Emotional Intelligence Predicts Performance
How much of an impact does Emotional Intelligence have on your professional success? The short answer is: a lot! It’s a powerful way to focus your energy in one direction with a tremendous result. TalentSmart tested Emotional Intelligence alongside 33 other important workplace skills and found that Emotional Intelligence is the strongest predictor of performance, explaining a full 58 percent of success in all types of jobs.
Your Emotional Intelligence is the foundation for a host of critical skills—it impacts most everything you do and say each day.
Of all the people we’ve studied at work, says TalentSmart, we have found that 90 percent of top performers are also high in Emotional Intelligence. On the flip side, just 20 percent of bottom performers are high in Emotional Intelligence. You can still be a top performer without Emotional Intelligence, but the chances are slim.
Naturally, people with a high degree of Emotional Intelligence make more money—an average of $29,000 more per year than people with a low degree of Emotional Intelligence. As mentioned earlier, the link between Emotional Intelligence and earnings is so direct that every point increase in emotional intelligence adds $1,300 to an annual salary. These findings hold true for people in all industries, at all levels, in every region of the world. We haven’t yet been able to find a job in which performance and pay aren’t tied closely to Emotional Intelligence.
Can I Improve My Emotional Intelligence?
The communication between your emotional and rational “brains” is the physical source of Emotional Intelligence. The pathway for Emotional Intelligence starts in the brain, at the spinal cord. Your primary senses enter here and must travel to the front of your brain before you can think rationally about your experience. However, first they travel through the limbic system, the place where emotions are generated. So, we have an emotional reaction to events before our rational mind is able to engage. Emotional Intelligence requires effective communication between the rational and emotional centers of the brain.
Plasticity is the term neurologists use to describe the brain’s ability to change. As you discover and practice new Emotional Intelligence skills, the billions of microscopic neurons lining the road between the rational and emotional centers of your brain branch off small “arms” (much like a tree) to reach out to the other cells. A single cell can grow 15,000 connections with its neighbors. This chain reaction of growth ensures that it’s easier to launch a new behavior into action if and when you decide to do so.
As you train your brain by repeatedly practicing new emotionally intelligent behaviors, your brain builds the pathways needed to make them into habits. Before long, you begin responding to your surroundings with Emotional Intelligence without even having to think about it. And just as your brain reinforces the use of new behaviors, the connections supporting old, destructive behaviors will die off as you learn to limit your use of them.
So when you see a more mature individual, who is surprisingly agile, coherent and happy, remember, they probably kept training their brain to be active and youthful, proving once again, we can improve and keep enhancing our Emotional Intelligence, no matter where we are in our lives.