Emotional intelligence is the skill you need to earn more

Being prepared to put in long hours and learn new skills might seem like ideal ways to boost your prospects of a pay rise, but now experts have revealed that one of the key ways to earn more in down to a personality trait. 

Emotional Intelligence or EQ is said to be the ability to control and calmly express your emotions, while handling relationships with others empathetically.

This should in theory help workers strengthen relationships with colleagues and develop leadership skills but until now researchers have not been able to examine its impact over a long enough period. 

However, a study published in the Journal of Vocational Behavior of students 10 to 12 years after the entered the workforce has shown that ’emotional intelligence helps individuals to acquire the social capital needed to be successful in their careers’, resulting in higher salaries. 

Researchers put the success down to the ability of those with high EQ to form relationships with mentors who will help advance their careers.  

‘People high in EQ should be able to find mentors who would, in turn, train them in relevant job skills. Possessing these skills, the high-EQ workers should be able, then, to achieve the higher job levels that produce higher salaries,’ Psychology Today reported.

According to a study published in the Journal of 

According to researchers those with higher emotional intelligence will be quickest at figuring out the dynamics and politics of a new workplace, and adapt accordingly.

This will encourage people to want to work with you, but those who are low in EQ and do things like talking over others in meetings don’t endear themselves to anyone.  

Meanwhile, those with high EQ will be focusing on reaching out to those who are senior and a position to guide them. 


Emotional intelligence (EI) is the ability by a person to express and control their own emotions.

It is also the ability to understand and respond to the emotions of others.

Those with a high EI are able to emphasise more with other people and have a greater emotional maturity.

Those with a lower EI are not always conscious about what others may be feeling and also find it more difficult to control their own emotions. 

And because they’re good at navigating relationships, they’re likely to form strong bonds with their mentors.  

The study showed that those who had a high EQ in college were the ones who had gone on to find a mentor and were earning more money.  

Those in higher job levels earned more the higher their EQ scores, suggesting that more advanced skills are required as you climb the managerial ranks.

In a previous article, professor of Communication Studies Preston Ni explained that if you are lacking in emotional intelligence, there are six steps you can take to work on it and achieve that higher pay grade as a result.

His number one tip is to reduce your negative emotions by adjusting how you react to seemingly overwhelming situations. 

If you find that your default mode is to jump to a negative conclusion, pause and reflect on the possibilities. 

Instead of getting angry that your colleague hasn’t answered your email and convincing yourself that they must be ignoring you consider the fact that they might just be very busy. 


1. Tackle your propensity to jump to negative conclusions and deal with your fear of rejection

2. Look at ways to manage your stress levels

3. Express your feelings in a constructive way, instead of being accusatory and judgmental 

4. Try to empathise when you’re dealing with a difficult person 

5. Develop your resilience by seeing setbacks as a learning opportunity.

‘When we avoid personalizing other people’s behaviors, we can perceive their expressions more objectively,’ he said. 

Another tactic is reducing your fear of rejection by telling yourself that even if things don’t go to plan, you’ll survive it and carry on. 

Reducing stress is another factor, but for some it’s not something you can tackle with a quick fix. 

However, to calm yourself down in the moment, he recommends stepping away to splash your face with water and getting some fresh air. 

Preston also recommends finding a way to express difficult emotions without seeming confrontational. 

Instead of using sentences that start with you, followed by a judgement, use statements such as: ‘I feel disappointed that you expect me to prioritise helping you over my own work’.

Empathy is a key characteristic of those with high emotional intelligence and it’s particularly needed when dealing with difficult people. 

Rather than becoming angry when faced with adversity, try putting yourself in that person’s shoes. 

This means that rather than going on the defensive if your boss is being difficult, consider how they might be under a lot of pressure from the person above them. 

While there’s no excuse for destructive behaviour, empathising can have a calming effect and give you a clearer head for thinking of a solution to the problem. 

The ability to be resilient will also assist with tackling difficult situations and people. 

Rather than feeling beaten down when things don’t go to plan, assess what you’ve learned from it. 





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