How Emotional Intelligence Helps In The Workplace
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Over the past few years, emotional intelligence (or EQ as it is popularly known) has become one of the most influential concepts in workplace behavior. It seems that every major business publication offers an article about how important it is for employers to look for when hiring.
Many make claims such as “emotional intelligence will help you succeed more than IQ” or “being able to manage your own emotions makes a great employee”.
The reason why these articles are so prevalent is because many CEOs and corporate heads believe that this quality is something that employees should be trained on if they want to succeed at their job.
CEOs have come to realize that being able to deal with difficult situations and people goes a long way in helping them keep their jobs. They also know that having someone who can motivate others around them is essential to success.
There are several theories about what makes up emotional intelligence but there is no universal definition. What does matter though is that those with high levels of emotional intelligence relate better to other people and understand human nature. This helps them maintain good relationships and lead productive conversations.
This article will discuss some ways that emotional intelligence can help you in the workplace.
Skills to develop your emotional intelligence
Acknowledging your emotions is an important part of knowing how to manage your own feelings and those of others. It can be difficult at times, but learning how to recognize and understand your emotions is a fundamental skill for humans to have.
Many professionals feel that their personal life is not their business, but by creating some distance between yourself and things that are important to you, you end up denying yourself key skills.
By trying to ignore or suppress your emotions, you only end up feeling worse about yourself and your relationships.
It’s like having a car with no driver — you lose out on all of the benefits such as safety, efficiency, and effectiveness. When you don’t know what to do with a situation, you turn away, which makes it much more likely you will find yourself in a bad one.
Emotions connect us to each other and help shape our lives, so it's worth investing time into understanding them.
How to be more empathic with your coworkers
A lot of times, people get into arguments with other people about things that have little to do with the actual argument. This is because they are not aware of what their opponent is feeling nor are they able to relate to them.
If you want to avoid an argument, try understanding how someone else may feel. Whether it’s something trivial or important, try thinking about why they might feel this way.
Does he/she like me? Is she angry with me for something I did? What if I didn’t do anything wrong? Why does she look unhappy now?
By being conscious of these types of non-verbal cues, you will be better at predicting how someone may respond. If you can understand their emotions, then you can predict their behavior which helps prevent disagreements.
You also learn what makes them happy and what puts a damper on their mood so you can address those issues next time.
How to reduce workplace stress
Stress can be detrimental to your health, both physically and mentally. When you are under too much stress, your body will respond by creating more of the hormone cortisol that can have negative effects on your overall wellness.
Cortisol is naturally produced during times of emotional or physical challenge. However, when there is an excessive amount of stress in our lives, it can become chronic. This increase in cortisol levels can negatively affect your mood, sleep, and appetite, just to name a few functions.
When we are stressed out, we may put off going to bed because we feel tired, or stay up later because we have work to do. Over time, this can contribute to poor quality sleep, which only makes things worse. Depressed and hungry, people tend to make unhealthy decisions including eating less nutritious foods and skipping meals, which also puts them at risk for illness.
In addition to these short-term impacts, high stress exposure can lead to longer term problems like depression and anxiety. These illnesses can even interfere with job performance, so they could potentially cost employers money.
Fortunately, there are ways to improve your emotional intelligence (EI) and decrease stress. In fact, research suggests that having higher EI helps prevent mental and physical disease and is associated with lower stress.
You can learn how to develop your emotional intelligence and manage your stressors here.
Teach people who are depressed
When someone you work with comes to you with an off-the-charts mood, there is something that can be done about it.
This may sound crazy but it actually works! You will have to read this article first because what we recommend for workplace depression isn’t necessarily talked about. It’s not like telling someone they’re being too emotional is a staple of helpful advice.
But here's the thing: if someone you know is suffering from depression, then they probably already know how emotionally overwhelmed they get. They likely try to hold it together as best they can until they feel better, which often means keeping their feelings private or even seeking professional help.
It can be difficult to watch your friend struggle with mental health issues while also trying to convince them that it’s okay to let down their defenses and ask for help.
That’s why we want to talk about another form of EI — empathy.
Be the best version of yourself
Over the past few years, emotional intelligence (or EQ as it is commonly referred to) has become one of the most important qualities for professionals to possess.
It’s increasingly seen as an essential talent that every person should have, regardless of career path or position. In fact, many believe that developing your EQ is a more fundamental skill than having a degree or practicing certain skills like working with others.
Emotional literacy can help you deal with everyday workplace challenges such as anger management, time management, motivation, teamwork, and communication. It also helps you manage people who may be less compatible with you — and even use these differences to motivate you.
While some feel that being too emotionally intelligent is not a good thing, there are ways to develop this quality into something positive.
Cultivate your inner voice
A lot of people have a louder internal voice than their external one, which is why some people you work with seem to be constantly angry or yelling about something.
They’re not actually saying anything, but they look like they are. They just use a tone of voice that doesn’t match what they want to say.
This can hurt your confidence if you don’t know how to recognize it.
It also may make you feel bad because you’d rather keep quiet than risk getting into an argument. Or maybe you’ll walk away feeling invalidated and discouraged.
If this happens often, it can reduce productivity and efficiency at work, and even cause there to be a loss of trust between you.
It is very important to take regular breaks if you want to remain focused and retain quality of work done. This is particularly true for professionals in the workplace that are under constant pressure.
Research shows that when we don’t give ourselves time to relax, even one minute can make us feel mentally exhausted.
When we don’t give our brains adequate time to recover, it becomes difficult to process information efficiently and recall things correctly.
This could be disastrous at times, such as when someone else has prepared hard or you have a meeting coming up.
By avoiding this mental fatigue, you will keep yourself more productive and efficient at your job. You will also help others around you to stay calm and engaged with what they are doing because they will notice that you are not quite as stressed out.
If you find that you are constantly over-worked and overwhelmed, then try to allocate 30 minutes every week for relaxation. Do something that you enjoy (for example, listening to music or reading) so that it helps you unwind.
As mentioned earlier, practicing mindfulness can help you develop your emotional intelligence. One of the most common forms of mindfulness is meditation.
Meditation doesn’t necessarily have to be done sitting down either. You can do it while working out, or doing something else full time like studying.
There are many types of meditation, but they all share two things: 1) They focus on only one thing at a time, which makes them good for dividing up work into separate parts of your life (for example, instead of thinking about everything that was wrong with your job, you could spend five minutes focusing on how you felt when you found out your boss didn’t appreciate your efforts). 2) They reduce mental distractions by having people do them regularly.
Some examples of meditative practices include simply breathing slowly and deeply, repeating a word or phrase, or reflecting on what part of your body feels relaxed. Some people even put their hands together and say “thank you” to make it more formal.
No matter what type of meditation you choose, just start small and try once a week! Most people begin to feel benefits within the first few weeks, and then continue to practice every day.