Emotional intelligence in the workplace | Main Region | UB
Emotional intelligence in the workplace
As coveted as emotional intelligence might be, however, not everybody at work has a good read on their own emotional intelligence or how to manage emotions. That’s a shame in many ways because employees who develop emotional awareness and intelligence create great career opportunities for themselves.
What is emotional intelligence?
Emotionally intelligent professionals show empathy, build strong relationships, ease conflict, improve teamwork and boost morale.
Emotionally intelligent leaders get results by tapping into both the positive and negative emotions of others, while being acutely aware of their own. Such emotional understanding is more likely to retain staff and improve employee relationships than anything else.
To determine how you measure up in terms of your emotional intelligence, ask yourself the following four questions:
Are you aware of the impact of your own emotions on others?
Ask yourself if you can recognise your negative emotions as you experience them, such as stress or anxiety, then act to minimise the impact on others. For example, by taking a break, exercising or talking to a trusted colleague or friend.
If you do not currently take steps to minimise the impact of your negative emotions on others, and instead find yourself becoming more withdrawn or belligerent, learn to regulate your emotions.
Can I identify negative emotions in others?
When you work with someone who is experiencing negative emotions, it is good practice to provide sincere support and guidance when appropriate. In doing so, you help to protect overall employee wellbeing, team morale and productivity.
If, however, you are unable to pre-empt negative emotions, such as recognising stress in team members and offering assistance, hone your ability to identify these emotions and empathise.
Can I encourage positive emotions in myself and others?
Similarly, by understanding the type of environment that colleagues respond well to, you have the emotional intelligence to positively influence workplace morale. You can direct others in a way that resonates with them on an emotional level.
If you find it challenging to nurture positive emotions, either in yourself or others, learn to understand what stimulates such emotions.
How good am I at listening to people?
Reflect upon how often other team members come to you with ideas, issues or feedback. Ask yourself if conversations feel inclusive. If so, this suggests you come across as approachable and interested in what people have to say.
If, on the other hand, those around you simply nod and agree during a conversation, reluctant to add their own input, it may be time to brush up on your active listening skills.
Of course, you can formally measure your emotional abilities by undertaking emotional intelligence tests or consulting a mental health professional.
Importance of emotional intelligence in the workplace
Emotional intelligence also allows you to enhance your communication and interpersonal skills. Effectively interacting with others is as much about listening with empathy to their point of view as it is communicating your own perspective. Emotional intelligence helps you control your own emotions during a conversation, understand the other person’s motivation and emotional state, build a meaningful relationship and respond appropriately.
Emotionally intelligent workplaces also excel at teamwork and adapting to change. The flow-on effects for organisations are better productivity, engagement, morale and public reputation. For instance, in the sales and service industry alone, Genos International notes that professionals with high EI can read customers well, build better relationships, influence buyers and build trust.
Emotional intelligence examples
Listening at work
Embracing different opinions and ideas
Lack of emotional intelligence in the workplace examples
Low emotional insight
How to improve emotional intelligence in the workplace
To proactively develop higher emotional intelligence, try to:
- Practice recognising your emotions. Make regular time to pay close attention to how you are feeling
- Focus on understanding your emotional triggers
- Pay attention to physical symptoms that might affect your emotions, such as hunger and tiredness
- Use positive self-talk when you experience negative emotions or challenging situations at work
- Dive deeper into your emotional range by keeping a journal of your emotions.
Improve your emotional intelligence
With high emotional intelligence, you will make better decisions, fix problems and show empathy and compassion when your workplace needs it. You will become a better conflict manager and more capable in high-pressure situations.
Who wouldn’t want a higher level of emotional intelligence?