Baruch Spinoza’s words, “When a man is a prey to his emotions, he is not his own master,” remain true to this date in terms of both personal and professional life. A man with low or no emotional intelligence is as disoriented as a pedestrian in dense fog, to put it in context.
It has been proven repeatedly that emotional intelligence is just as imperative as intellectual ability (IQ) for happiness and success. People who are more empathetic, self-aware, and have better social skills, always have a better chance of becoming great leaders and co-workers.
At least once in your life, you must have met a person who is confident, full of self-respect but also carries respect for the emotions of others around them. These individuals deal with criticism empathetically, hardly give excuses, and keep their minds open to ideas and judgments. They are good listeners, don’t shy away from speaking the truth, and don’t mind apologizing when they are wrong.
However, not everyone is born with high emotional intelligence. But the good news is that skills to regulate your emotions better can always be learned.
So, the real question is, how does one learn to develop emotional intelligence at the workplace?
In theory, it is quite simple, but it is not a piece of cake in real life, and it is certainly not a child’s play. So, how do you develop emotional intelligence at your workplace?
Here we have compiled the 5 most basic ways to become more emotionally intelligent at the workplace.
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5 Steps to becoming more Emotionally Intelligent at the workplace
Self-awareness is one of the biggest stepping stones towards establishing good emotional intelligence at your workplace. Begin with understanding what emotions affect you the most, what factors trigger those emotions, and how your reaction affects those around you. The first step towards change is to know what exactly needs to be changed.
In simple language, self-awareness is the art of acknowledging your strengths and shortcomings and learning how not to let the latter overpower the former. There are patterns and symptoms (mental as well as physical) that can help you identify when an emotion hurts you-
- Physical sensation in stomach, throat, or chest.
- Swift encountering of emotions, one after another, like a butterfly effect
- Change of facial experience due to emotions like sadness, fear, anger, etc.
- Loss of focus due to a negative emotion
- An emotional encounter shaping a sudden reaction or decision which wouldn’t have been there otherwise
- Emotions that draw attention, your and others around you.
If you face any of the above-mentioned symptoms after encountering a situation that installs negative emotions, you need to regulate them, which is also our next step-
There is a minimal yet huge difference when you come to think of both self-awareness and self-regulation. While self-awareness helps a person recognize the source of his feelings and emotions, self-regulation, on the other hand, helps a person control those emotions at a workplace so that they don’t get the best or worst of them. A good example would be holding yourself accountable when you make a mistake and not shying away from doing that in front of the people you work with, irrespective of their roles and hierarchies.
The thing about negative emotions is that they push a person out of their comfort zone. The key lies in not letting yourself be overwhelmed while you are pushed out of your comfort zone. Instead, be emotionally present and try not to let negative emotions take over your self-control. Your emotions are dynamic, ever-changing. Learn to adapt to every way your mind feels.
Motivation at the workplace works like magic as it has the power to facilitate a person’s growth. Emotionally intelligent people often find themselves motivated in even intense situations, which naturally motivate those around them.
So, where does this motivation come from? The answer is a positive outlook, experimenting, and taking risks. If you are someone who is constantly cribbing about work and your colleagues, there is no room for motivation around you. So instead of thinking about the wrong things around you, focus on the edges you have at the workplace. Be an agent of positivity.
At the same time, don’t forget to experiment and take risks. Nobody stays motivated about a 9 to 5 job with monthly salary expectations. The key to staying motivated is setting small goals for yourself that lead to a big one at the end. These goals can be something like aspiring to become a team leader, to eventually become a manager or department head in the long run. Now, what takes it to achieve these goals? The answer is taking up challenges and stepping out of your comfort zone. Stop doing things that you are already good at and ask your superior for bigger and more important things to do.
Keep a positive outlook, take risks, and experiment. That is the only way to stay motivated at the workplace (unless you have a work crush sitting right next to your desk. *wink*)
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When you understand that your perspective alone isn’t the only one that’s important, that is when you can be sure that you’re walking on the right path. A person who is accepting and understanding of other people’s beliefs and values, someone who is as excited to listen as he is to speak his turn, will always find it easy to communicate and engage with others around him because it helps keep your co-workers motivated, attentive, and feel noticed.
Empathy is a non-negotiable trait, one that you can’t do without for a very long time in a professional environment.
5. Relationship Management
So far, we’ve talked about self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, and empathy- 4 out of the 5 things that are crucial for every person’s professional success. But what is that one thing that tops all of it? It is the capability to be sociable. It is impossible to learn what emotional intelligence truly means unless you know how to talk in a group of 20 people because that helps you see the world from the eyes of 20 other people and not just yours alone. It adds up to your experience and knowledge. It doubles up your hunger for success, and it certainly gives you a playground to play your cards the way you’d want to.
So what are the right ways to develop your relationships at the workplace? Consider these-
1. Be approachable. It’s important that while working with people, you make them feel comfortable to address a problem that only you can solve.
2. Be humorous. It’s always good to be around someone who relieves stress and allows a moment or two of laughter on a mundane day.
3. Criticise less and appreciate more. For example, instead of saying, “Hey! Your report was so bad, I couldn’t present it to the manager,” say, “Hey, that was an outstanding effort you put in there. Just a few suggestions that might help you do it better next time”.
4. Learn to understand nonverbal cues of communication. For example, if somebody is typing rapidly and giving you a short answer to your irrelevant question, understand that they are busy working on something important and not rude. Likewise, notice the patterns in your coworkers and catch their nonverbal cues to build a better relationship with them.