No factor can accurately predict personal success better than emotional intelligence.
Emotional intelligence, or EQ, is a measure of how in tune you are with both your personal emotions and the emotions of others. EQ encompasses a whole lot more than feelings, too. It also involves a sense of awareness in regards to how people tend to react and make decisions in response to certain stimuli. Therefore, emotional intelligence can help you become more self-aware of your own reactions while helping you predict or intuit the reactions of others.
Gaining EQ skills is particularly important for those who seek success. 90 percent of the world’s top performers have a high EQ, and studies track 58 percent of all career success to EQ-derived skills and traits. Studies have also shown that emotional intelligence can factor into employability, leadership potential and relationship success both in professional and personal lives. They also indicate that those with a high EQ tend to be happier and have better mental health overall.
So, if you want to find success in sales and other careers, follow these guidelines to learn how to flex your EQ muscles and start strengthening them gradually.
Emotional Intelligence Starts with More Accurate Self-Perception
We humans certainly are a narcissistic lot! We tend to ignore our worst traits and exaggerate our best ones. We also tend to diminish our role in negative outcomes and amplify it in positive ones.
Paradoxically, narcissism can also include self-pity, and not just cockiness. If we spend all day obsessing over whether someone thought we acted like a doofus at the company Christmas party when in reality they did not give your behavior a second thought, that is also a form of self-centered thinking.
So, try to diminish the effect your ego can have on your thought process and instead try to be legitimately more self aware. Unlike being self conscious, being self aware means paying attention to your surroundings, your actions and your body language at all times while still remaining relaxed.
You can increase self-awareness through exercises, such as asking “why?” three times before making a decision and being honest with the answers. Over time, you can stop deceiving yourself and focus more objectively on your actions and behaviors.
Learn to Focus on Others
Part of getting out of your own head is getting inside others. Start by becoming a better listener. Pay close attention to the body language and behaviors of others. Ask people questions about their feelings, their emotions and the decisions they make.
Try not to make assumptions or ask leading questions else you turn into Dr. House, but instead truly try to understand people as they see themselves, not how you see them. Focusing on others can quickly lead to being more empathetic as well as more intuitive about how people might react to something.
Practice Self Control and Social Awareness
Once you become more self aware, you can deliberately put a stop to habits that you know may cause others to feel uncomfortable or irritated.
People generally enjoy being around someone who is trusting, friendly, cooperative, humble and generous. They find these traits rewarding. Unrewarding people are often guarded, suspicious, selfish and pessimistic, and they often will not hesitate to “speak their mind” in a cruel way.
You can start adopting the more congenial traits by acknowledging other people’s perspectives and being less quick to judge or dismiss something. You can also learn to display humility, even if it’s fake, in order to avoid sounding arrogant or combative.
Finally, recognize when emotion may cause you to make a decision — such as getting irritated after someone asks the same question in a meeting three weeks in a row — and try to wait until your emotion has subsided before responding.
Doing all this takes time, and like any quest for self-change, we gradually learn lessons and improve. We can’t all go from being Larry David to the Dalai Lama overnight, but with practice, we can learn to be smarter about others’ emotions and our own in an effort to build better relationships with both our clients and our co-workers.
Having great business coaching for sales reps can help, too, so do not overlook the power of inspiration, guidance and personal feedback when it comes to building your EQ skills.