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Building Your Emotional Intelligence at Work

We are expected to display the perfect amount of emotion at work because there’s a stigma that comes with showing too much emotion or too little emotion in the workplace. However, there’s a distinct difference between how much emotion we show and how much emotional intelligence we have at work.

Emotional intelligence is defined as a skill in perceiving, understanding, and managing emotions and feelings.

According to a recent survey, 71% of employers value emotional intelligence over IQ. This is because people with a high sense of emotional intelligence are better problem solvers, better communicators, and stay more level-headed in pressure situations.

So how can you become more emotionally intelligent at work?

  1. Become More Self-Aware – If you want to be more emotionally intelligent, you need to acknowledge your own emotions. Start by paying attention to how you’re feeling. How do you respond in certain emotional situations? Do your emotions help drive your decision-making? Figure out what your emotional strengths and weaknesses are. Once you recognize the weaknesses, it gives you the chance to deal with them head-on.
  2. Improve Social Skills – Those who have strong social skills tend to be able to recognize other people’s emotions and can respond how they need to appropriately. People with strong social skills communicate effectively and are great collaborators. Start by listening well to what others say, including their nonverbal communication.
  3. Become More Empathetic – People with empathy have the uncanny ability to step into someone else’s shoes and truly get how they feel. When you’re empathetic, you understand work relationships and how they influence the feelings and interactions between people. Don’t let minor disagreements turn into major conflicts. Instead, stop, and see things from another person’s point of view. Then, take note of how you respond. Do you acknowledge another person’s feelings and try to see things from their perspective?
  4. Get Motivated – What is it that you love about your work? Focus on the things you enjoy about what you do and the feelings of accomplishment you get when you achieve something. Stay optimistic in the workplace because optimism is contagious, and you end up motivating others.
  5. Practice Maintaining a Positive Attitude – Once you embrace a positive attitude, you need to foster it. Just as optimism is contagious, so is pessimism. What is it that provides you with a positive outlook? Feed off of that to help deal with stress and negativity in a healthier way. One tip to keeping a positive attitude once you have it is by writing down what you’re grateful for, basically, creating a gratitude journal.
  6. Use an Assertive Communication Style – This needs to be done delicately. If you communicate too aggressively, it can come across as being domineering. However, you’ll be considered a pushover if you communicate too passively. People who are emotionally intelligent communicate their thoughts directly and with respect. Assertive communication lends to active listening, meaning you listen to understand, not just because you’re waiting for a turn to speak. Good active listeners pay attention to nonverbal communication too.

Emotional intelligence plays a significant part in your professional success, but mastering it also requires much effort. Working on your emotional growth is hard work, which is why some people avoid it. However, if you break it down, improving your emotional IQ is about being aware of who you are and respecting others.

Is emotional intelligence something your company places a priority on? Are you someone who is working on building your emotional intelligence? Join the conversation on LinkedIn and check out How to Change Your Career or Industry?