“Emotional intelligence” may sound like a term used ‘round the campfire (while singing “Kumbaya"), but don’t underestimate its benefit to your future career.
Previously, IQ was viewed as the main, if not sole indicator in a person’s success. Smart people were the most successful - end of story. However, the reality isn’t quite so simple: lots of high performers, or “successful people,” don’t have the highest IQ’s. In recent years, emotional intelligence (or “EQ,” for short) has been dubbed this missing link.
Emotional intelligence is a broad term for a host of intangible traits and skills each of us have, to some degree. These are the traits and skills that govern how we interact with the world, and people around us.An article by Travis Bradberry on Forbes.com says that emotional intelligence, “affects how we manage behavior, navigate social complexities, and make personal decisions that achieve positive results.” EQ is generally regarded as separate from your IQ. While your IQ (your ability to learn) doesn’t change, your EQ comprises a “flexible set of skills that can be acquired and improved with practice.”
Emotional intelligence is key to success in all fields, but it can be a particularly significant differentiator in an accounting career. Many misguided outsiders to our profession regard accounting as strictly technical. While the technical (IQ-fueled) component of our profession is HUGE, those who have the most success are those with high EQ. Accounting jobs (be it in industry, tax, audit, or advisory), are all very heavy in teamwork. Being an effective member of a team (especially a team under busy-season pressure) requires that you be able to manage your interactions. In order to do this, you must avoid being reactionary. Positively direct your behavior and manage team interactions by not only staying aware of your emotions, but also work on your ability to read those around you.
The same intangible social skills that you started forming in kindergarten have the ability to kick-start your career. Personal development is professional development; the better you manage yourself, the better manager you’ll be one day.
Interested in reading more about emotional intelligence and intangible skills? Check out the articles below: