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Putting Intelligence to Work in Business

By: Ian Murnaghan BSc (hons), MSc - Updated: 4 Jan 2012 | comments*Discuss
Business Intelligence Leader Emotional

Improving your intelligence is not just about being seen as a “smart” person. For a growing number of people, putting their intelligence to work in business is what sets their business acumen apart from the rest.

The good news is that many of the intelligence skills you put to work in business can be learned with a little time, dedication and effort. Better still, you can use these kinds of important workplace skills in everyday life. With enhanced decision making skills in business comes enhanced decision making skills in everyday life, plus improved communication skills.

IQ vs Emotional Intelligence

Traditionally, IQ has been the dominant focus in business. It has been stressed in academia, with an emphasis on numerical skills. IQ still remains important but some estimates place IQ below emotional intelligence for those who want to become successful leaders. Certainly, you need numerical and reasoning skills for 'C-suite' and other executive roles. What is a true differentiating factor, however, is emotional intelligence.

What is Emotional Intelligence?

Emotional intelligence does not just refer to one particular skill. Rather, it is a set of skills or abilities that allow you to understand yourself and your emotions. In turn, you can manage yourself and your emotions. People with strong emotional intelligence that they consistently apply in a business setting are more likely to achieve high performance and success.

Emotional Intelligence Skills in Business

People who are effective in the workplace tend to have strong emotional intelligence skills as well as traditional intelligence skills. They show maturity and a well-balanced approach to problem solving and dealing with others.

Emotional intelligence often represents the ability to understand how you feel while also understanding how others feel. In turn, you can have a better perspective on your behaviour and the behaviour of others, leading to better decision-making and stronger relationships with colleagues. There are a number of ways to improve your emotional intelligence and put it to work successfully in business.

Clarity and Honesty Regarding Feelings

People who succeed in business have excellent introspective intelligence skills. They are keenly aware of their own emotions. Prior to making key decisions or even simply responding to something said by a boss or colleague, they know how to calmly assess their feelings before speaking.

Such people ensure that their responses to others in the workplace are not made out of anger or mistrust and irritation. In turn, their decision-making skills are based on fact more so than based on emotions.

Empathy with Colleagues

A critical attribute when it comes to emotional intelligence is a person’s ability to recognise the emotions of other people. Further to this ability is to recognise the importance and value of other people’s emotions. Then, putting this recognition into the bigger picture of behaviour and relationships can help in anything from negotiating to closing a deal.

When people feel understood and their position recognised, they will become more open to your propositions and thoughts on virtually any subject. Developing your empathy skills is one of the best tools you can gain for emotional intelligence in business. There are a number of postgraduate certificate courses available at various universities as well, allowing you to put the professional qualification on your job applications.

A Positive Perspective

It is essentially a given that for any career role, there are challenging parts to the daily workflow. One of your best weapons is to develop a positive perspective. It can take a great deal of self-guidance and personal development to shift towards a more positive perspective. This emotional intelligence, however, can really strengthen business relationships and improve decision-making and negotiation skills.

Healthy Self-Criticism

Emotionally intelligent people who apply this intelligence to business often have a solid ability to identify personal strengths and weaknesses. Rather than be on the defensive at all times, such a person is able to take constructive feedback from other people as well as use their introspective abilities to give personal criticism. In turn, workplace relationships are enhanced and productivity is improved.

Success in Business

Business success is no longer just about applying academic and field skills to gain results. More people today are learning just how important it is to improve their emotional intelligence skills for business results. There are numerous books available on the subject as well as short university courses for skills such as empathy. With the right approach and effort, you can learn how to put intelligence to work in business.

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