While emotional skills can come naturally to some people, there are things anyone can do to improve their ability to understand and reflect with emotions. This can be particularly useful in a workplace where relationships and business decisions often rely on interpersonal understanding, teamwork and communication.
Factors such as upbringing and personality tend to play a big role in the development of emotional intelligence, but this is a skill that can be improved with effort and practice.
A 2011 study found that participants who trained in key emotional skills showed lasting improvements in emotional intelligence. They also had improvements in physical and mental well-being, better social relationships and lower levels of cortisol (stress hormone). If you are interested in improving your emotional intelligence skills to take advantage of your performance in the workplace, take steps to improve your skills in the five categories of emotional intelligence: self-awareness, self-regulation, social skills, empathy and motivation.
Become more self-conscious
One of the first steps towards using emotional intelligence skills in the workplace is to exercise, how to recognize your own emotions. Self-consciousness involves being aware of different aspects of yourself, including your emotions and feelings. This is one of the main components of emotional intelligence. To recognize your emotions and understand what causes these feelings, you must first realize yourself.
- • Pay attention to how you feel. How do these emotions affect how you react? Do the things you experience affect the decisions you make or how you interact with others? As you ponder these questions, you may find that you are much more aware of your own emotions and the role they play in your daily life.
- • Take stock of emotional strengths and weaknesses. How well do you communicate with others? Do you think you often feel impatience, anger, or annoyance? What are the ways you can effectively deal with these feelings? Recognizing weaknesses allows you to look for ways to deal with them.
- • Remember that emotions are fleeting. A colleague can annoy you or your boss can give you a frustrating task to complete. Before you react, remember that these things are temporary. Making thoughtless decisions based on intense emotions can harm your long-term goals and success.
Goulman has defined self-regulation as a critical part of emotional intelligence. Being aware of your emotions is an important first step, but you also need to be able to manage your feelings.
People who have good self-regulation are able to adapt well to changing situations. They don’t drip things; they are waiting for appropriate ways to express their emotions instead of reacting impulsively.
To improve your self-regulation skills in the workplace:
- • Find stress relief techniques at work. Having a hobby outside of work is a great place to start. Exercise is also a healthy way to relieve stress.
- • Be calm. Accept the fact that you can’t control everything. Look for useful ways to react that do not add oil to the fire.
- • Think before making decisions. Emotions can overwhelm you in the heat of the moment. You can make a more relaxed and rational choice if you give yourself time to consider all options.
Improving social skills
Research on the psychology of emotions shows that people with high EQ also have strong social skills. Because they are skilled at recognizing the emotions of others, they are able to respond adequately to the situation. Social skills are also highly valued in the workplace because they lead to better communication and a more positive company culture.
Employees and leaders with great social skills are able to build a relationship with colleagues and convey their ideas effectively. People with good social skills are not only excellent team players, but they can also take on leadership roles when needed. To increase your social skills:
- • Listen to what others say. That doesn’t just mean passive listening to other people’s conversations. Active listening involves paying attention, asking questions, and providing feedback. Whether you’re a manager or a team member, active listening can show that you’re passionate about work projects and want to work with others to help the group achieve its goals.
- • Pay attention to non-verbal communication. The signals that people send through their body language can convey a lot about what they really think.
- • Sharpen your persuasion skills. Being able to influence the workplace and persuade team members and leaders to listen to your ideas can make a big contribution to your career progress.
- • Avoid office drama. Do your best to stay away from the small-office politics that sometimes occupy the workplace, but keep in mind that conflicts cannot always be avoided. Focus on hearing the opinions of others and look for ways to solve problems and minimize tension.