Some lucky people have a higher emotional intelligence (EQ) naturally, but the rest of us have some work to do. According to TalentSmart President Dr. Travis Bradberry, we could all use some emotional intelligence improvement.

With that improvement comes a pay raise. Those with higher EQ make an estimated $29,000 more than those who don’t. They make more money and they perform better at work.

Decision making, time management, presentation skills, trust. They all fall under the EQ category, and are hugely beneficial in the workplace. Maybe more important than other skills. EQ comes in handy when you’re trying to keep clients happy too. Communication is key in client relationships. As is knowing how to react to feedback, whether negative or positive. Navigating other peoples emotions can be tricky, but by flexing our emotional intelligence, it gets easier.

Even some schools are starting to incorporate emotional intelligence into lesson plans. A better EQ helps your mental health too, even reduces anxiety. By practicing emotionally intelligent behaviors, you form better habits. This study even found that children who had EQ programs in school had 6% lower behavioral problems. The programs help guide the students to success and have long term positive results. 

Is emotional intelligence something that has to be taught? With our communication moving towards text and email, it seems likely. As we’ve trended towards indirect communication, we don’t talk face to face as often. We also shortcut our emotions into emojis. And reduce text into shorthand. Our EQ brain pathways might be getting a bit rusty.

A higher EQ makes better employees, students, and communicators…So how what’s the secret to improving it? Learn to understand feelings. Connect to emotions. Balance the emotional and rational brain. Then keep doing that until it becomes second nature. We added it to our to do list, you should too.