Every job involves some degree of human interaction, whether with managers, colleagues, direct reports, or external stakeholders like clients, customers, or partners. All of these human interactions have emotional dimensions, so that no matter how technical the topic of discussion, the psychological states of the people involved are critical to success. Because of how central emotion is to all professional activities, developing emotional intelligence (EI) is imperative. But what is emotional intelligence, and how can it be developed?
Emotional intelligence is the capacity to recognize, control, and express our own emotions, as well as the ability to recognize others’ emotions and manage interpersonal relationships with empathy. It influences every human interaction and is an essential skill to be an effective leader. One study found that emotional intelligence is the strongest predictor of performance and that 90 percent of high performers in the workplace possess high emotional intelligence. Furthermore, the World Economic Forum’s Future of Jobs Report indicates that social skills, including emotional intelligence, will be in high demand across industries by 2020. Put simply, having high EI can significantly improve your professional success, especially as a manager.