10 ways to use emotional intelligence in the workplace

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We use emotional intelligence (EI) to empathize, influence, diffuse conflicts, and handle failures in the workplace context. In general, emotions always precede thoughts. When we are high on emotions, cognitive & logical skills of our brain subside, which affects our decision-making abilities and social skills.

We use emotional intelligence every day in our lives at work without even realizing it. How? For instance, you listen to the complaints of your colleague whose boss has reprimanded them. You listen patiently and then advise how to avoid such situations & then crack a joke or go for a walk to calm him down. You do this without offending your colleague or crossing your boundary. This is a perfect example of your emotional intelligence!

Emotional intelligence competencies @work for success

Emotional intelligence consists of five components, which can be grouped into two areas of competence:

  1. Personal competence: it consists of self-awareness, self-regulation, and motivation
  2. Social competence: it consists of empathy and social skills

How you recognize these components in action at work is given below:

Five components of emotional intelligence and
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Why is emotional intelligence critical in the workplace?

Gone are those days when only hard skills (technical expertise, SME, domain knowledge, etc.) and personality traits used to be the criteria for any interview selection. In reality, an employee now needs to work with multiple personalities in numerous settings across regions and countries. There is tough competition, cultural diversity, and tremendous work pressure. All these changes have paved profound ways for emotional intelligence in the workplace.

It is a new world of remote work and hybrid work culture. 

A Harvard Business Review in 2003 reported that 80% of competencies that differentiate top performers from others are in the domain of Emotional Intelligence.

Topics such as stress management, clear communication, better relationships with colleagues, conflict management, adaptability, and empathy, were not given their due importance earlier. In today’s reality, they have become the critical success factors in every organization.

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The excellent news, emotional intelligence is a skill that can be learned and improved with training and practice!

The Hay Group states that one study of 44 Fortune 500 companies found that salespeople with high EQ produced twice the revenue of those with average or below average scores.

Using emotional intelligence to shine in the workplace

You can learn emotional intelligence. It also improves with your experience. In fact, to a great extent, you can say that your experience is your emotional intelligence (apart from your hard skills).

Here are some ways to use your EQ to get ahead in your career and have a progressive work environment:

#1. To resolve conflict

  • Don’t blame or finger-point others; instead, focus on “what to do” to resolve the conflict.
  • Evaluate everyone’s opinion objectively, without biasing toward your opinion.
  • Show your self-awareness and leadership skills and take responsibility when needed. This way, you can provide solutions instead of lengthy pointless discussions.
  • Have meetings or discussions and be a patient listener to clear misunderstandings.

#2. To deal with setbacks.

  • Set your own goals aimed to match your values.
  • Use your resilience to stay focused on your goals despite the obstacles.
  • Record your/team’s failures and setbacks as learnings and increase your knowledge.

#3. To work with a demanding co-worker/boss.

  • Show your self-confidence to voice your thoughts.
  • Use your social skills to build rapport.
  • Speak your thoughts. Ensure that other people understand what you said and that all are on the same page before concluding any conversation to avoid any misunderstanding.
  • Keep everyone involved in the loop for any meaningful discussions, emails, or notes.

#4. To adapt to a new environment or organization, or team.

  • Know your strengths and weaknesses.
  • Keep open-mind to new ideas and approaches.
  • Have adaptability to change.

#5. To nurture relationships

  • Show empathy to understand others’ emotions and perspectives.
  • Respect and relate well with people from varied backgrounds.

#6. To become a good team player.

  • Show awareness in understanding one’s emotions and their impact on others.
  • Take responsibility for your actions.
  • Instead of bad-mouthing, directly talk to the concerned person when in disagreement.
  • Have an optimistic attitude toward feedback.

#7. To build trustworthiness

  • Show an active interest in others’ preferences and ideas
  • Maintain your integrity and honesty.
  • Make the right decisions without bias.
  • Create opportunities for others to grow, sensing their strengths.
  • Appreciate every member for individual contribution to achieving any collective goal.

#8. To have self-control

  • Practice meditation to remain calm under pressure.
  • Manage stress: a cup of coffee with friends, a short walk, quick chatting.
  • Focus on your goals despite obstacles.
  • Create a positive work culture around you.
  • Control your impulse: to over-commit, show dissatisfaction, or get excited.

#9. To keep a work-life balance.

  • Keep healthy competition in your team. It not only promotes innovation and creativity at work, but also makes it less monotonous.
  • Keep checking if your core values align with that of your organization.
  • Prioritize your time for work, family, friends, and self to maintain a good balance.

#10. To grow professionally

  • Keep yourself motivated by sticking to your goals.
  • Take new challenges willingly.
  • Develop hobbies that align with your future work expectations and help you learn new things.

Conclusion

Emotional intelligence is needed not just for individual growth but also for organizational success. No matter how good the job role is, we need to feel valued and needed in the organization. We really feel good when we interact with people, create relationships and support each other; this is how we use our emotional intelligence in the workplace.

Apart from our core work, our EQ makes us “star” performers and differentiates us from others.

In a survey, CareerBuilder found that 61 percent of employers are more likely to promote workers with high emotional intelligence instead of candidates with a high IQ.

To learn more about emotional intelligence and how it impacts your personal growth, contact me. In addition, you can subscribe to my newsletter to receive tips and techniques to build your EQ.

Surbhi Mahnot

Surbhi Mahnot

Surbhi Mahnot is the owner of this blog. She has work experience of almost 10 years in the IT industry in varied roles. At present, she is working full-time on this blog. She is passionate about the importance of personal growth in individual and work life, which reflects in her writing too. Travelling, reading, and shopping are her core interest besides work.
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