Excel at Work: Foster Your Emotional Intelligence
What qualities come to mind when you think of a good leader or a good boss? I am sure that no matter who you ask, the answer will include traits such as charisma, empathy, resilience, integrity, confidence, or decision-making skills. These are all characteristics of emotional intelligence.
Every good professional or entrepreneur must have a healthy dose of emotional intelligence to thrive at work. As a matter of fact, EQ (emotional intelligence) is more important than IQ to predict performance. But what does emotional intelligence look like at work?
5 Examples of What EQ Looks Like at Work
- You get along with others naturally
- You respond carefully, even in the face of a challenge
- You have the ability to work well in teams
- You are proactive and can adjust to change
- You listen carefully and are not reactive in meetings
As you can see with these examples, emotional intelligence is the capacity to be aware and in control of our emotions and manage them to adapt to our environment, succeed in our relationships with others, and fully appreciate ourselves. As with any other capacity, it can be broken down into a set of skills and behaviors that can be learned and developed.
The 4 Elements of Emotional Intelligence
- Self-Awareness: This is the ability to identify and understand your feelings, motives, and desires, and to recognize the impact you have on others and your surroundings. A self-aware individual has mastered introspection and knows themselves so well they can leverage their strengths and improve on their weaknesses with patience, forgiveness, and self-love. Self-awareness is the base of the emotional intelligence pyramid and it begins by getting to know yourself better.
- Self-Regulation or Self-Control: Once you are self-aware, then you can self-regulate. As you get to know yourself deeply and begin to understand and embrace your temper and personality, you will be able to foresee and control your disruptive impulses and behaviors. Self-regulation takes lots of practice, but if you have mastered self-awareness you will have the strength and resiliency to forgive yourself and keep trying. A self-regulating individual is adaptable, trustworthy, balanced, and in control.
- Social Awareness: This is the ability to identify and understand other people´s emotions. It looks a lot like empathy that results in kindness. A socially aware individual is able to put themselves in other people´s shoes and work with them towards their goals—whether it´s giving them tough advice or listening to their problems in an understanding way.
- Social Skills or Relationship Management: This fourth element is at the top of the emotional intelligence pyramid. Social skills are what everyone wants in a leader, but you can´t be an outstanding leader without first having self-awareness, self-regulation, and social awareness. Some of the social skills you’ll be able to organically practice after developing the other three elements of emotional intelligence are conflict management, teamwork, and the ability to motivate and inspire others.
Ready to start on your journey towards emotional intelligence and become a better team player, entrepreneur, or boss at work? Here are a few questions you can ask yourself every day to raise your awareness and foster your emotional intelligence.
4 Questions to Boost Your EQ at Work
- How does my current mood affect my thoughts and behaviors? (Self-Awareness)
- What unhelpful emotion or limiting belief can I let go of? (Self-Control)
- What language are my colleagues using at work? (Social Awareness)
- Can I empathize without agreeing? (Relationship Management)
Learn How to Increase Your EQ
Another great way to increase your emotional intelligence and leadership skills is to practice mindfulness. It promotes emotional regulation and mitigates impulsivity by introducing a necessary space of observation and acceptance between the stimuli (what happens to us) and our response. And mindfulness is not only self-reflective; you can be mindful of others as well, which will increase your compassion and ability to understand those around you.
Use your IQ to increase your EQ through study and practice. As a leadership and executive coach, I work with clients on their emotional intelligence every day. Following the approach used by Chade-Meng Tan, author of Search inside Yourself, I focus on mindfulness as the base for emotional intelligence. We must see ourselves objectively and perceive our emotions with a higher level of clarity and resolution to become the best version of ourselves, in life and at work. My clients already have the expertise and the intelligence to complete their jobs, but improving their mindfulness and social awareness maximizes their personal and professional potential.
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