Usually when we brainstorm ways to bolster our career advancement, we think of acquired skills, measurable outcomes, and experience in the field. However, one of the strongest indicators for career success is a bit more abstract, and it comes down to a personality type—that luckily can be learned. Psychology Today recently unpacked a 2017 study that examined the role of emotional intelligence and salary.

Emotional intelligence has been understood as “the type of intelligence that matters in order to succeed in life,” and yet systematic research surrounding it has been relatively sparse, despite media interest in the subject. However, Joseph Rode and his colleagues at Miami University developed a theoretical model that accounted from the role of emotional intelligence in workplace success over time. In their model, emotional intelligence was related to the ability of an individual to build social capital through social support networks, notably, to secure mentors who would train them in relevant job skills that would thus lend to higher job levels and higher salaries.

Individuals with high emotional intelligence communicate more effectively with others, are more successful at forming and maintaining relationships, and are better at managing their emotions—all desirable qualities in the workplace. Rode and his colleagues found that coworkers are more likely to go out of their way to be helpful and supportive of those with high emotional intelligence, making them more likely to be mentored and eventually ascend the ranks. While this does not guarantee career growth or an increase in salary, it does position one for a path to career advancement.



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