A Short Primer on Understanding Emotional Intelligence and It’s Impact on Landing Employment

Emotional Intelligence is a key factor that significantly impacts the likelihood of your securing employment. Emotional Intelligence Quotient or EQ is the sociological term which refers to the cluster of personality traits, social graces, communication, language, personal habits, friendliness, attitudes and optimism that mark a person. It is a gauge of how well a person will “fit” or excel in a particular social structure namely the new potential place of employment.

According to most recruiters, headhunters, human resources hiring professionals there are two primary considerations in the hiring/selection process; i.e., what an employer considers in making an employment decision. These are: (1) a candidate’s technical or hard skills and (2) a candidate’s “fit” that is chemistry, personality. This probably is not a surprise. But what may be a surprise is the impact each has on the hiring decision. Technical skills are only 10-20% of the decision. That means “fit” is a whopping 80-90% of the employment determination.

Given that (coupled with today’s tight job market), an interviewee’s emotional intelligence needs to be honed as they enter the job market, especially for job interviews.

There are four core EQ abilities. These are:

• Self-awareness. This is the ability to recognize your own emotions and understand how they affect your thoughts and behavior; know your strengths and weaknesses; and have self-confidence.
• Self-management. This is the ability to control impulsive feelings and behaviors; manage your emotions in healthy ways; take initiative; follow through on commitments; and adapt to changing circumstances.
• Social awareness. This is the ability to understand the emotions, needs, and concerns of other people; pick up on emotional cues; feel comfortable socially; and recognize the power dynamics in a group or organization.
• Relationship management. This is the ability to develop and maintain good relationships; communicate clearly; inspire and influence others; work well in a team; and manage conflict.
The traits that comprise a person’s EQ are sometimes referred to as soft skills. Soft skills are the non-technical, intangible personality traits that determine your strengths as a leader, listener, negotiator, and conflict mediator.

Soft skills differ from hard skills. Hard skills are part of a person’s Intelligence Quotient or IQ. Soft skills are the particular personality traits that allow an individual to effectively use their hard skills.

EQ is almost impossible to measure. On the other hand, our abilities to memorize and problem-solve, to spell words and do mathematical calculations and the skills that make up our IQ are easily measured by written tests.

However, IQ is usually less important in determining how successful we are than EQ. We all know people who are academically brilliant and yet are socially inept and unsuccessful. What they are missing is emotional intelligence.

Given the importance of EQ in the hiring process, one should take action to improve and enhance. One can boost their EQ by simply understanding the skills that comprise EQ. Here’s an exhaustive list (though not all inclusive) in no particular order, of the skills or attributes that make up one’s EQ:

• Ability to be a team player, lead, participate, unite and work effectively with a team
• Ability to lead, teach, coach, inspire.
• Nonverbal communication skills; body language.
• Strong work ethnic.
• Positive “winning” attitude.
• Ability to accept and learn from criticism and stay positive.
• Time management skills.
• Problem-solving skills.
• Self confidence.
• Flexibility, adaptability.
• Listening skills.
• Critical thinking.
• Conflict resolution.
• Focused, driven.
• Action-oriented.
• Motivation; ability to motivate oneself and others.
• Working well under pressure.
• Negotiation skills.
• Exude confidence.
• Creativity; thinking outside the box.
• Ability to multitask and prioritize.
• Ability to read others, listen to them, observe them.
• Ability to see the big picture.
• Political astuteness.
• Knowing thyself; ability to self assess.

Improving your EQ, means you need to find how to manager your emotions and behaviors. Then you need to learn to manage those behaviors necessary to succeed in a job interview and ultimately in the business environment.

To improve your EQ, self-analysis and the following steps are suggested.

• Reduce stress rapidly and reliably. When under high levels of stress, rational thinking and decision making are more difficult. Learn to manage stress. Be resilience; stay balanced, focused and in-control.
• Connect to your emotions and feel comfortable with them. You need to understand your emotions and connect to them. You can not avoid your emotions. You need to be emotionally aware and manage them.
• Understand and effectively use nonverbal communication. Nonverbal communication sends messages. They show you are listening, that you care. You need to manage your nonverbal messages and to be able to read those from other people.
• Use humor and play to deal with challenges. Humor helps lighten your burdens. Humor helps you take hardships in stride, smooth over differences and promotes relaxation, energy and creativity.
• Resolve conflicts with confidence and self-assurance. Conflict cannot be avoided. So learn to resolve and manage it. Learn to diffuse and forgive.

EQ is an important element of any job search, as well as being an important aspect for managing both our personal and professional lives. Work to understand your EQ and improve/enhance your EQ before you head into your job search and the job interview process.

Jim Yoakum is an accomplished executive leader with over 25 years of diversified (financial services, insurance, manufacturing and governmental) experience in risk management, internal control, regulatory affairs, operations and systems, law, compliance and taxation/accounting. He has many successes achieved in managing the creation of new or changing/evolving functions and managing projects/programs in resolution of significant issues. Jim has strong project/program management skills, using an inherent logical thought process honed by many years of technical training, were germane to these successes. He possesses the ability to manage human resources in a changing environment with passion, creativity, results-orientation and self-motivation. Jim is resilient, acts with decisiveness and to foster/adapt to change and new environments. Most importantly, Jim never wants to stop learning; never to stop helping others. He continues to develop and educate with writing, mentoring and networking.

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Emotional Intelligence – Paving The Way to Success

Let me begin with a small story…

Brian and Martha were classmates in their high school. While Brian was voted the most popular student for his friendliness and charm, Martha was not so popular but she was an intellectually brilliant student with high hopes for her future. She found it difficult to mingle with most of the students as they were not as smart as she was. Years later, Martha is a lawyer; however she still has the same problem of forming relationships. On the other hand, Brian is a happily married man and running his own business. He did not go to a college but is happy and contented in his life. Ironically, they lived in the same neighborhood where Brian is the most talked about person and President of the neighborhood whereas Martha still chooses to live aloof. Though she is professionally sound, yet not many of her clients do like her as she cannot empathize with them.

Thus, Martha though intelligent but lack of EI is a hindrance to her being a popular lawyer where as Brian with average IQ becomes happy and successful in life with his excellent EI skills.

But, what is EI and why is it so important for success?

Emotional Intelligence (EI), often measured as an Emotional Intelligence Quotient (EQ), is a term that describes the ability to identify, assess and manage the emotions of one’s self and appropriately respond to others and motivate them.

Hiring the right person with right skill is of main concern for the head hunters. With the advent of technology, hiring process has become increasingly complex; companies not only focus on the hard skills (e.g., technical expertise, work experience and education) but also the assessment of personality traits. Competencies like stress management, assertiveness skills and empathy are critical success factor which should not be overlooked.

Emotional Intelligence consists of several, well-defined basic competencies that absolutely anyone can learn. Some of the competences which an emotionally intelligent individual should have are as follows:

Self-Awareness – the ability to know one’s internal states, preferences, resources and intuitions. This includes:
Emotional Awareness: recognizing one’s emotions and their impacts
Self-Assessment: knowing own strengths and limits
Self-Confidence: believing in one’s self-worth and capabilities

Self-Regulation – managing one’s internal states, impulses and resources. This includes:
Self-Control: keeping disruptive emotions and impulses in check
Trustworthiness: maintaining standards of honesty and integrity
Conscientiousness: taking responsibility for personal performance
Adaptability: flexibility in handling change
Innovation: being comfortable with new ideas, novel approaches and new information

Self-Expectations and Motivation – the emotional tendencies that guide or facilitate the reaching of goals. This includes:
Achievement Drive: striving to improve or meet a standard of excellence
Commitment: aligning with the goals of the group or organization
Initiative: readiness to act on opportunities
Optimism: pursuing goals despite obstacles and setbacks

Empathy – awareness of others’ feelings needs and concerns. This includes:
Understanding Others: sensing the feelings and perspectives of others and taking an active interest in their concerns
Developing Others: sensing the development needs of others and bolstering their abilities
Service Orientation: anticipating, recognizing and meeting customer needs
Leveraging Diversity: cultivating opportunities through different kinds of people

Social Skills – adeptness at inducing desirable responses in others. This includes:
Influence: employing effective tactics for persuasion
Communicate: listening actively and sending convincing messages
Manage Conflict: negotiating and resolving disagreements
Leadership: inspiring and guiding individuals and groups
Change Catalyst: initiating or managing change
Build Bonds: nurturing instrumental relationships
Collaboration and Cooperation: working with others towards shared goals
Team Spirit: creating group synergy in pursuing collective goals
Political Awareness: reading a group’s emotional currents and power relationships
Emotional Sensitivity : ability and capacity to effectively understanding intensity of emotional arousal, managing the immediate environment and controlling negative emotions like anger, irritation, excessive anxiety etc.

Impact in Workplace
Ever since the researchers found out that individuals with high EQ are more productive that others, importance of EI in workplace has been acknowledged. Since, workplace includes groups of people with varying ideas and opinions, effective EI or EQ is necessary to achieve target. We are emotional beings and all our actions and reactions are determined by our emotions. EQ is not about being nice neither about unleashing our emotions. It is about being aware of our emotions and able to express feelings appropriately and effectively. Effective management of emotions improves the quality of our decisions thus making us more productive.

Studies show that people with high EQ are the best performers and have high levels of interpersonal skills and thus are more satisfied at work. Emotionally balanced employees are empathetic, adaptable, self-aware, self-confident, transparent, optimistic, inspirational leaders and good at managing disagreements and stress. With strong EI one can control, direct, lead and manage his or her own moods and impulses, and communicate with others much effectively. Individual with high EI are good problem solvers and decision makers. They can skillfully prioritize their task and quickly realize their goals.

An exciting fact about EQ is that unlike our IQ which does not change after our teens, EQ can continue to grow and develop as it largely is a learned area of expertise.

Pat J. is a contributing writer to Jobsbridge. Jobsbridge is a fast growing I.T Job & Career Portal. Thousands of jobs are posted by technology staffing companies, recruiters and direct employers on a regular basis. Employers & Jobseekers will find this site very uncluttered and has some great feature set.

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How Emotional Intelligence Has Redefined Workplace Competencies

When psychologist and author Daniel Goleman published his book Emotional Intelligence in 1996, few might have predicted how great of an impact it would have on the business world.

Two years later, in 1998, Goleman carried his emotional intelligence (EQ) research into the workplace and published Working With Emotional Intelligence. It began a shift in thinking that would take the business world by storm. More research was conducted and Fortune 500 companies began implementing EQ principles into their operations.

With even better research and some surprising new findings, Goleman wrote The Emotionally Intelligent Workplace, published in 2001. More and more large organizations began paying attention to the idea of Emotional Intelligence and the trend continues to grow today.

Goleman’s research began in 1990 when he was a science reporter for the New York Times. He stumbled across an article in a scientific journal in which the two authors, both notable psychology professors, introduced the concept of emotional intelligence. Goleman was fascinated by the idea. It led to a pursuit that has defined much of his professional life and success.

The idea of emotional intelligence began as a look into how the brain processes emotions. The study eventually evolved into identifying intricate patterns of how individuals view themselves, work with each other and manage relationships. These principles proved to be valuable in professional, academic and personal success. According to the research, those individuals with naturally high EQ were more likely to succeed.

Where EQ differs from IQ however, is that the principles of EQ can be strengthened and learned, even at a rapid pace. Organizations worldwide have taken advantage of this, implementing emotional intelligence training and competency development into their work environments.

In the workplace, EQ is essentially one’s ability to self-assess, understand others and effectively maintain working relationships. Those with high EQ skills have proven to be much more successful in the workplace. In addition, EQ has proven to be the difference in those with high leadership potential.

In little more than a decade, these concepts have poured though the corporate world with enormous amounts of success. In most organizations, lists of competencies are now smattered with EQ driven skills. Whether a company recognizes those skills as coming from the EQ revolution or not may be debatable. While many organizations have gleaned some pieces, many of the concepts are just now being understood for the first time.

One thing is certain, however. Emotional Intelligence has moved beyond the image of a fad and has proven to be an avenue for increased success in the workplace and leadership development. Now more than 15 years since Goleman published his first book on EQ, the results have exceeded everyone’s expectations. Goleman’s research has truly revolutionized the way most companies approach training and development.

Ryan McSparran is a freelance business writer. Ryan covers topics related to organizational development, including the importance of emotional intelligence in the workplace.

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