How To Improve Emotional Intelligence In The Workplace

Over the past few years, emotional intelligence (“EI”) has become one of the most popular workplace interventions. Many employers make it a key part of their workforce development programs because it can have significant positive effects on employee productivity, engagement, communication, and overall career success.

Many professionals now believe that having high levels of EI is an essential quality for anyone seeking employment or wishing to advance at work. As such, there are many courses and resources available online and through professional organizations that teach you how to increase your EI.

But before you invest time and money in training to improve your own EQ, you must first determine if there is truly a link between EI and job performance. Scientific studies have not proven that being more emotionally intelligent guarantees greater success at work, nor have they proved that less-able people succeed due to a lack of empathy.

Instead, some research suggests that certain behaviors associated with low EQ may simply be incompatible with the position you want to achieve. For example, someone who struggles to put others ahead of themselves might never really climb the ladder in a leadership role.

At the same time, individuals who show very little emotion may get stuck on a level where they feel only uncomfortable emotions, preventing them from moving up the ladder. Either situation could prevent people with these traits from achieving their goal.

Make eye contact

how to improve emotional intelligence in the workplace pdf

Looking into someone’s eyes can be a powerful way to connect with them, showing that you are interested in their well-being. Not only does it make people feel seen and understood, but it also creates strong interpersonal bonds due to engagement.

Having trouble making direct eye contacts? No worries! There are many ways to achieve this. You can use natural looking eyes or look down when meeting someone’s gaze. Or you can simply focus more intently when talking to someone so that your face is not covered up by casual conversation.

Making indirect eye contact (looking at the floor, hands, etc.) is another way to avoid having too much interaction. When interacting with others, try to have some sort of balance - enough eye contact for both parties, but not overly long either.

Be consistent

how to improve emotional intelligence in the workplace pdf

Consistency is one of the most important things you can be as an emotional intelligence trainer. If your consistency decreases, then people will begin to feel that you do not care about improving EI or teaching it properly.

If this happens, they may give up trying to learn how to manage their emotions. It could also make them unhappy with their workplace or even quit.

Consistency is very difficult to maintain when you are first starting out as an emotional intelligence consultant. This is especially true if you are working full time while simultaneously educating yourself on the topic.

However, as time goes on, you will need to find more flexible ways to keep yourself motivated.

You can start by setting regular times for studying or practicing your skills. Then, stick to those deadlines!

At the beginning, try organizing yourself during these study sessions by having a snack or drink before you get started. This way, you are prepared for what you will eat afterwards.

In addition to this, have a goal for each session. For example, read two pages per hour for an hour-long lesson. Or better yet, do not aim to reach that goal but instead focus on just doing your best.

The only thing that matters is that you put in effort into learning emotional literacy.

Be realistic

how to improve emotional intelligence in the workplace pdf

A lot of theories about emotional intelligence focus heavily on what makes someone feel good or bad, and how to make others like you more. They skip over something very important – being able to identify your own feelings and recognize them for who they are is a key part of improving your EQ.

Becoming aware of your emotions takes practice, but there’s an easy way to start. The first step towards improvement is being honest with yourself.

Ask yourself these questions about how you feel right now:

What am I feeling?

Is this pleasant or unpleasant?

Why do I feel this way?

Take a moment to acknowledge and understand your emotion, then choose an action to address it.

It may be to agree to put off that thing you wanted to do (even if you don’t really want to) or to talk to someone about your mood.

Share your experiences

how to improve emotional intelligence in the workplace pdf

As mentioned earlier, one of the key components of emotional intelligence is sharing your experiences with others.
As human beings we all have different personalities and personal styles.

This can be difficult when you feel like someone has wronged you or something bad happened to you, but they did not show enough empathy or sympathy for you.

It may also be hard to believe that someone else could possibly share the same experience as you.

However, it’s important to realize that everyone who comes into contact with you will be influenced by your personality.

Whether their opinion of you is positive or negative depends on what they perceive you to be like.

By being aware of this, you can choose to put more effort into showing how much you care about other people and try to see things from their perspective instead of only yours.

You can also ask them to describe their experiences with you so that you know whether you are doing well and if there is anything that you can improve on.

Be honest with your peers

how to improve emotional intelligence in the workplace pdf

It’s easy for employees to get complacent when their colleagues are behaving professionally around them, but it is also very common for they don’t take appropriate action or time to act until something happens that affects them personally.

If you notice a colleague isn’t keeping his/her promises, being less than truthful about things, or engaging in behavior that can be considered unethical, speak up!

It’s much better to address these issues early than have someone go rogue and hurt others unintentionally.

By speaking up, not only will other people learn of the bad behaviors, you will help promote emotional literacy and teamwork.

Be careful how you say things, however – if you feel threatened or attacked, walk away. Don’t add fuel to an already burning situation.

Also remember that even if it seems like there’s no hope, sometimes there is. Try talking to the person directly, maybe through a friend, and see what happens.

Listen to others closely

how to improve emotional intelligence in the workplace pdf

When you are listening to someone, make an effort to focus more on what they are saying than how they say it. If their tone of voice is changing, notice this and try to determine if this change is due to them being nervous or angry about something or whether it has nothing to do with that.

By using these two tips, you will improve your emotional intelligence as well as recognize when other people are not behaving appropriately.

If there was a way to learn just one thing from anyone, it would be how to listen. We spend lots of time talking, but investing in our ability to pay close attention to what others are telling us can strengthen our relationships and leadership skills.

Emotions exist so we have a tendency to get distracted by those, especially in the workplace where arguments often break out. By putting some effort into understanding why someone may be feeling hurt, frustrated or even enraged, you’ll know how to prevent conflicts and influence changes for the better.

Don’t be egotistical

how to improve emotional intelligence in the workplace pdf

Many people lack emotional intelligence because they are too focused on themselves. Your colleagues, superiors, and even your coworkers can’t do their jobs if they don’t have complete trust in you. They will constantly feel like they are being manipulated or fooled due to your behavior.

It is important to understand that not everyone will agree with you. Some things will clearly fall outside of what is acceptable workplace etiquette, so you must be able to recognize those situations and avoid acting upon them.

Avoid putting yourself ahead of the group and always consider other people’s points of view before making an assumption or offering a suggestion.

Be humble

how to improve emotional intelligence in the workplace pdf

A key part of emotional intelligence is being able to recognize your own emotions and how they influence you.
As humans, we spend a lot of time thinking about ourselves and what we want.

This can sometimes make us forget that not everyone around us feels the same way we do.

By ignoring or dismissing other people’s feelings, you could lose sight of some crucial information.

You might also overlook important relationships in their life because you don’t understand them.

Being more aware of others' emotions will help you develop personal effectiveness and leadership skills.

- Personal effectiveness means improving your ability to handle everyday situations effectively and skillfully.

It focuses on behaviors such as resolving conflicts with ease, showing empathy, taking responsibility for your actions, and keeping commitments.

Leadership skills are those that enable you to motivate and inspire others to work together towards a common goal.

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