You’ve heard the term a few times now. It seems to be the latest buzz phrase: emotional intelligence. But is it just a trend, or should you actually pay attention? Just how important is developing this skillset to your success?
After all, over the past x number of years in your career as a financial professional, the drum beat has constantly been targets, sales, revenue. Sure, you’ve also heard phrases like customer care, and doing the right thing for our clients but they were often attached to regulatory and compliance demands, not this touchy-feely ‘EQ’ business.
In fact, our understanding of emotional intelligence has moved far beyond a trend or fad. Thanks to groundbreaking studies by Drs. Travis Bradberry, Jean Greaves and many others, EQ has been identified and proven as more important to our happiness and overall success than IQ.
Take this in:
The metrics we’ve been weaned on since childhood are a smaller piece of the success puzzle than we’ve been trained to orient ourselves around for as long as most of us can remember.
After an exhaustive decade-long study of over 500,000 adults, Drs. Bradberry and Greaves concluded the following:
- 70% of us do not handle conflict or stress effectively, and just 36% understand emotions as they happen. The greatest challenges are at work, where just 15% feel respected and valued by their employers.
- Your brain is plastic: Unlike IQ, EQ is not fixed at birth. New skills learned actually create permanent physical changes in the brain.
- People with high EQs are 10 times more productive than those with low EQs: 90% of top performers are high in EQ, and a one-point increase in your EQ adds $1,300 to your annual salary.
So yes, there’s an issue, but the second and third points here are thrilling! How wonderful to know that we have in our power the ability to develop these critical skills and reap the benefits.
Fortune 500 Companies are paying attention. More than 75% of Fortune 500 Companies invest in Emotional Intelligence training for their employees.
I want to put one more current spin on this: automation.
We know it’s coming – in fact, it’s already here. For many years, manufacturing workers have been losing their jobs to robotic replacements. Some new jobs have been created, but not enough to replace employment lost.
And now with the rise of Artificial Intelligence, the same is rapidly happening for ‘white collar’ workers. Sweeping changes to many industries mean that within the next 5 – 10 years, paralegals, loan officers, financial advisors and many other professionals may be down-sized or eliminated altogether.
One key takeaway here:
The more transactional your business is, the more transactional your style is with clients, the more replaceable you are.
But the greater your facility with distinctly human traits of trust and empathy, and the more you use them in your job, the more likely you will be considered to be essential and irreplaceable by AI.
This s**t matters!
Aside from my 15 years’ experience working as a sales and communication coach, I have a background in the performing arts. All of the above stats notwithstanding, I’m a feeling-based, before a numbers or facts-based person, so I considered emotional intelligence as firmly within my wheelhouse.
Here is the accepted definition of EI:
Emotional intelligence (EI) is the capability of individuals to recognize their own and other people’s emotions, discern between different feelings and label them appropriately, use emotional information to guide thinking and behavior, and manage and/or adjust emotions to adapt to environments or achieve one’s goal(s).
There’s a lot in there, and I have a long way to go! Thank goodness our brains are plastic in this regard!
In the coming weeks, I will walk you through the 4 major skillsets of EI, and how to tune up your skills in each.
As a first step, start taking emotional intelligence seriously.
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Kira Callahan is an expert sales conversation coach serving the financial industry. Her private clients typically experience 30% – 100% increase in appointments and business booked. Click here to find out more about Kira.