Emotional intelligence is currently the most in-demand soft skill, especially in technology. Top companies have realized that employees with high emotional intelligence are able to thrive in the workplace because they possess excellent people skills and an ability to analyze and control situations effectively. Daniel Goleman, in his book titled “Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ,” indicated that EI accounted for 67% of the abilities deemed necessary for superior performance in leaders, and mattered twice as much as technical expertise or IQ(Intelligence Quotient).
What is Emotional Intelligence?
Emotional intelligence is the ability to recognize, understand and manage your emotions and that of others. It’s not enough to be aware of your emotions, you also need to realize how your emotions affect people around you. When you understand how people feel and what forms the basis of their decisions and actions you begin to manage relationships and influence people more effectively.
Elements of Emotional Intelligence
Daniel Goleman, an American psychologist, developed a framework of five elements that define emotional intelligence:
Self-Awareness: The ability to know one’s emotions, strengths, weaknesses, drives, values, and goals and recognize their impact on others while using gut feelings to guide decisions.
Self-Regulation: This involves controlling or redirecting one’s disruptive emotions and impulses and adapting to changing circumstances.
Motivation: This is utilizing emotional factors to achieve goals, enjoying the learning process and persevering in the face of obstacles.
Empathy: This involves considering other people’s feelings especially when making decisions.
Social Skills: managing relationships to move people in the desired direction.
How to increase your Emotional Intelligence
Emotional intelligence can come naturally for some people and can also be an uphill task for others. The good news is that it can be learned and developed, just like any other skill. You can learn and improve your emotional intelligence using these strategies:
- Be genuinely interested in people: The foundation of emotional intelligence is empathy and genuine interest in people. Always try to see things from the perspectives of others, and understand what forms the basis of their actions and decisions. Try to observe closely to discover what triggers the emotions of the people around you, especially in the workplace. A proof of genuine interest in people is when you listen to people so attentively that you hear both the said and unsaid things.
- Let others shine too: This is for people working in a team and can’t seem to resist the urge to have the spotlight on them at the expense of others. When you attract all the spotlight and glory at the expense of your teammates, you begin to attract internal enemies, unbeknownst to you. You deserve praise for your good work and, by all means, enjoy your praise, but know when to step back and help propel others forward. That way you build lasting relationships even in the workplace.
- Value Feedback: Always see feedback as what it is: “Feedback,” and not an attack on your person. If you will succeed in the workplace, then you must value feedback. Your colleagues, friends, and subordinates need to feel comfortable giving you honest feedback, even when it’s unpleasant.
- Be Self-Aware: Be honest with your self. A simple SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats) analysis will do you much good in the workplace. Look inward to know situations that trigger your bad emotions and avoid them. If you have grown some muscle in EI, you can try to get into such situations and consciously try to respond differently. The reason for the SWOT analysis is to explore your strengths, work on your weaknesses, consider your opportunities and threats. If you don’t understand yourself and how to control your emotions how can you manage that of others?
- Give genuine compliments: Your genuine interest in your colleagues will make you intuitively garner knowledge on how best to compliment them when it is appropriate to do so. Every human being loves compliments, and when they perceive sincerity in the praises (i.e, not flattery), they’ll appreciate you even more.
- Keep an objective mind: Always expect that people won’t agree with your opinions every time because of diverse academic, financial and religious backgrounds. When you discover people’s perception of things, respect their opinions, even if you disagree with them. You could try, with logic and empathy, to win them over. It is really difficult to argue in the face of superior logic, and truth always wins. If you make a superior argument, they are more likely to be won over. Although, in as much as we want to win people over with love, if someone prefers a belief system that is inefficient and destroys relationships do not make excuses for them. Also, don’t let what you know to stop you from learning and unlearning.
Finally, Always pay attention to details, people’s reactions, mood, preferences, and beliefs. Bear in mind that you cannot be right always and don’t hesitate to apologize when you’re wrong or have offended someone. I hope this helps your relationships a great deal and set you up for success in the workplace.