Emotional Intelligence (EI) is the ability to manage, understand and recognize your own emotions as well as others around you.
It’s sometimes referred to as a “soft” skill, but there’s nothing soft about the benefits EI can bring you in the workplace if you can master it. You might think this skill is only useful for senior executives, but in fact, it’s critical for employees at all stages in their career. For instance, if you’re looking to rise into a leadership position or take on more responsibility in your current role, increasing your EI is a great ability to cultivate as it is a key skill that employers want in student and new grad hires.
But how does one do this? Read on for some egg-cellent tips on how to increase your EI!
1. Improve self-awareness
Practice monitoring how you feel throughout the day and take notice of what sparks certain emotions. For example, have you ever expressed an opinion in a way that annoyed or offended a co-worker? If your intentions are not resulting in the desired outcome, then you need to investigate further. You cannot control the actions of others, but you can adjust your approach. Remember: being self aware is imperative to being a great leader.
2. Develop emotional management skills
It’s important for students and grads to develop ways to manage emotionally-charged situations. You do not want to do something while angry that will negatively impact your career in the future. A good tip is to not respond instantly when upset – take a second and count to five in your head before you act. Emails cannot be unsent, so taking time to think through your actions is imperative. Also, seeking more information can help clarify things. By developing a plan to help cope with heated situations, you will ensure that you don’t do something that could have a destructive fallout.
3. Increase ability to show empathy
Empathy is your ability to respond and understand the emotions of the people around you. It is treating people with respect and kindness – by letting people know you understand where they are coming from, it shows that you care. A good place to start is by developing your active listening skills. By using your body language to convey your attention and asking questions to clarify certain points, you will show your coworkers that you are invested in what they’re trying to say and respect their opinions.
4. Advance emotional connections
It’s not simply enough to be aware of your actions, it’s also important to be able to mediate the actions of others, especially in times of conflict. There are always two sides to every situation, and being able to bridge that gap will help advance emotional connections and relationships. When resolving conflicts, remember that you don’t have to “sort things out” or make decisions for the parties involved. The focus should be on helping the parties work together to find their own agreement.
5. Expand social skills
Simply put, having strong social skills shows employers that you are capable of constructing networks and managing relationships – a necessary capability for leadership. It also conveys that you can communicate with others effectively.
If your interpersonal skills need some help, try arming yourself with some open-ended questions to help keep conversations flowing. For example, a question like “How did you get started with the company?” invites much more detail than if you asked, “Do you like your job?”
As you can see, there are plenty of ways Emotional Intelligence can help you in the workplace. Start developing these skills now so you can be an EI expert in no time!