Emotional intelligence (also known as EQ) refers to your ability to recognize, understand and manage your emotions. EQ is an incredibly useful skill to possess at work, as, despite existing preconceptions, our workplaces are not emotion-free zones, and your ability to regulate your emotions and understand those of others can lead to a happier, more productive workplace.
Emotional intelligence centers on five key areas: self-awareness, emotional control, self-motivation, empathy and social skills. Here’s what those five mean in practice and why they are so important to have at work.
The first step in developing emotional intelligence is self-reflection. This involves taking stock of your feelings and how you react to certain situations on an ongoing basis, and pinpointing where your strengths and weaknesses lie. The better your understanding of your emotions and gut reactions, the easier it is to manage them.
2. Emotional control
Managing your emotions is all about intervention. So, for example, if you are losing your patience with a team member, don’t just blindly act on that emotion but consider why you are feeling that way and think of an appropriate reaction, taking into account how you come across to them. Emotional control is key to building and maintaining healthy, productive relationships with those you work with.
Part of being emotionally intelligent means having a solid understanding of your values, goals and motivations. People who are motivated in their career are usually more committed, enthusiastic and, in turn, more successful.
Emotional intelligence isn’t just about acknowledging your own feelings, but also those of others. It’s that ability to see things from another person’s perspective that helps create strong relationships that are founded on inclusivity, trust and fairness.
5. Social skills
Key workplace skills such as teamwork, leadership and communication all depend on your ability to acknowledge and react to your own emotions and those of the people around you. These social skills are highly valued by employers as they can increase productivity and are crucial to creating a positive overall working culture.
Developing your emotional intelligence is an ongoing process of evaluating the way you think, feel and react and spotting those areas you need to work on. There are loads of resources out there to help you develop your EQ, whether that’s self-assessments to help you get a better understanding of your strengths and weaknesses or information on breathing techniques that can help you control your emotions better. Whatever it is, make sure you invest the time to do it: your career and work relationships will benefit from it.
Thomas Wharton is President of LIFOCUS CAREER SERVICES an Executive Coaching and Career Coaching firm in Rhode Island, providing Career & Transition Coaching, Outplacement, Executive Coaching, and Assessments. Tom can be reached at 401.884.7959 • firstname.lastname@example.org. • www.lifocus.com •@careercoachTW