There are a plethora of skills required to navigate the workplace successfully, and high emotional intelligence is no exception.
Emotional intelligence is the capacity of individuals to recognise their own and other people’s emotions. It is the ability to differentiate between a variety of feelings and label them appropriately. We use emotional information, or cues, to guide our thinking and behaviour.
As the world continues to recover from a global pandemic, much of our in-person interactions have been nurtured in the virtual space.
Develop Your Emotional Intelligence
Now, more than ever, it is important to develop your emotional intelligence. Doing so will not only strengthen your interpersonal relationships in the workplace, but also provide numerous benefits to your personal life as well.
The question is, how can you enhance emotional intelligence? Here are seven ways:
1. Label your feelings.
When we experience an emotion, we often react to it before identifying it. Practice saying to yourself, I feel angry, I feel furious. I feel upset, I feel happy…Taking a moment to process and name your emotion will help you identify this emotion in others.
Remember, emotions come with different degrees of intensity. You can be upset, or you can be outraged, the two are quite different. Do not reserve this exercise for negative emotions. Practice with positive, uplifting ones as well.
2. Recognise the challenge.
Train yourself to see the hidden signs in your environment. Be on the lookout for tone of voice, body language, body proximity, and eye contact of other parties.
Can you determine when your colleague is nervous? Or if your boss seems distracted by something? These nonverbal cues can help you determine the best way to respond. As you play detective and focus your attention outward, you are strengthening your emotional intelligence.
3. Channel your empathy.
Be attuned to the things that wake up your human side. Empathy can pacify negative emotions instantly. Even if it is just a small feeling in your stomach, don’t ignore it.
Empathy is essential when it comes to emotional intelligence. For example, imagine your irritating colleague is your best friend, just for a few moments. Notice how your attitude changes with this visualisation exercise.
4. Be heard, respectfully.
One of the biggest culprits that contribute to workplace dysfunction is passive aggression. When you don’t voice your concerns to the proper entity, and instead let them grow inside of you like a volcano, you will eventually blow.
Practice initiating constructive and respectful conversations with your colleagues and management. This will help you build trust with colleagues and promote a culture of respect.
5. Ask for help.
We often think we have to go through work alone and that asking for help is a sign of weakness. There is great strength in asking for help. It says, I value others.
Whether you need help completing a project or are curious about outside resources that can help you such as training in time management, coaching or other areas of personal development, asking for help shows strength and self-awareness.
6. Embrace your vulnerability.
When you share your shadow side appropriately, that is, share your shortcomings as a teachable moment or admit your challenges among your cohort, you open up the gates of connection.
Humans connect through vulnerability. By being honest and not filtering your personal journey, you can develop meaningful connections with others and enhance your emotional intelligence.
7. Forgive yourself.
Along the same lines of vulnerability, remember that you are human, and you are flawed. Things are going to upset you. Work will stress you out from time to time. No one on earth is perfect.
The best thing you can do is take each situation you encounter and learn from it. Our mistakes are our greatest teachers. High emotional intelligence also means having a high degree of self-compassion and self-awareness.
By practicing these tactics, you can elevate your emotional intelligence and will see the benefits in your professional and personal life.
Remember, however, that you won’t be able to improve your emotional intelligence overnight. It is a journey that takes practice.
But with each step, you will feel more confident, more aware, and more attuned to others’ emotions as well as your own.
If there is one takeaway, you should remember it is: awareness is the key. Grow in your awareness of yourself and others, and the rest will fall in line.
Written by Salman Raza
Salman Raza is founder and CEO of training and development consultancy Razalution Bureau.
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