You may be smart, but that might not be enough in today’s job market. More companies are looking for those who are emotionally savvy as well.
Trevor Blair, director of executive search for Manpower San Diego, a local employment agency, said the importance of a high EQ — also known as emotional intelligence — cannot be understated, especially for “knowledge workers, Millennials and members of the creative class” who simply “don’t respond to old-school methods of motivation in the workplace.”
But what exactly is emotional intelligence?
Travis Bradberry, author of the book "Emotional Intelligence 2.0," has described it this way: “Emotional intelligence is the ‘something’ in each of us that is a bit intangible. It affects how we manage behavior, navigate social complexities, and make personal decisions that achieve positive results.”
What’s even more interesting, according to Bradberry, is that EQ might be more important than IQ, or intelligence quotient, as studies have found that “people with average IQs outperform those with the highest IQs 70 percent of the time.”
While Blair said some business types continue to think of EQ as some “fluffy, new-agey mumbo jumbo that has no place in a fast-paced company fighting to survive in a competitive marketplace,” the smart companies are realizing its true value.
“The fact is no leader can reach their potential without it,” he said. “In order to understand other people and what motivates them to perform at their best, you first have to understand yourself.”
But EQ can be about more than leadership potential — it can also translate in real dollars, according to Bradberry. “People with a high degree of emotional intelligence make more money — an average of $29,000 more per year than people with a low degree of emotional intelligence,” he writes. “The link between emotional intelligence and earnings is so direct that every point increase in emotional intelligence adds $1,300 to an annual salary."
The good news is that unlike IQ — which is considered to be static and unchangeable no matter how much you study or work to improve it — emotional intelligence can be boosted.
Interested in finding out what your EQ is and how to develop it? UC San Diego Extension through its Center for Life/Work Strategies offers what is known as an “EQ-i 2.0” assessment. After the assessment, a person meets with a licensed career coach to review the results and provide recommendations. In addition, the Center for Life/Work Strategies offers a free three-hour seminar on the importance of EQ twice a year. Visit our Career Services resource to find out more.