Emotional Intelligence (EI) and Its Role in Building a Successful Career 

You might have heard about a variety of traits that one should possess for building and maintaining a successful career. Lately you may hear more and more about the importance of Emotional Intelligence (EI), as one of the primary assets for a productive career path.


Why EI matter?

Understanding emotions and the role they play in our workplace is a crucial step toward building a successful career. By doing this we recognize and embrace the notion that at the end of the day we are all human beings, capable of feeling, even after shutting the office door. Human Resources departments are starting to slightly shift their focus. Nowadays, it is increasingly common for employers to offer individual and group psychological sessions, and provide mental health coverage in their insurance schemes. Knowing the dynamic nature of most workplaces, we often face difficult situations that require mature reactions. Taking this into account, among other reasons, EI matters so work acquaintances can easily overcome obstacles while doing no harm, not to themselves and not to others.


Qualities to look for in people with high EI

It is not a coincidence that, when picturing the image of a great and positive leader/employer, you and I tend to think of someone who does not lose his own temper, no matter the circumstances. We usually picture someone who responds to others with maturity. This person is also balanced, self-aware, and empathetic and has great social skills. EI has a lot to do with intelligently understanding and also managing your emotions, and those of others simultaneously.

overwhelmed yet calm
Emotional intelligent is easy under pressure

In this article, among other issues, we will thoroughly discuss the significance of EI in careers from a psychological point of view – to learn if it is innate, or acquired, or both.

The second part of this piece will focus on some general information and discussion as to whether EI can be learned or not, and if so, for how long? We will explore this through the lens of experts and their perspectives.


People with high EI tend to be well aware of their emotions and motives as well as of those of others

Psychologist Naim Telaku, in an exclusive interview with Youth Time, shares his view on this issue, illustrating EI’s importance and what are the attributes of an emotionally intelligent person.

EI stands for our ability to communicate both to ourselves and to other people based on wider perspectives. People with high EI tend to be well aware of their emotions and motives as well as of those of others, hence, they have an advantage in predicting their own behaviour and others as well. “

Telaku is of the opinion that EI is both innate and acquired or both. Yet, he continues, more of the latter.

It is likely that we have an inherited genetic tendency to find pleasure and meaning in social interactions, but the family circumstances, especially emotional validation for the youngsters till the age of 6 or 7, is of paramount importance with regard to those children’s lifetime social competence.

Telaku believes that when it comes to planning a successful career journey, the role of EI is bigger than we usually think it is.

formula for success
Formula for success

Based on my readings and professional experience, EI plays a crucial role not only in career building, but in the level of satisfaction that one derives out of everyday life during a lifetime as well. This should not come as a surprise considering that, based on our EI, we build our close relationships, present our social images, communicate to ourselves and to others, assert ourselves, and demand respect and good treatment from others.”

To be emotionally intelligent in a career, according to him, people should be open to themselves.

Get through hidden conflicts in the unconscious. That, followed by a constant work on one’s own social skills, while taking ever more risks, EI can be improved.

It is worth mentioning that he acknowledges that EI differs from Intelligence Quotient (IQ) because while IQ is the focus of thousands of hours of training in our education system, this is not the case with EI. This is because, according to him, for the vast majority of us, we got very little training or assistance in developing our innate emotional intelligence.

He believes that we are highly unlikely to have developed our emotional intelligence to its maximum potential.

There is hardly anyone who has who has gone through this kind of schooling. Thus, you have every chance of being able to benefit from working to develop it.


Is it possible to improve our emotional intelligence?

We have tracked down some of the basic concepts related to EI. However, the greatest difference can be made if we improve our emotional intelligence as each day passes by.

Is it possible to develop skills so we can learn to be more emotionally intelligent?

Rachel Green, Director, the Emotional Intelligence Institute, will answer this dilemma, and much more.


How long does it really take?

According to Green, who exclusively gave the author of this article the right to cite her work, EI is not “one thing”.

It is an intelligence involving a wide and comprehensive set of skills. You don’t just do one exercise to develop your emotional intelligence skills, you have to work on specific skill sets, and specific tasks, in specific areas, to reach specific goals.” Green asserts in this article.

She goes on by saying that, “It is a journey of a lifetime, but you can take a step each day to develop your emotional intelligence skills.

It may be concluded that a working environment is enriched if it has emotionally intelligent employees and employers as well. Naturally, this may slightly vary from one type of work to another, yet its significant impact seems to be among the key factors determining the success and effectiveness of a job or career.


Read more articles from the author.

Photos: Shutterstock / photomontage: Martina Advaney

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