When people envision the quintessential rich businessperson, it likely conjures the images of individuals like Donald Trump, Gordon Gekko and the Koch Brothers.
Simply put, a lot of people probably assume that if you’re rich and in business, it’s because you were a ruthless assh*le who stepped on countless people to get where you are.
The presumption is that individuals like this are cold-hearted sociopaths who care more about money than other human beings.
Yet, as it turns out, being cognizant of other people’s feelings will actually make you richer in the long run.
Emotional Intelligence Leads To A Bigger Paycheck
A new paper in the Journal of Organizational Behavior has revealed that people who are adept at perceiving other people’s emotions are more likely to have a bigger paycheck.
In essence, being emotionally intelligent can help you make the big bucks.
The research for the paper was conducted by a team at the University of Bonn in Germany. They conducted a study in which volunteers were asked the identify the emotions being exhibited in a series of images and voice recordings.
Gerhard Blickle, the lead author of the report, stated:
On average, the participants succeeded in 77 percent of the cases.
People who succeeded in 87 percent of the cases were considered to be good, and people who succeeded in more than 90 percent of the cases were considered really good.
Those below 60 percent, in contrast, were seen as not so good in recognizing emotions.
Blickle and the other researches also questioned the volunteers about their professions and income. What they found was quite interesting. The individuals who did better on the test also made significantly more money than the volunteers who scored poorly.
Not surprisingly, those who scored higher were also rated as more socially skilled by their colleagues and supervisors.
This all makes a lot of sense when you take a moment to think about it.
Being successful in any profession is all about cultivating relationships. It’s impossible to perpetuate a strong partnership if you’re unable to discern how someone is feeling.
Understanding how other people feel makes you a better communicator. Accordingly, it goes without saying that emotionally intelligent people are better at navigating the waters of office politics and defusing confrontations.
Thus, if you’re a more sensitive person, and more attuned to other people’s emotions, you have a great advantage in the workplace.
Indeed, being able to read other people’s emotions is a natural skill that not all of us possess.
Sensitivity is often characterized as a weakness. In actuality, it’s a great strength. There is a large difference between being overtly emotive and emotionally intelligent.
Emotionally intelligent, or sensitive people, have a keen understanding of other people’s feelings because they are acutely aware of their own emotions. Simply put, sensitive people are often extremely self-aware.
Correspondingly, these are all qualities that strong leaders possess.
Strong Leaders Have The Natural Ability To Read People
Leaders have an innate ability to gain people’s trust. They are skilled at reading how people feel and responding in a calming manner.
While the qualities traditionally associated with leadership — such as intelligence, toughness, determination, and vision — are required for success, they are insufficient.
Truly effective leaders are also distinguished by a high degree of emotional intelligence, which includes self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy, and social skill.
Leadership requires the capacity to read and respond to the needs and desires of others, which are often dictated by emotions. If you aren’t good at discerning how people are feeling, then you probably aren’t destined to lead.
Hence, perhaps a large part of the reason that emotionally intelligent people are paid more is due to the fact that they’re natural leaders. In essence, they are more likely to get promoted because of their strong social skills.
In the words of General Douglas MacArthur:
A true leader has the confidence to stand alone, the courage to make tough decisions, and the compassion to listen to the needs of others.
He does not set out to be a leader, but becomes one by the equality of his actions and the integrity of his intent.
In other words, it takes selflessness and sensitivity to be a truly effective leader.
We live in a cynical world. Many people seem to assume that if other people are being nice to them, then they must have ulterior motives. This isn’t always the case, however.
True kindness is fostered by giving without expecting anything in return. Yet, as we’ve now revealed, it actually pays off in the long run regardless.
Nice guys (and girls) don’t finish last after all.