However, a new wave of research indicates that it is the individuals with the highest EQs – measuring emotional intelligence – that are ultimately likely to take home the biggest salary packages.
The Journal of Vocational Behaviour published a study in August, which assessed American university graduates for EQ scores during their studies. They then assessed their subsequent working lives for the following ten years.
The findings showed that the individuals with the highest emotional intelligence scores went on to enjoy higher salaries than their peers with lower EQ scores, regardless of the industry in which they worked.
What can we draw from this study in order to benefit our own careers and earnings? The important takeaway is that emotional intelligence measures the ability to interpret the behaviours and emotions of other people.
If you apply this skill in your role, you can become better at influencing and motivating others – becoming a better leader, manager and employee in the process.
People with advanced EI skills are adept at applying them to become a vital part of the business’s internal social network. They make a lot of friends and contacts and build a large network. This gives them vital access to similarly linked colleagues and internal information.
This, in turn, allows them to perform better, to be seen as valuable sources of internal knowledge and to enjoy a higher wage.
The same quality is also highly attractive for business mentors. Any individual knows intuitively that the best mentor will be emotionally aware and balanced, perceptive to the emotions and needs of others and naturally able to express rapport and build relationships.
Again, people with the highest levels of EI will be good at gaining their own like-minded senior mentors, who are able to positively guide their own careers.
Those with high levels of EI can also learn from their errors and are open to hearing constructive criticism. Those with lower levels are less inclined to take criticism on board as a learning opportunity, and this failure to develop and improve will ultimately hold back their career success.
Strong self-management and regulation is another key benefit of high EI. Those with EI skills will know how to understand, manage and adapt their feelings and subsequent behaviours. This allows them to manage complex situations at work.
The value of EI also becomes more critical as you progress in your career. Most senior roles need leaders who are naturally able to empathise, motivate and inspire others. Those who can will invariably be more successful.
To develop your own EQ, begin by becoming more aware and being consciously mindful of your thoughts and reactions to different situations, considering how your response leads you to be perceived by others.
Get involved in situations at work that require social interaction and help to develop your empathy and understanding of how to handle difficult situations well.
Seek out mentors and teachers who can help you to develop and access that vital social network. Begin by asking for feedback – and then make sure you act on it.
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