How To Show Emotional Intelligence At Work

Over the past few years, emotional intelligence (or EQ as it is commonly referred to) has become one of the most prominent workplace qualities employers look for. With the average job requiring more than 10 years in the field, companies are realizing that having a well-rounded employee means investing in your employees’ mental acuity.

Facets such as empathy, self-awareness, motivation, etc. can have significant impacts on an organization both internally and externally. This makes sense given that almost every position requires some level of teamwork or interaction with others, and successful collaborations depend on understanding other people and their emotions.

It is not surprising then to find that many top corporations make being emotionally intelligent a requirement. For example, Google puts a large emphasis on social skills like empathy and team work when hiring new hires. They also ask candidates how they would handle situations where there is no clear solution and if they could be motivated by something outside of money to help achieve company goals.

In fact, a recent study found that people who were able to recognize and control their feelings were twice as likely to remain employed at Walmart as those who did not.1 Finding ways to manage your own emotions may play a crucial part in keeping your current position and advancing up the ladder within the company.

Make eye contact

how to show emotional intelligence at work

Making direct, meaningful connections with others is one of the most important things you can do as an employee. When someone looks you in the eyes, they are investing in you, and asking for something from you — their time, attention, or both.

When we look away frequently, we send the unspoken message that there is nothing worth paying attention to inside us. We become invisible workers.

Making direct eye contact does not necessarily mean looking people in the eye for very long, but rather just enough for them to notice you doing it. It also doesn’t have to be a formal meeting; even a quick glance shows someone your interest and commitment.

It’s like when I was serving drinks at a party. If a person isn’t wearing anyone else’s hat, they will ask if you had fun planning the event, what events they should come to next week, and then put on the hat they already own.

That’s how it works with emotional intelligence. People who show up and lack empathy don’t need much more than someone putting down their coffee cup and going completely still before they walk away.

On the other hand, those who are able to recognize and manage emotions make better employees because they create calm environments and keep relationships strong.

By showing emotion and understanding why people feel the way they do, you demonstrate that you care about them and want to help them succeed.

Be consistent

how to show emotional intelligence at work

Consistency is one of the biggest factors in developing your emotional intelligence. If you show the same level of commitment to work every day, then people will know how dedicated you are and thus can predict what actions you will take under certain situations.

This goes beyond just showing up for work, it includes leaving work early without notice, taking breaks during the workday, and quitting your job if that isn’t working. All these things indicate that you don’t believe in the project or company very much, which doesn’t set well with other employees.

If someone asks you why you left your position, be prepared to give an honest answer. Don’t say something vague like “I needed another challenge,” because you didn’t and someone else did.

Instead, say something along the lines of “The leadership was not supporting my decisions, I felt unappreciated and wanted to pursue opportunities elsewhere.” It sounds better and more believable.

Be honest

how to show emotional intelligence at work

As mentioned earlier, being authentic is the most important thing when it comes to emotional intelligence. If you are not able to be true with people in this world, then you do not have much of an understanding of how others feel.

By that same token, if you are not able to show emotions yourself, then you will never truly understand what impact your actions have on those around you. You may believe you have shown emotion before, but unless someone else confirms that for you, then you will never know.

So, as a leader, make sure you are aware of all of the feelings of those around you. Know what they like and dislike about you, and recognize their moods so you can respond appropriately.

Be clear and direct with your messages and your tone of voice, and remember there is no wrong way to say something – even if it’s hard! Sometimes things go bad for a reason, and having more than one option helps everyone deal with the situation better.

Emotions connect us together, and without them we would probably grow distant from each other really quickly.

Listen to others closely

Develop your listening skills so that you understand what people are saying and how they feel about things. This is important in work settings, as well as outside of work; for example, if someone breaks up with their significant other, her friends might need some help dealing with it.

By showing empathy and understanding for others’ emotions, you will earn trust and respect from them. People will also tend to speak more openly when you listen to what they have to say.

It can be difficult to prioritize tasks when you're not paying close enough attention, which can negatively affect deadlines. By being aware of what others around you are talking about and thinking about ways to relate, you'll improve your efficiency as a person and employee.

Take notes or make recordings of conversations to better understand what was said. If there's something that you don't quite get, ask clarifying questions or look up the words in an dictionary.

Be realistic

how to show emotional intelligence at work

Most people are not very good at showing emotional intelligence towards others. If you put too much pressure onto someone else to make them feel better, they will probably stop responding to you or even avoid you altogether.

This is definitely not what you want for your career or personal life! Therefore, be aware of your own in-control emotions and try to reduce the stress that you are putting on other people.

It also makes sense to ask if they need help before offering it to them. Sometimes, people don’t want or can’t afford their needed assistance.

Running out of things to say or time because they have run out of things to say is totally normal and doesn’t mean that they do not like you anymore. It may just show how overloaded they are at the moment.

Provide reassurance

how to show emotional intelligence at work

Reassuring people often is a good way to show emotional intelligence. This can be done through talk or actions.

People who have high emotional intelligence are aware of how to make other individuals feel better. They know what type of conversation will help someone else feel more relaxed or confident.

They also are able to recognize when something looks wrong or off and they can take action to fix it. These things are valuable in the workplace, as employees look to these professionals for guidance and support.

If you’re looking to improve your own EQ, try offering tips and tricks that relate to this topic. You could do this via blogs, social media, chat programs, etc.

Be optimistic

how to show emotional intelligence at work

Even if you don’t believe everything is going your way, be optimistically oriented so that you can respond in ways that are productive rather than reactive.

Research shows that people who are consistently upbeat experience lower stress levels and enjoy their work more.

Optimism also helps mitigate depression and anxiety by reducing feelings of hopelessness and negativity.

When you're in an unhappy or stressful situation, being able to reduce your own negative emotions can help you get through it more effectively. And we all know what a powerful tool that can be.

It's worth noting that while optimism is helpful, you cannot assume that things will always go your way. This could include other people, situations, or life events that may test your patience or efficiency.

Furthermore, even when things do not turn out as planned, staying positive can help you move forward from them.

Be spontaneous

how to show emotional intelligence at work

Many people think that having emotional intelligence means being able to show emotions when things go your way or they go away, but this is not it! Having emotional intelligence actually refers to how you manage and deal with your own feelings as well as other peoples’.

Being emotionally intelligent doesn’t mean acting like someone who has no self-control; it means controlling yourself in difficult situations so that you can work effectively. This may mean keeping quiet instead of saying something you want to say, it may mean ignoring what others have said and done, and it may mean avoiding a person or situation for a while until you feel more relaxed.

It also takes time to develop emotional intelligence. While some people are naturally good at showing empathy and understanding, most aren’t – which is why it's a skill we should all strive to learn.

But don't worry - even if you're not very empathetic now, there are ways to improve your levels of EI. All of us have certain skills that help us relate to other people, and you can strengthen those too. Here are some tips to try.

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