Financial Post: The biggest predictor of career success? Not Skill or Education – but emotional intelligence

Whether you’re working in a classroom, on your first job search, trying to advance your career, or looking for the candidate to take your business to the next level, you’re probably wondering what determines future career success. Research in the last decade is pointing to something that has previously been considered a “soft skill” or a “nice to have” – emotional intelligence.

“While intelligence has been the most consistent factor in determining job success, the definition of intelligence has expanded to include emotional intelligence.”

– Financial Post: The biggest predictor of career success? Not Skill or Education – but emotional intelligence

Emotional intelligence (EQ) is “the ability to identify and manage your own emotions and the emotions of others” and includes skills like interpersonal competence, self-awareness, and social awareness. This type of intelligence has been recognized as a better predictor of success than grades or certifications in studies by Accenture, Virginia Commonwealth University, and the Center for Creative Leadership. This is also becoming more important in the current era of “boundaryless” careers, where individuals are much less likely to follow a linear career path with traditional measures of success. This makes tangible indicators of success, such as promotions and salary indicators, a less accurate predictor of success than they were in the past. Emotional intelligence allows individuals to be aware of where they can continue to grow and to connect with teams that require a higher degree of role flexibility.

So if emotional intelligence is so important, how can you build it?

“While EQ is mostly influenced by our early childhood experiences, it can be improved with substantial effort, guidance, and coaching.”

– Financial Post: The biggest predictor of career success? Not Skill or Education – but emotional intelligence

Just as with other forms of intelligence, some people may have a steeper learning curve than others, but anyone can work at developing emotional intelligence. As the future of work moves in a new direction, the skills that are important to succeed are also changing.

To read more about the importance of developing emotional intelligence, click here.


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