How emotional intelligence can help sustain your career

William Woods Business

The importance of emotional intelligence, or one’s ability to manage their own emotions and the emotions of others, has been a buzzing topic within the business community and academia. Our previous post discussed the role emotional intelligence plays in business decision-making and its inherent implication on business success.

However, a recent study by Douglas Hall, Professor of Management and Organizational Behavior at Boston University, reveals yet another value of one’s ability to identify, harness and manage emotions, particularly when it comes to managing career downturns.

The study findings discussed in Harvard Business Review article, “The 3 Ways People React to Career Disasters,” indicate that when it comes to recovering from a major career setback, “those who recover most effectively learned from their loss through identity work,” or self-reflection. In other words, the individuals who were able to self-assess “the role they played, [seek] opinions from different people, and [take] steps to care for themselves” were most successful in moving forward.

While the study does not attribute this particular behavior to presence or lack of emotional intelligence, we can draw parallels between identified behaviors and emotional intelligence skills. According to Psychology Today, emotional intelligence skills include:

  • “Emotional awareness, including the ability to identify your own emotions and those of others;
  • The ability to harness emotions and apply them to tasks like thinking and problem solving;
  • The ability to manage emotions, including the ability to regulate your own emotions, and the ability to cheer up or calm down another person.”

The individuals who lack these skills could find it difficult to take the actions necessary to overcome a career setback.  For example, the study identified two types of individuals that were not as successful with moving forward with career downturns.

  • Those who spent most of their time feeling wronged and incapable of taking responsibility for their actions
  • Those who may have identified their role in the situation but struggled to take any action to address the problem

Beyond its value in business or career management, emotional intelligence is also a big part of self-management as its value transcends work aspects of our lives.  Students pursuing an MBA in Entrepreneurial Leadership at William Woods University can benefit from the program’s unique curriculum that includes emotional and social intelligence skill building. One of the courses that touch on aspects of emotional intelligence is Human Resources and Organizational Behavior. This course provides an overview of individual and group behavior with the aim of helping each student become an effective member of an organization.

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