We recently published the best New Year’s resolutions to make this year for your career. We had so much great advice from industry experts and wanted to give you more information on trends and actionable plans. You have your goals, but how do you keep them top of mind and follow through? This series will expand on the advice from thought leaders and give you specific tasks to achieve your career goals.
Dorothy Tannahill-Moran, the Introvert Whisperer and career expert, explains what exactly EQ is and why it’s so important for your career.
1. Everyone is talking about how important EQ, emotional intelligence, is lately. So what is it exactly and how can we get more of it?
The simple definition of Emotional Intelligence is about your ability to interact effectively with others. If you look it up the definition of it is: the capacity to be aware of, control, and express one’s emotions, and to handle interpersonal relationships judiciously and empathetically. In recent years, scientists have studied enough aspects about human behavior that we now know our ability to be successful in work and in life will be based on the relationships we form. This is not about making every person you encounter your new best friend. This about becoming astute enough in each situation you are in to know how to achieve a mutually beneficial outcome.
As we mature, we are taught to pick up on social queues and to respond to that queue in an appropriate manner. Some people pick up their emotional intelligence somewhat intuitively while others seem to have gaps in their abilities; which cause them to “sputter” along. We all have some gaps in EQ; it’s just a matter as to what degree, which means we can all improve. Fortunately, EQ is something you can learn through reading and classes. Any information related to personality types, learning styles, body language and communications help to develop your EQ. While you are learning, you also have to develop a sense of your own ways of relating to the world around you. As an example, many of my fellow introverts tend to focus on a task rather than people so they can often seem aloof. We need to make a special effort to greet others and to take a few minutes to be friendly and interactive before disappearing in our work. Therefore EQ is about understanding both you PLUS how the other person is showing up so you know how to modify your approach to get the best possible outcome.
2. Creating connections on LinkedIn is great, but how can job seekers use EQ to network outside of the Internet?
Using your EQ to meet other people in person accelerates the connection between you and the other person. Emotional Intelligence will allow you to be more “tuned in” to another person so you can modify your interaction, as the situation requires. Being in the presence of another person allows you to make more observations, which the Internet simply doesn’t support.
3. How can a focus on employee emotional intelligence benefit companies and the working environment?
There could be tremendous benefit to a company that offers or supports classes to improve EQ for its employees. It would create a highly effective workforce because the employees would be able to work together at top potential. Along with that, the workforce would be highly satisfied and it would reduce turnover. It would be a win-win for everyone.
4. What are some of your favorite books and educational classes for learning more on emotional intelligence?
I think a good place to start is by taking the Meyers-Briggs personality assessment. It would be even better to have the entire group you work with also take the assessment. As part of doing that, you want to think about not only what you learn about your personality but the personality of others. You can buy books with the assessment or find someone to administer, teach and coach you.
I also think books or preferably classes on conflict management and constructive confrontation are good skills to learn. Most people are very poor in this area and tend to approach problems with others either by avoiding or by anger. Either way never produces a good outcome and usually damages a relationship. Become a student in human behavior. It’s one of the best investments you can make.