Why Your EI and Character Are So Important and How to Develop Them

Emotional Intelligence

Apple, Samsung, Ford, Société Générale, United Health Group. What does it take to be able to get a job working for global companies such as these Fortune 500 giants? Such an amazing opportunity is often the dream of many college grads who sail through school with an academic scholarship, mess up the grading curve for the less intellectually gifted, and look like they are the most likely to succeed in life in general.

The students whom they beat in class rankings envy their effortless straight A’s and ponder how they might just get an interview with companies who seem to flock to such students. But is it IQ that truly dictates your career destiny?

Why EI and Character Can Impact Your Success

For many years, people have believed that academic IQ was the determining factor for a person’s ability to succeed in business and in life. However, growing new evidence is finding that IQ is not the only factor that influences a person’s success. EI (emotional intelligence) and character are now also found to be strong elements that play into a person’s future success, even more so than IQ.

In a nutshell, emotional intelligence is your ability to recognize emotions and figure out how to make them work for you rather than against you. If you have a high EI, you also have some natural leadership abilities, and can typically help others to learn this and other skills in a mentorship type of role.

If you have high EI, you’re aware of it on those days when you’re feeling more optimistic, and also aware of how this can impact the decisions that you make. Your feelings can influence how or even if you will choose to spend money, your ability to negotiate, whether or not you will stay with your employer or move on, and many other lifestyle decisions. Your character will help to provide you with the ability to follow through.
Emotional intelligence also includes an ability to read body language. This information can then be used to help build rapport and build trust, but you need to be savvy enough to realize that emotions and body language can differ across cultures, generations, sex and race.

When you have a naturally high EI and the integrity that comes with character, you usually have a better chance of getting promotions, even if your only of average intelligence. It’s also true that those with a low EI and character can grow and become better equipped in those areas, but they will have to work at it.

Developing Your EI and Character 

We live in such a fast paced and electronically driven world that it can be difficult to prioritize and focus on the things that are most important in a given moment. The barrage of items that pull at our attention can leave us feeling scattered and overwhelmed. But whenever we are with other people, they need to be the focus of our attention, and electronic gadgets buzzing, beeping or otherwise notifying us need to be secondary. If possible, the most polite thing to do is to turn off electronic devices when meeting with other people, but this is only the beginning.
Learning to listen to items such as voice inflection, read body language, facial expressions, even one’s choice of words are all just a few items that are really a part of learning more effective communications skills in general. One of the bigger challenges in all of that is learning to respond rather than react to these things, which also requires character. On one hand, this requires not taking what is said personally. On the other, it’s extremely helpful to state what you’re thinking in such a way that it doesn’t come across as a personal attack. One simple way that this can be done is to take the personal reference out of what is said. For example, rather than saying, “You should…” you can say, “A person should…”.

The above barely scratches the surface where growing in EI and character are concerned, as well as the many areas these items can include. So a few good resources to check out include:

The DNA of Relationships, by Gary Smalley
EntreLeadership, by Dave Ramsey
The 5 Five Love Languages, by Gary D. Chapman

See Also: Emotional Intelligence Indicates Job Success. Do you Have it?

Which do you think is more important EI and character or IQ? Have you manage to get ahead of people with better qualifications than you due to having a high EI? Your thoughts and comments below please...