How often do you think your emotions impact your career’s success? Being in control of your emotions and displaying sensitivity towards others’ feelings directly correlates to your professional opportunity set.
In today’s competitive world and integrated global economy, being emotionally intelligent holds more value than conventional intelligence. How often do you think your emotions impact your career’s success? Being in control of your emotions and displaying sensitivity towards others’ feelings directly correlates to your professional opportunity set. Your emotional awareness and considerate nature represent key, but often overlooked, competitive advantages. Emotional Intelligence is the ability to both understand and control our own emotions, and the emotions of others.
Daniel Goleman, the author and psychologist who helped make the subject of emotional intelligence more prominent, found through research that out of all the abilities that lead to a steady job performance, 67 per cent were directly associated with emotional intelligence. Goleman also highlights an important practice of today’s successful companies worldwide: they routinely look through the lens of Emotional Intelligence when hiring, promoting, and developing their employees. Emotional intelligence is a critical factor on the path to becoming a successful leader from an emerging one.
This intangible skill can transform you from being just a leader into a leader who is revered, followed and appreciated.
Nobel Prize winning Israeli-American psychologist Daniel Kahneman found that a person who is liked and trusted has a competitive edge in winning business over someone without a pleasing persona. Furthermore, the likeable person is still selected even if the other is offers more value or a better product at a lower price point. Creating such positive outcomes is ultimately a function of our emotional intelligence and cognitive framework. Emotionally intelligent people seek opportunities to improve their mental agility.
In a world full of distractions and reliance on technology, we are often in a rush. We overlook details, struggle to remain attentive and escape being fully present to check what we missed on our phones. Regulating our emotions and taming our impulses are essential skills that require years to develop. A multitude of physiological and psychic factors underpin the energy that drives our emotions. Both children and adults inappropriately allocate energy because of their emotions. When we overreact, we use too much energy, which inhibits the processing of critical information. We also fail to make the most informed decisions when we under-react because we do not allocate enough energy to solve a challenge or problem.
Here are seven factors that highlight the importance of developing emotional intelligence and how it underpins your leadership success
1. Better decision making – Our state of mind and emotional awareness are key pillars for making the most informed decisions. No matter how balanced or objective one intends to be, emotions in the moment influence how we perceive, process and act upon information. For example, fear and may cause us to postpone a decision, while happiness can encourage a quicker outcome from concessions offered during a negotiation. If you can retain control over your emotions while taking decisions, and direct these feelings towards enhancing your thought process, the result will be more rational and positive.
2. Developing a mindful approach – Being aware of yours and others’ emotions will help you focus on the present moment and the problem at hand. It helps in being mindful and resolving the problem more peacefully. Mindfulness can also be described as being attentive, while refraining from passing judgment. This skill is developed by leaders over time through regular practice.
3. Harness the ability to bounce back from adversity – Life may surprise us with adversity when we least expect it. By maintaining a positive outlook towards life and recognizing our emotions, we can first prevent the difficult situation from spreading to other areas of our lives. After focusing on more rational behavioral responses and mitigating initial stress, we can direct our cognitive energy toward solutions and the next chapter of our lives.
4. Helps waking up to latent creativity – Being aware of your emotions and connecting them to your thoughts is a precursor to innovative thinking. Positive emotions are accompanied by a broadening of attention, behavior, and creativity. The results following inducement of a positive mood are well documented. After laughing at a comedic story or watching a funny movie, participants experience a heightened sense of creativity, attention, and tenacity for developing solutions.
5. Being proactive and not reactive – Gaining a better understanding of others’ state will help you make decisions more empathetically. You will be proactive in dealing with situations and can see the problem from someone else’s point of view as well. This affords our brains the opportunity to create a more positive outcome because we apply our mental agility. When we are proactive, we not only better regulate our emotions, but we also build resilience.
6. Helps in faster conflict resolution – Developing social skills will help resolve conflicts with patience and perseverance. Acknowledging efforts and appreciating contributions are precursors to motivating other people to reach a positive outcome. When we listen, we free people from their unexpressed emotions to focus on an actual problem.
7. Self-regulation is the key – The ability to control negative and/or disruptive emotions and impulses can lead the path to being a successful mentor, guide and leader. It helps to reflect upon one’s thoughts before taking judgments. Self- awareness is the ability to understand, control and channelize one’s emotions to make better decisions. Awareness enables you to make rational decisions. Emotional Intelligence describes an optimal balance between your rational mind and emotions.
Please note this article was originally featured on BusinessWorld.