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How to Improve Your Career by Boosting Your Emotional Intelligence

We're blogging from the Next Generation of Government Training Summit. Follow along @NextGenGov and read more blog posts here.


Think of a leader you admire. Now, write down 3-5 characteristics of that leader that you admire about the way that they manage and work with others. What are those words you wrote down?

This is how Ginny Hill, Agency Coordinator for the Presidential Management Fellows, National Institutes of Health, and Tom Fox, Vice President for Leadership and Innovation, Partnership for Public Service, kicked off their NextGen breakout session on improving your emotional intelligence in the workplace.

After all the attendees in the room thought of the leader they admired and wrote down the phrases they associated with them, Hill and Fox had several read the words out loud.

"Caring."

"Approachable."

"Supportive."

"Fair."

"Isn't it interesting that none of the words you thought about had to do with intellect or expertise?" Fox pointed out. "This is why emotional intelligence is so important in the workplace. That's what makes a great leader and manager."

The point of Fox and Hill's session was to focus on why emotional intelligence -- "the capacity to be aware of, control, and express one's emotions, and to handle interpersonal relationships judiciously and empathetically" -- can make you better at your job.

It's necessary, they said, to take the time to identify, evaluate, and control your emotions as well as better understand those of others. By being more emotionally intelligent you can relieve stress, communicate effectively, empathize with others, overcome challenges, and defuse conflict.

So how can you become more emotionally intelligent, and aware of the way you interact with people, in order to become a better manager? Hill suggested using a variety of online tools to find our your emotional intelligence style.

"Find your style out via an assessment -- DiSC, Strengths Finder, 360 Survey, Work Values Assessment," Hill suggested.

"Learn your triggers," she added. "Then you can improve the way you interact with others and improve your self awareness."

"It's all about leading people," Fox added. "Team meetings, walking the halls, having one one convos (formal and informal) -- secrets to great managers success are not secrets at all. It's just "Management 101" but that we've seem to have forgotten."

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