Earning a higher salary is a key goal that many of us strive for and it’s often how we measure our career success. While for a long time having a high IQ has been considered a strong predictor for career success, there’s new measure for intelligence that could be even more important.
New research has revealed that people with high emotional intelligence are more likely to have higher wages. Researchers have tested students for emotional intelligence during their studies and then tracked their career path over 10 years. The results show that those who scored highly on the emotional intelligence test went on to earn higher salaries across all industries.
Emotional intelligence is all about being able to understand your own emotions as well as other people’s. This is an extremely valuable skill in the workplace as you will be able to more accurately motivate and influence the behaviour of others.
The students with high EI who took part in the study went on to embed themselves deeply in the social networks of their companies. To put things simply – they are very good at making friends with a wide variety of people at work. Because of this, they have access to more information and knowledgeable colleagues. This, in turn, enables them to better improve their own performance and increase their salary.
Having knowledgeable and skilled mentors can have a huge impact on your career progression. The best mentors want to help those who are self-aware and perceptive i.e. those with high emotional intelligence. Indeed, the people with the highest emotional intelligence in the study were more likely to have senior mentors who helped them to boost their career success.
People with high EI are:
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It’s easier to see how being emotionally intelligent becomes even more important as you climb your career ladder and progress to management. Building rapport and inspiring others are crucial in management roles and the further up your organisation your progress, the higher your salary will be.
The best place to start with building your emotional intelligence is to focus on you. Try to be more self-aware and make an effort to notice your emotional reactions to different situations. Think about how these reactions will be perceived by others and take on board feedback you receive.
Next, you should be getting involved in team activities at work and throw yourself into any activities that involve social interaction. The more you are involved, the better you will get at handling social situations and being empathetic.
Finally, push yourself to find coaching and development opportunities. This may include working with mentors, tutors or different colleagues. Ask others for their feedback and make an effort to take this on board and improve where you can.
If you can start implementing these changes, you’ll boost your emotional intelligence, career success and earning potential all in one go!
This article is based on findings from the research paper “A time-lagged study of emotional intelligence and salary”, co-authored by Aarti Ramaswami, professor of management and academic director of ESSEC Global MBA.