Technical skills and industry-specific competencies are certainly necessities in the workplace. Yet, no matter the sector, industry, or field, there is one skill that is critical for the sustainable success of every professional: emotional intelligence (EQ). Explore what comprises emotional intelligence and how to cultivate it in your workplace.
Understanding Emotional Intelligence
Emotional intelligence refers to the ability to understand and regulate one’s own emotions, and to understand the emotions of others. It supports empathy, collaboration, communication, and conflict resolution. There are four main components of EQ:
- The ability to perceive emotions
- The ability to understand emotions and their causes
- The ability to use emotions to inform cognitive processes
- The ability to regulate emotions and respond appropriately
Exploring the Importance of Emotional Intelligence in the Workplace
Emotional intelligence is important for people at all levels of an organization. However, it’s particularly vital for managers and executives, as these individuals are the ones who establish the culture of the entire workplace. Managers and executives who have a high EQ are more effective leaders and communicators. They understand the value of listening to many different perspectives before making an informed decision. They also understand how to nurture collaborative relationships, motivate and inspire others, make others feel that their contributions are valued, and negotiate resolutions to workplace conflicts.
Improving Your Emotional Intelligence
Regardless of whether you’re an employee or a high-level executive, you can bolster your career by actively striving to improve your EQ. Here’s a look at some practical ways that emotional intelligence can manifest itself in the workplace:
- Accepting responsibility and moving forward after making a mistake
- Working collaboratively with others and sharing one’s feelings productively
- Solving problems in a harmonious way
- Accepting helpful criticism without taking it personally
Developing these EQ skills can take quite a bit of practice. Be persistent as you work on the following:
- Do your best to ignore distractions when you’re in a conversation. Pay close attention to the speaker’s words and nonverbal communication cues.
- Repeat the speaker’s words when needed to develop a deeper understanding. (e.g. “So, it sounds like you’re saying we ought to develop a new product line, correct?”)
- When conflicts or differences of opinion arise, try to put yourself in the other person’s shoes and see the situation from their perspective.
- Actively reflect upon how your own emotions influence your actions and words.
- Consider how another person’s emotions might influence the way they are acting and speaking.
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