5 Components of Emotional Intelligence and Why they Matter in a Tech Career

5 Components of Emotional Intelligence and Why they Matter in a Tech Career

As a Franklin Apprentice, you’ll be on a carefully-designed schedule to achieve the technical certifications that will form the basis for your new career. And as you might know, you’ll have a Personal Success Coach to work with, tracking your progress weekly.

Your Success Coach, however, will also be working with you to help develop your “soft skills.” These are the competencies that go beyond technology to refine how you interact with others, clients and co-workers alike. Among other things, that list includes time management, problem-solving skills, and emotional intelligence.

What is emotional intelligence?

Emotional intelligence (EI; sometimes also called emotional quotient, or EQ) in a nutshell is the ability to understand and manage both your own emotions and those of the people around you. Think of someone in your life who really listens to you and understands what you’re saying; that’s a person with well-developed EI. On the other hand, someone who flies off the handle frequently or takes bad news out on the people around them probably needs some work.

American psychologist Daniel Goleman, a pioneer in the field, says there are five key components to emotional intelligence:

Self-awareness: EI begins with being aware of your own emotions and how they impact both your own actions and the people around you. Put another way, you can’t fix a weakness if you don’t recognize it as a weakness to begin with. Techniques here include keeping a journal of your emotions or simply developing a habit of pausing before you react to your own emotions.

Self-regulation: Self-regulation takes many forms, but think overall about acting calmly. Avoiding hurried or emotional decisions, or the desire to verbally attack others, and having a clear understanding of your own values are all hallmarks of someone with well-developed self-regulation skills.

Motivation: The ability to motivate yourself towards achieving your own goals is a vital component of EI. Everyone goes through times when motivation is a challenge. You can often restore your own motivation by thinking about the ‘why’ of your career and remembering the things you really love about your work. Setting goals, and a timeline for achieving them, will also help with motivation.

Empathy: Put simply, empathy is the ability to put yourself in someone else’s position and understand their point of view. The people around you in both your personal and professional lives will respond much better when they feel they’re being listened to and understood. This means not only hearing the words they say but picking up on other cues like tone of voice and body language … and minding your own non-verbal cues as well.

Social skills: Your interpersonal skills are where the rubber meets the road. You might be self-aware and self-regulated, and have plenty of motivation and empathy, but if you can’t communicate those things to the people around you, you’ll fall short. The best employees – and the best leaders – are good communicators.

Emotional intelligence is a big topic, and there’s no finish line … it’s a skill set we all need to work on continually. You can make significant strides with the right guidance, though, and your Personal Success Coach will work closely with you to see that you do.