Practicing emotional intelligence (EI) in the workplace enhances communication and collaboration. This in turn strengthens our ability to meet deadlines and expectations. Exercising EI also helps to motivate others and assists in conflict recognition and resolution.
By definition, emotional intelligence is how well we manage and understand our emotions and the emotions of others. According to David Goleman, psychologist and science journalist, this emotional regulation and insight falls into four areas: self-awareness, self-management, empathy, and putting it all together through social skills. These four areas encompass what Dr. Howard Gardner, psychologist, refers to as interpersonal and interpersonal intelligence.
That leads us to ask, how can I improve and practice emotional intelligence? Try these 3 straightforward ideas!
1. Be approachable
Make yourself accessible to teammates and staff. Consider adopting an open door policy and physically leave your door open. If you don’t have a door, be flexible with putting your work down when a coworker approaches you with a work-related issue. Invite them to share their thoughts while you practice active listening.
Remember, though, that high EI also involves setting boundaries with people. It’s okay to ask that the interruption wait if it doesn’t need to be addressed immediately, or to request that the conversation be postponed until lunch if it isn’t work-related.
2. Practice emotional awareness
We feel a myriad of emotions throughout the day. Awareness of how you feel physically when experiencing emotions allows you to increase emotional control and insight. To practice, try setting a timer for various times throughout the day. When the timer goes off, take two to three minutes to observe how you’re feeling emotionally. Where and how are those emotions appearing as a physical feeling or sensation?
3. Identify your level of emotional intelligence
Test your EI with this collection of fun, simple quizzes:
Learn more about emotional and interpersonal/intrapersonal intelligence from industry professionals by checking out the book Emotional Intelligence 2.0 by Travis Bradberry or titles by psychologist and science journalist Daniel Goleman.
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You can also take advantage of Lynda.com’s online, self-paced trainings on leadership and management, which are always free through the library’s homepage.
Brushing up on our EI is timely with the winter holidays and new year. Many of us may spend extra time with family and friends or have looming deadlines with the end of year approaching. We can better handle stressful or overwhelming situations by practicing emotional intelligence.