How Emotional Intelligence Works and Helps You Succeed


Emotional intelligence (EI) is important for building relationships, but it encompasses so much more. Studies have shown EI is crucial in developing paths toward professional and personal success. If your emotional intelligence is strong, you’ll be more likely to maintain fulfillment and prosperity, financially and in many other areas of life. Let’s dive in and explore how emotional intelligence works.

Four Key Components to Emotional Intelligence

EI has four key components – self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, and relationship management. These factors feed into and off each other. A self-aware person will experience more success in relationships, and a person with high social awareness is often good at managing his or her emotions and reactions. EI has nothing to do with your IQ or personality, although EI, IQ, and personality often work together.

Your personality may influence how you respond in relationships or how you approach self-awareness. Your IQ may influence how you choose to express the way you feel and how fluid that expression is. However, emotional intelligence isn’t fixed or inborn as are IQ and personality; it can be taught and developed.

How Emotional Intelligence Helps You Succeed

Studies have shown that 90% of the most successful people have high emotional intelligence. EI is a key predictor of success in 58% of jobs across all career fields. A high emotional quotient leads to greater empathy, more effective time management, better communication, and higher tolerance for change. These skills, among others, are the ones employers value most in employees. When employers see these skills, they can build more trust between themselves and employees, which leads to more-effective workplaces.

emotional intelligence successWhile people often consider emotional intelligence a soft skill, it helps you develop hard skills as well. Hard skills are the tangible skills and talents you need to succeed in your field. Knowledge of grammar and literature is a hard skill for an English teacher. A hard skill for an attorney is the knowledge of court procedures. When combined with hard skills, high EI is shown to cause financial success.

People with high EIs make more money than those with low EIs – sometimes over $1,000 more than their fellow workers. Financial success naturally leads to more confidence, which feeds right back into increasing your EI.

Increasing Your Emotional Intelligence

How do you know what your emotional intelligence is, and how can you increase it? There are several ways to discover your EI, including a plethora of detailed online surveys. Invest some time in these, and consider asking coworkers or supervisors what their perception of your EI is.

Once you know your emotional intelligence, you can train your brain to increase it. You can raise your EI with:

  • Positive thinking and statements. Instead of, “You’re always late” or “You never keep your promises,” say, “I feel tense when you don’t show up on time” or “It disappoints me when you don’t follow through on what you said you’d do. Can I help with that?”
  • Relaxation. The workplace is often stressful, but stress management raises your emotional intelligence. The next time you feel stressed, take a simple action such as going for a short walk or doing a breathing exercise.
  • Affirmation. Instead of saying, “I’m no good at this task” or “I’m going to fail,” tell yourself, “Okay, I need to ask for help.”

You can also easily employ these same techniques with the children in your life. Learn more about the connection between emotional intelligence and children in one of our recent articles.


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