EQ | 6 tips to becoming a star performer

iStock_000018817809SmallDid you know that people with high EQ, or emotional intelligence, earn at least $29,000 more per year than others? Turns out that EQ is twice as important as technical skills and IQ for job performance at all levels.

A recent NICSA webinar featuring a speaker from Eaton Vance and expert Jen Shirkani, president and CEO of the Penumbra Group, took a look at research showing that employees with high EQ have more successful careers, make more money, and have more influence.

The best news about EQ? It can be learned.

Here are 6 tips and tools for developing your EQ and boosting your star power:

  1. Develop better self-awareness – Becoming more self-aware requires a deeper understanding of what drives you. Self-knowledge can help you moderate or emphasize your defining traits appropriately when interacting with others. Becoming more socially aware is the second piece. It’s important to stay connected to how others perceive you and your actions, unlike the boss on The Office.
    Suggested tools/techniques: 360-degree reviews.
  2. Increase your empathy – True empathy requires more than just acknowledging someone’s pain. It entails picking up on emotional cues that indicate how someone is responding to you or to a situation. In a digital age, different communication forms may be required. Doing something that may make you uncomfortable, like talking face-to-face, could improve the chances your message is received accurately. Remember: You may not always feel empathy, but you can still demonstrate it.
    Suggested tools/techniques: Telephone, video conferencing, distraction elimination.
  3. Work on self-control – An important part of self-awareness is self-control, or the ability to manage our impulses. Sometimes self-control is about stopping yourself from reacting in a way that will have negative consequences. Sometimes it’s about taking a different approach to solve a problem. So much is out of our control, but the one thing we can control is our own behavior.
    Suggested tools/techniques: Get out of your comfort zone. Practice impulse management.
  4. Boost your stress tolerance – Stress affects your reactions. If you have low self-control, your tolerance for stress tends to be low.
    Suggested tools/techniques: Don’t neglect yourself, especially during stressful times.
  5. Become more flexible – Flexibility is about getting out of your comfort zone. When was the last time you took a “stretch” assignment that really challenged you? Flexible employees constantly challenge their comfort zones, managing change little by little so it doesn’t throw them too far off.
    Suggested tools/techniques: Face what you don’t know. Challenge yourself.
  6. Be optimistic – Optimism is correlated with success. Where optimists see each problem as an individual occurrence, a pessimist sees each problem as the grand plan against them, akin to a victim mindset. The good news? You’re not born one or the other. Optimism can be learned.
    Suggested tools/techniques: Develop a positive attitude – it can take you far.

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