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What makes Emotional Quotient important for career growth

Source | |  BY:Devashish Chakravarty,Director, Executive Search at

Someone who is smart, remembers data or has high technical skills will definitely succeed, right? Not really. Daniel Goleman, while researching hundreds of companies for his best-selling book, Emotional Intelligence, discovered that people with average intelligence routinely outperform smarter people at work and end up as successful leaders.

The missing link was EQ (Emotional Quotient) or the ability to understand and manage emotions of self and others. The good news is that though your IQ does not change from age 16 to 60, EQ is something you can develop. Here is how you can work towards your next promotion.

I am responsible
Learn to recognise yourself and your emotions. Self-awareness is the first quality of emotional intelligence for a leader. What do you feel and what circumstances and thoughts trigger those feelings? Observe your emotional ebb and flow at different times of the day and in different situations. Soon you will recognise that it is only your thoughts that trigger emotions and not the situation itself.

Start choosing what you think and observe what happens. For instance, by daydreaming about your vacation you can change your emotional state to happy. When you accept responsibility for your thoughts, then emotions, then actions and its consequences, you are a successful leader. The professional world bestows authority on those who are willing to take responsibility for both successful and failed outcomes.

I can take feedback
Your employer is interested in better results each time and thus wants successful team leaders like you to take feedback for constant improvement. So, the next step is your ability to handle criticism and feedback.Understand how you respond when someone criticises you or attacks your ideas. The survival instinct or the fight-or-flight response in the human brain causes an immediate and extreme surge of negative emotions.

As you recognise your instantaneous emotions, you gain power over them. Learn to pause and hear out the feedback. Your team wants you to be a leader they can talk to freely without being afraid of how you will react.

I exude confidence
After awareness of their own emotions, top professionals show control of emotions or self-regulation. When you can show confidence in all situations, you become a leader who people repose their faith in and a person to be promoted to leadership. Does emotional control sound difficult?

The process for mastery is quite simple. Press the pause button every time you feel emotional. Let the peak emotion of anger or fear pass away instead of hijacking your judgement. Now choose your best response and act. Essentially you re-learn how to be an adult by thinking before acting too quickly.

I want to achieve
Motivation is the third quality of EQ in a successful leader. Motivation is your desire to achieve—way beyond money, power or status. Your passion or enthusiasm for doing well at work gives you the energy to pursue challenges despite failure and frustration.

You derive happiness from pursuit of success and goals. Hence you are persistent and are willing to work hard to be happy. Your ability to invest in the present and postpone immediate rewards for long-term gains makes you a professional who inspires teams and leads successfully.

I hear you
Moving on from oneself, the next quality is social awareness or the ability to hear out the other person. Practice your listening skills. Firstly, be genuinely interested in what the other person has to say. Take out time to listen to him and suspend your judgement when you do so.

Make sure you have heard by paraphrasing your colleague and repeating what he said. The only measure here is that the speaker felt heard and understood.

I understand you
The stronger the bonds you build with people, the more successful you are as a leader. Show empathy and connect deeply. After you listen to what the other has said, learn to figure out what the speaker is feeling. When you treat people according to their emotional reactions and convey your own feelings, you show empathy to your colleagues.

I respect you
Relationship management comes after social awareness. Your social skills grow from your ability to respect others and earn respect in return. Practice courtesy and kindness irrespective of the other person’s status. As you become more gracious, you tend to avoid power struggles and backstabbing others, thus earning the respect of people around you.

The more common ground you find and the rapport you build, the larger will be your network and the more likely you will be in a managerial position soon.

I work with you
If you are going to be an agent of change, you will gain mastery over conflicts and learn how to work with others who differ from you in their views. Don’t be perturbed by conflicts and know that there will always be differences and power struggles in any bunch of people at work or otherwise.

When the conflict involves you, practice emotional detachment and treat it like a routine situation. When the conflict involves others, listen calmly to everyone and practice your mediation skills. Thus, the last step in relationship management is a successful leader’s ability to function beyond differences.


Agreeableness is one of the Big 5 traits that define your personality. You being cooperative and compassionate instead of confrontational or suspicious makes people see you as trustworthy. Teammates want to work with you while your employer wants you to lead them.

Malcolm Gladwell says 10,000 hours of deliberate practice makes you world class. Conscientiousness or planned behaviour driven by a desire to achieve gets you there. Get stuff done and your employer will conspire to make you succeed preferring you over others who are perceived to be unreliable or sloppy in their work.

Optimism, positivity, energy and talkativeness define your level of extraversion. When you start conversations with colleagues, they respond, leading to deeper bonds and smooth sailing at work. When you choose to be aloof, you cut yourself out from growth opportunities.



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