7 Surprising Ways Emotional Intelligence Will Get You Ahead At Work

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Alex Wilson
Alex Wilson
June 24, 2024 at 5:5PM UTC

There are a lot of valuable skills to have in the workplace: problem-solving, public speaking, team building, self-awareness, etc. but there’s one skill that’s consistently underrated by professionals and the companies they work for: emotional intelligence.

Emotional intelligence is important to building interpersonal relationships and understanding the emotions of yourself and others.  Having high EQ levels means that you’re flexible, good at receiving criticism and are a team player. It’s also an important asset when negotiating, whether it’s for yourself or for your company.
Emotional intelligence, more so than your IQ (intelligence quotient), will help you get ahead at work. Here are some surprising ways your EQ can help you climb the corporate ladder and earn more respect.
1. You can understand others’ perspectives. High levels of emotional intelligence translate to high levels of empathy, meaning that you have a stronger understanding of where your coworkers’ perspectives in various situations. By considering how Sally has come to see Issue X with Y perspective, you can find solutions and compromises more efficiently.
2. You’ll get more opportunities. Emotionally intelligent people are likable, full stop. It’s human nature that we’re drawn to working with people that we like, and being emotionally intelligent is crucial to growing personal relationships. These relationships don’t just lead to stronger friendships, they can also bolster your career prospects. Case in point? A boss that likes you is much more likely to introduce you to a fellow department head as opposed to one that doesn’t.
3. Your mistakes are more easily forgiven. Did you accidentally leave somebody off of an email chain? Don’t worry — it happens. But by being emotionally intelligent, i.e. more likable, your coworkers are more likely to see these as accidental instead of as passive aggressive. By having the benefit of the doubt, you’ll have more leeway to move forward in your career without any unnecessary obstacles.
4. You will lead more effectively. High emotional intelligence leads to stronger communication skills, which are the foundation of strong leadership. Your team members will see that you care and that you’re willing to listen to (and address) their concerns; that will earn you respect in the workplace and beyond.
5. You can see the big picture. Understanding that “things happen” and that you’re able to work around them is a large part of being emotionally intelligent. (It’s also one of the reasons we love flex work schedules!) By not getting caught up in the details, you’ll be able to focus on the big picture. The ups and downs of everyday life won’t stop you from being a #bosslady.
6. You’ll know how to read a room. Knowing what meetings you can crack jokes in and which ones you can’t is a highly underrated skill. Developing your emotional intelligence means that you’ll be able to read situations better and faster, a.k.a. you won’t accidentally make any inappropriate jokes in the near future.
7. You’ll get smarter. Unfortunately, this doesn’t mean that being emotionally intelligent means that you’ll wake up and *suddenly* be smarter. What it means is that those with high levels of emotional intelligence are naturally curious: they want to know more about the people they work with, about the subjects they’re working on and more about situations in general. Making the effort to learn more inevitably means that you will learn more. Not just about your job, but about the world around you as well.

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