3 Quick Steps to Developing Emotional Intelligence in the Workplace

By Nana Afia Tenkoramaa
Career & Money 3 Quick Steps to Developing Emotional Intelligence in the Workplace
DEC 14, 2022 LISTEN

One of the first things you should learn as a professional is how to be objective and intuitive; to know the intrinsic “Difference between how you feel about someone, and how they make you feel” – Matthew Hussey. This is more so important because, when it comes to happiness and success in life, EQ matters just as much as IQ. So, what then is EQ?

Emotional intelligence (otherwise known as emotional quotient or EQ) is the ability to understand, use, and manage your own emotions in positive ways to relieve stress, communicate effectively, empathise with others, overcome challenges and defuse conflict. As human beings, our emotions play a big part in who we are - regardless of age or maturity. During the mid-20th century, psychologist Paul Eckman, identified six basic emotions; happiness, sadness, disgust, fear, surprise, and anger that he suggested were universally experienced in all human cultures. So, as leaders in the workplace, how can we identify, understand, develop and manage these emotions for workplace success? In this article, we share our top three (3) tips to developing an effective EQ at the workplace.

1. Be Self-aware!
In the words of the great moral philosopher Socrates “Man know thyself”! For leaders everywhere, self-awareness is integral to growth. It means knowing, your own self; that is your feelings, thoughts, character, perceptions and actions among other crucial elements. Being self-aware makes it possible for you to recognise how others see you which is often very different from how you see yourself. Leaders who are self-aware recognise their strengths and challenges as well as the effect these may have on others. According to Goleman, to become self-aware, you must be capable of monitoring your own emotions, recognising different emotional reactions, and then correctly identifying each particular emotion. It is important to add that when you are aware of your emotions, it helps you in expressing and regulating them appropriately. Self-aware leaders are able to recognise the relationship between the things they feel and how they behave and are able to develop a growth mindset which enables them to learn from mistakes.

2. Practice Empathy
According to the Oxford English Dictionary, empathy, is the ability to understand and share in the feelings of others. The ability to truly empathise with your team mates, direct reports, clients, stakeholders and supervisors is integral to effective decision making and productivity. Practicing empathy involves more than just being able to recognise the emotional states of others, it is also essential to providing and receiving feedback. When as a leader, you can sense when someone is feeling poorly, putting up a front, is depressed or disheartened, then you are well on your way to becoming truly effective. You may have to change your approach, treat them with extra care and concern, or attempt to make an effort to lift their spirits. Are you interested in connecting with your team on a deeper level? Then start practicing empathy today!

3.Broaden Your Perception
George Eliot once said: “It is a narrow mind which cannot look at a subject from various points of view.” As a leader, you must learn to constantly reframe every situation, challenge and issue. Having a broad perspective of issues enables leaders to become more dynamic and ultimately contributes to strong emotional intelligence. This is because, although it is rather imperative to grow as a person, it is equally cardinal to widen your views as an individual. One of the best ways to broaden your perspective is by making new friends, connections and acquaintances, particularly within professional circles. When you meet new people and experience cultures you know nothing about, you experience a life learning lesson which keeps you down to earth. Experts say it makes your narcissism vanish and makes you more benevolent to others. Another way of building a different perspective is to try out new things. Do not be afraid to try something new. In the end, you will feel proud of yourself because you would have lived a life without fears and regrets, which is ultimately a great achievement.

Possessing the above-mentioned social skills, enhances who you are; it allows you to pick up on jokes, hold meaningful conversations with others, maintain friendships and relationships, identify sarcasm, and find common ground with diverse people to broaden your horizon.

To conclude, being an emotionally intelligent leader accrues many benefits. We should note that while it is possible to fake emotional intelligence as a leader, you will not get very far without it. However, daily practicing and developing true emotional intelligence will enable you to build effective relationships and connections with your team.