How To Use Emotional Intelligence To Build Workplace Relationships

Over the past few years, emotional intelligence (or EQ as it is commonly referred to) has become one of the most popular leadership theories. It looks at how well you control your emotions and what effect those emotions have on others.

Some believe that it is an essential skill for anyone wishing to succeed in life or working career. Others say that it is overrated and even harmful in some cases.

Regardless, there are now many different programs and courses available which teach you ways to improve your own EQ. These include things like lowering verbal aggression, understanding non-verbal cues, and changing negative patterns of thinking.

While this may sound interesting, does actually improving your EQ help people relate better to each other? And is it really worth the investment if it doesn’t work?

This article will look at some potential benefits of investing in your EQ, and also discuss some pitfalls to be aware of.

Make eye contact

how to use emotional intelligence to build workplace relationships

Making direct eye contact with someone is one of the most powerful nonverbal behaviors you can use in relationships. When making eye contact, try to do it for at least six seconds!

Direct eye contact shows that you are interested in what they have to say and demonstrates respect for them. It also creates trust as people feel seen and understood when others make an effort to look their way.

When we avoid looking other people in the eyes, we sometimes conceal how well we understand them or what they mean to us. This can be frustrating for them because they need your attention to know that you care about them.

It’s important to remember that not everyone will like you or like this situation, so don’t overanalyze why things didn’t work out. Just keep trying until you find a setting or context where eye contact feels natural.

Be consistent

how to use emotional intelligence to build workplace relationships

Consistency is one of the most important qualities in people relationships. You know what you’ll get when you show up for work every day, so why not extend that same level of commitment to your colleagues?

Consistent behaviors will help create trust and loyalty, which are fundamental workplace relationships. When you demonstrate consistency, you set clear expectations and communicate clearly and consistently with both your peers and superiors.

If you don’t agree with something someone says, don’t lash out, discuss the matter calmly and thoughtfully. Don’t assume anything about them unless they tell you directly, and treat them with respect even if you disagree.

On the other hand, if you do agree with something they say, back it up with strong evidence and reasoning. Do not exaggerate or use emotional arguments though – stick to facts and data.

It may be difficult at times, but remember that everyone has different strengths and weaknesses and no one person can do everything well, especially if there is another candidate who could fill the position as effectively (or worse than) you.

Don’t put off talking to each other because you think it won’t achieve anything, we all have our days where we feel like giving up. Keep trying until you succeed.

Be realistic

how to use emotional intelligence to build workplace relationships

Sometimes we get so focused on proving how smart or good we are that we forget what really matters in life. You will not feel happy for very long if you do not know who is going to be there for you when you need them.

As human beings, we connect with others on an emotional level. We form relationships with people by demonstrating empathy, respect, gratitude and admiration.

By being aware of your own emotions and those of other individuals, you can better understand why things have gone wrong and learn from these mistakes to ensure it does not happen again.

This is called understanding emotion. It is important to realize that not everyone feels the same way about the same thing at the same time. This is why it is difficult to use emotion as a tool – you cannot apply pressure to someone else’s feelings.

Instead, you must be able to recognize your own feelings and put them into context. For example, you may want to talk to someone but they may not respond because they are having a bad day.

Share your feelings

how to use emotional intelligence to build workplace relationships

It’s easy to assume that people who show their emotions are weak, or even that they don’t know how to be emotional.

That couldn't be more wrong! Becoming more aware of your own emotions and those of others is an important part of developing healthy relationships.

By being conscious of your own emotions and those of other people, you will learn how to regulate them and use them effectively. You'll also understand why other people feel the way they do, which can only help your relationship with them.

Sharing your true feelings can actually strengthen your relationships — but not always immediately.

It takes time to develop trust, and there's no quick fix for lacking confidence in yourself or others. But if you work on it, I think you'll find that sharing your innermost thoughts helps you appreciate the people around you, and vice versa.

Be honest with your peers

how to use emotional intelligence to build workplace relationships

As mentioned before, being able to read other people’s emotions is an important part of emotional intelligence. When someone notices that you aren’t quite yourself, they will probably wonder why. It could be because you just found out that one of your friends has something expensive, but not very expensive, so he or she got a new phone case. Or maybe it's because their roommate just bought a boat and you don't want to tell them because you think they'll get too excited about it.

Whatever the reason, it's totally normal for others to ask what you're feeling, and it can sometimes make you feel uncomfortable. That's why it's essential to be honest when others try to connect with you.

Listen to others closely

One of the most important things you can do as a leader is listen to other people. Leaders spend time listening to those that work under them, to external sources such as vendors and customers, and also to internal peers such as colleagues.

By paying close attention to what everyone around you has to say, you will learn a lot about who your teammates are and about the job role you have been given. You’ll also get an idea of how they feel about their position in the organisation and how well they perceive their responsibilities.

This can be done either face-to-face or via phone calls, messages and emails. It doesn’t matter whether you are talking to someone less than half a metre away from you, or across an ocean; listening is an easy thing to lose track of when money (or politics) are involved.

Don’t be egotistical

how to use emotional intelligence to build workplace relationships

Now, I know what you are thinking – why would someone want to be like Steve Jobs or Bill Gates? Why would anyone even try to be like that?

Well, it is because they have high emotional intelligence (EI).

And we all have our own levels of EI -- some people seem to get really excited about the same things over and over while other people can't stay engaged with anything for longer than one minute.

That's okay! It's not about having the highest level of EQ always, but being able to recognize your emotions and understand how they affect others around you and yourself.

Be humble

how to use emotional intelligence to build workplace relationships

A lot of people have a tendency to think that they are more important than others, or at least that they deserve better treatment from other people. This can sometimes lead to some pretty frustrating experiences for those around them.

People who struggle with this may also become very self-important and arrogant. They believe that everything should be done just because they say so, or because it is their idea.

This will not go well for you, your colleagues, or yourself. People will get tired of being treated like resources to be used and then discarded, and they will give up working with you.

When someone has made you feel bad about yourself, try to remember that person’s past struggles and how they overcame such things to develop their own personal strength.

Maybe you learned something from their behavior.

By thinking about what caused them to lose focus before, you can find a way to relax about their comments. It could even help you apply these strategies in your own life.

Be honest and direct when asking questions. Don’t ask if someone knows the answer to a question unless you really want to know the truth!

If someone does not seem to care much about a project, maybe they would rather spend time chatting instead of putting effort into it. Try to talk to them about why it is important to them, but don’t force them to explain anything.

Let them decide whether or not to respond to you.

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