how to improve emotional intelligence

Are you looking for ways to improve emotional intelligence at work? In today’s competitive workplace, where employees are expected to perform better and faster, emotional intelligence becomes even more important.

Emotional intelligence (EI) refers to the ability to perceive, control, and express emotions. EI helps us manage our emotions effectively and leads to improved relationships, performance, and productivity.

It has become essential to develop emotional intelligence skills in order to succeed in the modern workplace. The good news is that you don’t have to wait until you retire to start developing these skills. You can learn them now!

Here we will be discussing how you can improve your emotional intelligence in the workplace.

There will also be sharing some tips on how to increase emotional intelligence in the workplace, as well as a few books that you should read if you want to enhance your emotional intelligence

What Is Emotional Intelligence? 

Emotional intelligence is the ability to perceive, control, and express emotions. It involves the perception of one’s own emotional state as well as that of others, the understanding of how emotions influence behavior, and the regulation of emotion.

There are two types of emotional intelligence: cognitive and noncognitive. Cognitive, and emotional intelligence refers to the ability to understand and manage our thoughts, feelings, and behaviors.

Noncognitive emotional intelligence includes traits such as assertiveness, motivation, goal orientation, and interpersonal skills.

The main purpose of emotional intelligence is to enhance personal effectiveness. It allows people to deal better with life challenges.

There are five different components of Emotional Intelligence:

  1. Self-awareness
  2. Self-regulation
  3. Internal (or intrinsic) motivation
  4. Empathy
  5. Social skills

Why emotional intelligence makes you more successful

There are many things that we can do to improve our work life. We can learn new skills, get better at what we already know and make sure that we have a good working environment.

But there is one thing that will help you in every aspect of your life, including your career. That is emotional intelligence.

When we talk about emotional intelligence, we mean the ability to perceive, understand, regulate and use emotions effectively.

The importance of emotional intelligence is that it helps you become more effective in your job and also in any other area of your life.

Here are some benefits of having high levels of emotional intelligence:

  • Improved communication skills
  • Better decision making
  • Increased productivity
  • Higher quality relationships
  • More satisfaction at work
  • Greater sense of belongingness
  • Lower stress levels
  • Improved health
  • Better performance
  • Better leadership
  • Better teamwork
  • Better team building
  • Better organizational skills
  • Better time management
  •  Better problem solving
  •  Better relationship building
  • Better customer service
  •  Better sales
  • Better negotiation skills
  • Better conflict resolution
  • Better leadership skills

Ways to Develop the Emotional Intelligence of Your Workforce

Focus on self-awareness

Self-awareness is one of the most important aspects of emotional intelligence. It allows you to understand your own feelings and thoughts. Self-awareness helps you identify what you need to change or improve upon.

To gain self-awareness, it is important to focus on yourself. This means being aware of when you feel angry, sad, happy, frustrated, etc.

When you notice an emotion coming up, ask yourself why you feel that way. What happened earlier in the day that led to this feeling? How do you think others would react if they knew about this feeling?

Stop and think about your feelings

Self-awareness begins with recognizing your own emotions and understanding how they affect you and others.

Emotionally intelligent people don’t allow their emotions to control their behavior. Self-awareness begins with self-reflection.

You need to encourage employees to ask themselves questions such as:

  • What are my strengths and weaknesses on the emotional front?
  • How does my current mental state affect my thinking and decision-making?
  • What is happening beneath the surface that influences my words and actions?

Questions like these help you identify your strengths and weaknesses, which can then be used to develop new interpersonal skills.

Over time, they will develop a greater understanding of how they come across social situations and learn how to avoid the negative influences, enhancing their positive ones.

Practice mindfulness

Mindfulness is another key aspect of emotional intelligence. It involves paying attention to the present moment without judgment.

Mindfulness helps you be more aware of your surroundings and your body. It also helps you stay calm and relaxed. Practicing mindfulness exercises regularly will help you build emotional intelligence.

Mindfulness is the ability to focus on the present moment. Mindfulness increases your awareness of your thoughts, emotions, and actions. It helps you become aware of your inner world so you can understand yourself better.

Learn how to identify and regulate emotions.

Identifying and regulating emotions is the first step toward improving emotional intelligence. The following steps explain how to do this:

Be assertive

Assertiveness is another important component of emotional intelligence. Assertiveness is defined as “the quality of being able to speak out one’s needs and opinions clearly and directly while maintaining respect for other people’s rights and feelings.”

Being assertive means expressing your opinion without fear of offending someone else.

Being assertive also means not letting negative comments from others get under your skin. Instead, practice taking time to reflect on whether those comments were true or false.

 Learn to say no

One of the biggest challenges in life is learning to say no. Saying no doesn’t mean that you are rude. Rather, saying no shows that you value yourself and your priorities.

Saying no takes courage. However, once you master the art of saying no, you will find that you are happier, healthier, and more productive.

Show empathy towards others

Empathy is not only important for leaders, but also for any member of a group.

It is about understanding and responding to the feelings and thoughts of others and considering how it would feel to be in their shoes

According to an article in the Harvard Business Review, it is about reaching a resonant connection with someone even if you won’t ever agree on everything. If you reach the “I understand” level, it’s enough!

Emotionally intelligent individuals ask themselves questions such as “What am I feeling right now?” or as following :

  • Do I use the Platinum Rule, which means treating people the way they want you to treat them?
  • Do I question my instincts when it comes to people and ideas?
  • Do I find it hard to work with people who don’t share my values?

A caring person isn’t always in agreement with other people’s ideas. Gut reactions are often flawed because they’re based on unconscious biases.

Showing that you’re trying to understand their point of view will help build stronger relationships with your colleagues. It’s particularly helpful when you’re working with someone who is difficult to deal with.

Express gratitude

Gratitude is a great tool for building emotional intelligence. It helps you appreciate what you already have instead of focusing on what you don’t.

Gratitude helps you see the positive side of things. It helps you avoid dwelling on problems and focuses on solutions.

Become a Great Listener

Just like any other skill, emotional intelligence becomes better if you practice. Work with your team members to role-play potential difficult situations and how you’d respond.

Discussing these scenarios in a neutral environment will inevitably provide insights into the real concerns your teams have.

Practice doesn’t always make perfect, but practice makes for more compassionate leaders.

Next time you’re having a conversation, notice if your primary focus is to understand or to respond.

Try listening to what the other person is trying to say, and then responding by rephrasing what you heard back to them. By listening carefully, it may be possible to hear more than what was said.

Take care of yourself

Taking care of yourself is another way to boost your emotional intelligence. If you take care of yourself, you will be more productive at work. You will also be less stressed out and more focused.

Listen to understand and not answer

Listening is an important skill but one that’s often neglected. Even if you don’t agree with your colleague’s point of view, it is important to acknowledge their point of view and say “I hear you”.

Oprah Winfrey‘s amazing success is based upon her ability to connect with people.

She doesn’t have a list of interview questions when she speaks to people. She actively listens and lets her next question flow from her interviewee’s response. Simple. By using this simple method, she builds trust and rapport.

Ask yourself these questions:

  • How do I come off to the person I‘m talking to?
  • Do I really understand the dialogue?
  • Should I interrupt people?
  • Do I listen so that I can talk next, OR do I listen to understand?

Find ways to relax

Relaxation techniques include meditation, yoga, deep breathing, listening to music, reading, going for walks, etc.

These activities help you release stress and anxiety. They also give you time to think about something other than work.

Think About How Your Actions Affect Others

The truth is that you are not isolated from others, no one is. Everything you do has an effect on other people. This is why it’s so important to consider how you’re going to act toward these people.

Before doing anything, pause for a moment and consider what your actions will mean to them. Will you create positive feelings or generate negative feedback?

What will happen if you don’t take action? Do you know how to handle these issues? Could you do things differently?

Spend time with friends and family

Spending time with loved ones helps you develop relationships. Relationships are essential to emotional intelligence because they provide support during times of trouble.

Embrace constructive conflict

Conflict is usually uncomfortable, especially at work. People tend to view these things negatively. However, constructive conflicts can foster camarad­er­ship, reduce groupthink, encourage growth, and improve team performance.

Recognizing that conflict is inevitable and that the other person may not perceive it as threatening as you do can help you feel less anxious when it arises.

For example, for many people, friction and disagreement are signs of respect for you as an expert, taking ideas seriously, the importance of the stakes, and so forth. Conflict is a means of reaching better answers.

Take responsibility for your actions. Many people avoid conflict and feedback because they’re afraid they might be doing something wrong.

Conflict doesn’t have to be about right versus wrong. It is about seeing things from another point of view and learning from them. You can always decide to take an active role in improving a difficult situation.

Make new connections

Networking is another way to improve emotional intelligence. Social networking sites like LinkedIn can help you make new contacts and meet new people.

Be Humble

Think about the person who makes you the most frustrated at work. They’re probably someone who craves attention constantly, boasts about their accomplishments, and don’t care about anyone else’s feelings.

Intelligent people who have high emotional intelligence don’t do the exact opposite. They act rationally.

They let others take the spotlight and get praised for their achievements. With this, they exude inner confidence, which is not dependent on external achievements.

Become aware of what you’re feeling

Awareness of your emotions enables you to choose whether or not to act upon them.

If you don’t know what you’re feeling, then you won’t be able to decide whether or not acting upon those feelings will benefit you.

See challenges and criticism as a learning opportunity

Encourage employees to take time to think about how they respond to criticism and try to handle the feedback in a positive manner.

This means working on the emotions they feel when they receive negative feedback and helping them to think about how they might deal with similar situations in the future.

It may be that you were given harsh feedback but there was some truth to it.

Emotionally intelligent individuals have learned to reflect on their feelings and emotions.

  • Why did this upset me?
  • How did I feel? And How do I act after then?
  • What can I do to not blame others or find excuses for why I did something wrong?

As you become more emo­tionally intelligent, you will be able to motiva­tively motivate yourself more easily and react well to a challenge. You will be motivated to reach goals even when the path isn’t smooth.

Understand why you feel certain ways

Understanding why you feel a certain way helps you identify the cause of your emotions. You’ll be able to take steps to prevent future occurrences.

Learn To Express Yourself

Many people are afraid of expressing their feelings. They’re either afraid of public speaking or just too shy. This is something you shouldn’t be doing at work.

If you don’t speak up, it will eventually affect you professionally. You may be passed up for promotion or be seen by others as someone who doesn’t have any new ideas.

Be careful when speaking. A key part of sharing your own emotions is doing so in a positive way. You don’t want to sound overly harsh, negative, and/or critical.

Learn to manage your emotions

Managing your emotions means being able to recognize when they’re going too far, and knowing how to get them back under control.

Avoid judgment

We often judge ourselves by our intentions, while judging others by their actions.

When something happens at your workplace that doesn’t turn out the way you want, take your instinctive response “to trial.

Did this person really do anything wrong, or are you just worried about the outcome?

How can you understand their decisions in a different way?

Ask yourself, ‘What would I have done if I were in that situation?’ If you change your perspective and put yourself in the driver‘s seat, you’ll be able to build empathy and regain your feeling of control.

Get involved in community service projects

Community service projects help you learn how to interact with people who may have different beliefs, views, and backgrounds than you do. This experience teaches you empathy and compassion.

Manage your relationships well

One of the essential methods to improve the employee’s emotional intelligence is managing your relationships well.

Emotional intelligence helps you communicate better, handle conflicts more smoothly, and encourage others to trust you. They are able to share the joy of success with others.

When you look at how you deal with others at work, you need to ask yourself: 

  • Have I neglected anyone’s needs in the team?
  • Have I been too blunt or subtle when communicating with someone from a different culture?
  • Do I praise people for their contributions at work and acknowledge them for their efforts?

 Share experiences

Sharing your own experiences can teach you valuable lessons. For example, if you share an experience related to a particular topic, it gives you insight into how others feel.

 Focus on strengths

Emotional intelligence is all about self-awareness. One of the best ways to increase your awareness of your strengths and weaknesses is by using a strengths assessment tool.

Build self-awareness

Emotionally intelligent people are able to recognize and manage their emotions.

The single most important thing you need to do to build emotional intelligence is to become aware of how your emotions and triggers drive your behavior and then learn to control them.

It’s not an easy job and can even be difficult. You can work with a coach who can help you understand yourself and others with compassion.

Be specific when labeling your emotions. Instead of just letting yourself get annoyed, angry, frustrated, threatened, or anxious, try disappointed, frustrated, or even threatened instead. Which label feels more true to you?

Be open to change

Change is inevitable. Even though we want things to stay the same, change is necessary. Change helps us grow as individuals and as a society.

Don’t compare yourself to others

The comparison makes you unhappy. When you compare yourself to someone else, you are setting yourself up for failure. Instead, look at yourself through the lens of success.

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