If you're looking for work right now, you've probably heard a lot about the importance of developing skills (with technology, for example) as an essential step toward getting hired. But, you may have noticed an awful lot of talk about soft skills, as well. Writing, public speaking, and teamwork are increasingly coveted by employers. High emotional intelligence helps you develop the other soft skills on your next employer's wishlist.
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1. The ability to understand and regulate your own emotions.
Think about a toddler and how they handle emotions. If they're tired or hungry, for example, they might cry or get angry, but they usually aren't aware that they are acting up because they need rest or food. They just know that they are unhappy and they reach out in an attempt to feel better.
As grownups, we are responsible for understanding and regulating our own emotions. It's okay to ask for what you need, but it's not okay to leverage emotional episodes, or even brief outbursts, toward another person when the problem is really between you and you. Workplaces call for at least a modicum of emotional maturity, and understanding your feelings and managing them appropriately is an important part of being a professional.
Everyone experiences negative emotions from time to time. But, the emotionally capable grownup is able to push past feelings of anxiety or awkwardness, for example, and shine anyway. A little self-doubt can't stop these folks. They know that sometimes fear just means that you're challenged or trying something new – it's no reason to shy away. Part of being emotionally competent is being able to effectively handle the difficult emotions that naturally arise for us all, without letting them rule our actions or behaviors.
3. The ability to adjust to change.
Change, though often unsettling, is a part of life. Things can't and don't stay the same forever. So, as an employed adult, you should expect change to hit your workplace on a semi-regular basis. This means turnover of people, ideas, ways of doing things, changes to physical spaces, and pretty much anything else you can think of. These changes will sometimes come quickly and really take you by surprise. But, someone who is emotionally adept should be able to roll with the punches pretty well here. Change is a part of life. By a certain point, emotionally intelligent adults learn to adapt to changes rather than feel panicked by them.
Emotionally intelligent people are self-motivated. They are driven to learn, to grow, and to take on fresh challenges – mainly because they're not held back by negative emotions like fear, anxiety, or lack of motivation. Emotionally intelligent people tend to be resilient and optimistic, so a new task (or even just a full day) doesn't bother them as much as it does others. Their motivation comes from within, and it fuels itself.
5. The ability to help others.
When you're emotionally strong and aware, you're able to help others. You start by building understanding, through listening closely and carefully, and through compassion. Next, emotionally intelligent people are able to help others. Sometimes, just demonstrating that compassionate understanding is enough to do the trick, but these folks are also able to offer practical advice or even actual wisdom. When you're emotionally able, other folks will naturally gravitate toward you for guidance and help. And, you're able to joyfully provide them with it.
Related: 6 perks you should always negotiate before accepting a job offer
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