If you have ever worked in a corporate environment, chances are that you’ve heard the phrase ‘emotional intelligence’. This buzz phrase might have been mentioned in meetings or in personal development workshops. No doubt, you know what intelligence is. You may even have heard of some of the different kinds of intelligence out there:
But exactly what is emotional intelligence? Is emotional intelligence even relevant in the workplace?
Music, movies and popular culture depict the working world as a shark tank. A world in which any business conducted has to be cut-throat in nature. Ruthless. Devoid of any human emotion. While this notion may sell some popcorn at the movies and make for an entertaining night out, could it be that a new reality has started to change the modern workplace?
The ability to identify with your emotions, and perceive the emotions of others.
Possessing self-control and self-regulation.
Being able to step back from emotion and be objective.
Applying empathy when dealing with others.
The ability to positively influence the actions and decisions of those around you.
In short: emotional intelligence deals with how well you understand the feelings that drive you and those you work with. It also covers your ability to influence those feelings (for good!) in yourself and others.
The simple fact is that the skills that used to spell success are no longer enough. Yes, you may be efficient, and sure, you can close a deal. But firms have begun to see the role of ‘soft skills’ in their success. These so-called soft skills are the building blocks of ‘emotional intelligence’ or EQ. In a nutshell, EQ has to do with the essence of how you communicate; your ability to adapt; and your capacity for working with those in your team, clients, and anyone you meet.
This is a very good thing. Staff are no longer seen as just a means to an end. They are now being seen for their humanity and individuality. They are being valued for their thoughts and feelings. Their influence counts. Each person’s authentic self has become a key to the growth of a healthy business.
Strong leadership requires three things:
Balance in these areas will help you to identify with people in the workplace, anticipate their needs from a professional point of view, and lead with a greater range of emotional capacity.
As you begin to lead with a perceptive edge, you will find a greater ability to negotiate. You will be able to read the emotional cues of the people you deal with. You will learn what drives their thoughts and decisions. If you are able to regulate your own emotions in your job, those you work with will feel heard and seen. They will learn to trust you and thus you will become a positive influence in their lives.
Emotional intelligence helps to bring about a greater sense of self-awareness. As a working professional, it always helps to reflect on your behaviour. This in turn empowers you to develop your strengths and grow from your mistakes. Step back, step out of your own skin, and self-evaluate.
“The only constant is change.” – Heraclitus
Every day brings us some new technology to learn. Industries evolve at high speed. To keep up, we need to be able to reinvent ourselves if the need arises. Emotional intelligence in the workplace is crucial: We need to be equipped to recover from loss, deal with retrenchment – or even face personal tragedy. Our ability to deal with these incidents can only stem from dedicated practice of emotional intelligence. We need to be able to motivate ourselves and bounce back.
The self-awareness and empathy that emanates from emotionally intelligent people helps them to enjoy greater work-life balance and job satisfaction. With time and practise, you should also be able to tell the difference between emotions and events that matter, and ones that just don’t deserve your precious time and focus. When you do this, you learn to balance your emotions. In time, this leads to inner harmony.
Are you curious about your current levels of emotional intelligence? Assess your current state of emotional awareness and intelligence by taking a quiz
Now that we know about the benefits of emotional intelligence, how do we actually ‘walk the talk’ and go about creating emotional intelligence or an emotional quotient in our lives?
When you are able to listen to a colleague or client’s point of view, it builds better communication. What’s more, you learn to relate to one another. When people sense your air of empathy and harmony, they are able to trust you. Trust is key if you want to build better work relations.
It is good to be amiable and relate positively to people in a workplace. You do need to create boundaries, though. For your own sake, find ways to filter negative emotions and toxic influences. Without clear boundaries, it will be hard to maintain your equilibrium.
When you’re not on the job, find ways to feed your soul. Invest time in doing things that make you happy. This will allow you to develop as a person. Some options could be sport, hobbies, socialising, arts and crafts, gardening or anything that helps you find joy. Doing this often will help you develop resilience. Choose to do something fun after work or on the weekends – any time you can, really. Use this to create an internal reservoir of positivity that will help you to improve your work-life balance and job satisfaction.
The ability to build a genuine source of joy comes directly from having a sense of gratitude. Make it a daily practice to write down things that you are grateful for. Over time, you will see how this positively influences your entire state of mind.
Although EQ is becoming more mainstream, if you feel that you could use some extra guidance on how to build your own (or others’), you can enrol in an Emotional Intelligence course and study online.
Remember, building emotional intelligence is an important process that will take you beyond the classroom, lecture venue, or workplace and into any other life situation with ease and equip you for life in every way possible. Begin today!
Connect with us! Tell us how emotional intelligence has helped you in the workplace?
About the Author
Media professional, senior writer and blogger at Educor Holdings. I blog about matters that relate to education and personal development. I am an out-of-the-box thinker, fascinated with perceptions of the mind’s eye, the power of imagination and creative learning. I am passionate about the human experience, and an avid believer in dialogue, breaking stereotypes, sharing information and the power of the arts. I also appreciate fine coffee and dark chocolate. Join me on this journey of knowledge and exploration.