Emotional Intelligence (EQ) is the ability to recognize, understand and manage our own emotions. It also includes the ability to understand and influence the emotions of other people. Without a doubt, this is a skill every professional should hone, especially in the workplace.
Personally, if I had to pick the top three competencies that have been the most instrumental to my career success, emotional intelligence would be one of them. It is a core competency for career success.
Emotions play a tangible role in the workplace (and the business world):
- A leader skilled in EQ can guide and encourage their team members to become motivated and engaged at work, feel satisfaction in a job well done, or be loyal to the organisation.
- A worker with a high EQ can get better business opportunities with clients and customers.
- A person with a high EQ can acquire and sustain the attention and favour of superiors in the organisation.
- Individuals with high EQ tend to be less stressed and communicate better than their low EQ peers because they empathize with others and manage their reactions to their own and others’ emotions.
EQ can be learned and adjusted to suit new situations. It can also be unlearned if it is not continuously practised. That’s why I want to share a few EQ habits that you can start practicing today. As with habits formulation, they don’t come easily, so my counsel is for you to pick one to hone per time. And give yourself time for it to get rooted.
1. Fuel your motivation. Identify what you love about your job, your tasks, your colleagues and your workplace. Key into the bigger reason why you find your job fulfilling. Even if there are parts of your job you don’t like, magnify and constantly think about what you do like. You will have to be intentional about this.
People are more drawn to positive, energized, and inspiring people. As you improve your motivation, you’ll get more positive attention and exert more positive influence on everyone around you.
2. Develop your listening skills. Don’t knock it; effective listening sounds simple but it is not a common art. Learn to listen carefully, ask good questions, and be clear and accurate in providing feedback. When you listen well, you can pick up so many things that you may have missed otherwise. Additionally, when people feel heard, they tend to be more willing to cooperate and compromise – this goes for leaders, colleagues and clients/customers.
3. Develop your emotional vocabulary. As healthy human beings, we carry our emotions to work; we don’t leave them behind at home. So, when you feel a powerful or overwhelming emotion, learn to label what you’re feeling correctly. For instance, instead of deciding that you’re feeling ‘bad’, you can be more specific and decide if you’re really feeling ‘embarrassed’ or ‘disappointed’. These are extensions of ‘feeling bad’, but they certainly mean different things.
Understanding what you feel is self-awareness and this leads to effective self-regulation and control. When you label it right, you can make a more informed decision about what to do with it.
4. Know your emotional triggers. This is important because if you have an idea of a situation or person that triggers a positive or negative reaction from you, then you can prepare in advance. For instance, knowing you will have a meeting with a typically irate boss or client means that you can prepare a stoic reaction for when they start acting out.
Think about ways you can manage your emotions on the job so you don’t react impulsively or inappropriately. You don’t have to be taken by surprised and ruin your whole day.
5. Seek excellence not perfection. Try not to seek perfection in yourself and others. Seek excellence instead. Accept that uncertainty, frustrations, and disappointments are simply part of any work environment. Rather than complaining or acting out, brainstorm alternatives or solutions that might be beneficial to everyone involved.
6. Take time off work. Find ways to release and manage stress outside of work through exercise, meditation, spending time with friends and family, and other hobbies or interests.
Remember to take time off regularly and completely. Technology enables constant communication and engenders the expectation that you should be available 24 hours a day – unfortunately this leads to stress and anxiety, among other woes. Be deliberate about unplugging periodically.
So, which habit will you focus on building for the next few weeks?