals.

  1. KNOW YOUR EMOTIONS: Be aware of what inspires you to do more, and what makes you anxious and slows you down. Try to recognize office stressors that are not work-related, like spending time with your always-gossiping co-workers and listening to their mean comments, and try to keep away from them. Focus your thoughts on positive aspects of work: remember why you have started to do this job in the first place, and what makes you good at it. This will immediately boost your self-confidence. Also, think about your flaws as areas of improvement: it will increase your work motivation and help you to concentrate on your tasks.
  2. TAKE CONTROL OF YOUR EMOTIONS: It is important not to allow negative feelings to overpower you. Emotionally stable people are more likely to stand up to their commitments, which builds their trustworthy reputation. In an office environment, it is crucial to think before you act; especially if your actions are based on impulses rather than ratio. Even in cases when you have all the arguments on your side – for example, the promotion that had been promised to you after successfully finished assignment somehow slipped away – you must reevaluate your remaining options before you burst into righteous anger. Maybe it will be better to practice your patience and to channel your negative energy into achievement drive that will lead to even better results. In that way, you will definitely prove how valuable you are for your company.
  3. SHOW YOUR INTEREST IN OTHERS: In one study, surgeons in malpractice suits who spent additional 3 minutes with their patients reassuring them, making orienting comments and showing concern were less likely to be sued (Freedman, 2014). Like in your private life, empathy is crucial in your office: take an active interest in the work of your colleagues, engage your listening skills with customers and try to understand their standpoints.
  4. ENGAGE YOUR SOCIAL SKILLS: One research showed that MBA students with high EI were seen as bigger contributors to their group; in case of demographically diverse groups, their contribution was estimated even higher(Freedman, 2014). We can get the best from team work by discovering common goals shared by entire team. Once we get to know our colleagues better, it will be easier to avoid conflicts and to communicate clearly and promptly. Start behaving as your own human resource manager: by building good relationships with people in your office, you will create precious social network based on common values and aims and consolidate your position in the company.

From all mentioned above, it is easy to understand why EI is more important for work success than IQ. And now, one great piece of news: unlike general intelligence, EI is socially mediated ability; by practicing our emotional intelligence, we are training our brain to turn these actions into our habits (Bradberry, 2015). This means that we all have an ability to increase our chances to succeed and to grow our leadership potential: we just have to learn more about ourselves and others and to understand what is really important in our life.

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By Marina Musatova, Psy.D. and Katarina Mijatovic, MSc.