While many people have heard the term emotional intelligence (EI), most don't know what it means to have high EI, why it is important, and how it can help you get ahead in your career. Recognising, assessing, and managing your emotions, and the emotions of others is how we broadly define EI. High EI can underpin not only personal success, but success in the workplace - helping to boost your performance and workplace relationships. So what are the traits of someone with high EI, and why is high EI important? We have complied a list of the qualities we regularly see in high performers, and looked at how these traits have attributed to their success:
People with high EI have a high level of empathy and understanding. We all have bad days, are in bad moods sometimes, and have things going on in our personal lives that sometimes affect our working life. How you deal with your own problems, and the problems of others says a lot about your EI. Rather than just telling someone who is experiencing difficultly to snap out of it and get on with it, being aware and responding to their emotions will help support them through the issue, build your relationship with them, and help you get the best out of them. By the same token, it is also just as important to show yourself empathy and understanding, recognising your emotions and taking time out when needed to ensure you remain balanced.
Good listening skills
Listening to others, and letting people talk rather than talking over them is also another sign of good EI. When people don't feel heard, they don't feel valued and respected – it is important to listen to colleagues and the people that you manage, acknowledge and take their feedback on board, and ensure constructive conversations that lead to positive outcomes.
When you have strong EI, you understand that flexibility and the need to be flexible with others can sometimes be the difference between retaining and losing the best talent. It is important to understand that everyone has personal commitments, and being mindful of these and working around them as needed will help to strengthen your relationships, and bring out the best in the people you work with.
Manage change well
Managing change is difficult at the best of times, however people with high EI know how best to respond to change. Resisting change and reacting negatively will only make things worse, put people offside and make the workplace unpleasant. People with high EI embrace change, take a positive outlook, and help others through the transition. This helps to ensure a smooth move to new ways of working, brings you closer with your team, and helps to ensure team performance remains consistent through times of change.
Allow people to be creative
For innovation to occur, it is important to encourage creativity and the generation of new ideas. People with high EI recognise that they may not always have the best idea, and are open to suggestions on improved ways of working. It is important to provide people with the opportunity to be creative to generate these new ideas, making them feel valued and respected and allowing them to make a meaningful contribution.
Not only can high EI get you ahead, so can mentoring. Read about how being a mentor can not only benefit the mentee but yourself too.