As a qualified adviser, you’ll be familiar with the amount of studying, hard work and dedication it’s taken to get you where you are today.
Your colleagues and peers will have progressed along the same path too. So how do you get ahead in your career, and what other attributes make a real difference to client outcomes?
Emotional intelligence is a key differentiator, and hugely influential on the way you interact and respond to colleagues and clients.
Some of us have it more than others. The difference could mean success or failure in winning new business, forming positive business relationships, understanding clients’ needs and ultimately achieving your career ambitions.
What do we mean by emotional intelligence?
Also referred to as EQ, emotional intelligence is an inner barometer that enables you to monitor your own emotions and how you react and interact with others.
It comes into play particularly when you’re faced with difficult situations or conversations. It also applies to your own perception of others and their behaviours, as well as what influences they may have on you.
Some say that without EQ you simply cannot be a great leader or adviser, but it’s more than that. Resilience in the workplace and how you cope with stress, or with challenging clients, or an overpowering boss or underperforming team member – these all require emotional intelligence if you are to respond effectively.
Can you learn it?
The short answer is yes. EQ can evolve and grow in response to your own desire to learn and develop. A good starting point is to take some time out to tune in to your own inner thoughts and feelings. See if you can increase your awareness of yourself, your mindset and how you are.
You may find this challenging. Finding the time to stop and think and to acknowledge thoughts and behaviours doesn't necessarily come naturally to everyone.
Some actually find it uncomfortable or even impossible, in which case it may help to ask someone else for their feedback. It’s worth remembering this is all part of the learning process.
As you increase your own awareness of yourself and your understanding of others, you are then in a better position to adjust your behaviours in response to those around you, and improve your personal impact.
One step further
While all this is worthwhile, it’s also worth focusing on the additional attributes needed to excel in the workplace. This is where the ability to communicate effectively and build relationships is vitally important if you are to succeed in achieving your career ambitions.
Clients will respond well during meetings if they feel they are being listened to and being supported in arriving at the important decisions they need to make.
They’re not just looking for your advice; they’re looking for you to help them meet a need. They will evaluate your interaction with them less on the technical merits of your advice, and more on their relationship and trust in you as a person.
By listening well, asking intelligent questions, uncovering your client’s motivations and responding with high EQ, you’ll build a good relationship, one that enables them to explore their position and have a deeper understanding of their situation.
It’s these attributes that differentiate between an exceptional adviser and an ordinary one, and the career paths they will likely follow. Emotional intelligence is a core attribute that a professional needs to develop, and continue to hone and perfect.