Emotional Intelligence in the Workplace

Updated: Mar 31

Emotional intelligence is vital in all aspects of life – at home with our families, in relationships with friends, and also in the workplace with our coworkers. Emotional intelligence is defined as a person's ability to recognize, understand, manage, and reason with emotions. It is a critical ability when it comes to interpersonal communication—and a hot topic not only in psychology but in the business world.

Research published in the American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education has proven that a strong propensity in emotional intelligence increases one’s ability to make sound decisions, build and sustain collaborative relationships, deal effectively with stress, and cope to a greater degree with constant change. It enables an individual not only to perform well in the workplace but also in accomplishing various other goals and objectives in his or her life.

Emotional Intelligence Within Different Job Titles

When it comes to emotional intelligence, it doesn’t matter what your job title is. Everyone in the office, from the CEO to the newest hire, should have the depth to contribute emotional intelligence to any situation. Emotional intelligence is essential to conflict management in the workplace, which means having the ability to help others through tense situations and having the skills to tactfully get through disagreements. Communication in the workplace is a door to making people feel seen and heard, which will make them more likely to compromise. Those who take time to understand different perspectives in the workplace assist in creating a middle ground for disagreements.

“When dealing with people, remember you are not dealing with creatures of logic, but with creatures of emotion." - Dale Carnegie

The Five Elements of Emotional Intelligence

According to Daniel Goleman, an American psychologist and author of the groundbreaking book, “Emotional Intelligence,” there are five key elements that help us attain a higher level of emotional intelligence.

1. Self-Awareness

Being able to recognize and understand your own emotions is a critical part of emotional intelligence. Being self-aware also means understanding the effects of your actions on those around you. To maintain self-awareness in the workplace, you must monitor your own emotions and recognize the relationships between what you feel and how you behave.

2. Self-Regulation

Self-regulating your emotions does not mean keeping them locked down but instead waiting for the right time and place to express them. Someone with emotional intelligence knows that not every emotion is appropriate to show at any given moment. Being flexible and adapting to the situation comes in handy when managing conflict in the workplace.

3. Motivation

Emotionally intelligent people are not motivated by materialistic ideals, but by their own inner needs and goals. Their internal rewards are a higher priority than external, society-driven needs. Being at peace within an experience and aiming to pursue dreams are deeply valued to those who are emotionally intelligent.

4. Empathy

Empathy and emotional intelligence go hand-in-hand. But being empathetic is much more than simply recognizing how others feel – it is monitoring your responses when someone is feeling depressed or disheartened. Someone with emotional intelligence will know when to treat others with a little extra care and concern.

5. Social Skills

Interacting well with others is another important aspect of emotional intelligence. In professional settings, everyone benefits by forming connections with each other. It is easier to get the work done when everyone feels comfortable collaborating. Important social skills include active listening, verbal communication skills, nonverbal communication skills, leadership, and persuasiveness.

How You Can Be Emotionally Intelligent at Work

No matter what field you work in, you can always bring a higher level of emotional intelligence to the office. You can start by noticing your own emotions and checking on those around you. Be aware of high-stress situations and prepare for them, like important meetings, presentations, and check-ins with your boss. If everyone works together with emotional intelligence in mind, the workplace will be a place of positivity and growth.

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