How To Improve your Emotional Intelligence

Despite the heavy emphasis placed on the importance of one’s IQ, intelligence in academia and the workplace, there is a lesser known type of intelligence which is just as, and arguably more so, important for success in the workplace.

Whilst IQ is a score derived from one of several standardised tests designed to assess intelligence, EQ or emotional intelligence is the ability to identify, assess, and control the emotions of oneself, of others, and of groups. Emotional intelligence is said to consist of five main categories - each of which help to enhance performance in the workplace as an individual and within a team.

Firstly, Self-Awareness refers to the ability to tune into one’s own emotional state and their effects. Self-regulation involves self-control, adaptability, being open to new ideas and conscientiousness. Motivation is another category of EQ, which refers to one’s drive, initiative, commitment and optimism. Empathy and Social Skills are the final two categories of EQ. Each category is relevant to success in the workplace in different ways. Without Self-Awareness, one cannot have Self-Regulation which helps an individual with maintaining standards of honesty and integrity, to handle change with flexibility, being open to new ideas and taking responsibility for one’s own performance. Motivation, for obvious reasons, is also important for success in the workplace with commitment, initiative and optimism being the driving factors towards success. Empathy is important for understanding others as a member of a team, customers and even developing others as a leader. Finally, good social skills are vital for communication, leadership, conflict management and collaboration with colleagues. Unlike IQ, which does not change significantly over a lifetime, our EQ can be increased when the necessary steps are taken. Listed below are a few ways that you can work on to develop yourself in ways consistent with those five categories of EQ.

1. Self- Awareness

Practice observing how you feel. In the hustle and bustle of work life often we forget to take a moment to observe our own emotional reactions to events around us. Set times at various points in the day to take a moment to notice how you are feeling emotionally. By doing this you can learn to trust your emotions and become far more adept at managing them.

2. Self-regulation

Just as you are beginning to pay attention to your emotional reactions, try to notice your behavioural reactions too. Take time to understand which emotions tend to lead to certain behaviours. By doing this you will gain more understanding of your emotional and behavioural patterns, making it easier to change a pattern you might dislike. Try to also practise taking responsibility for your own feelings and behaviour.

3. Motivation

Seek to tap into your bigger purpose by focusing on the bigger goal. This will give you deeper meaning to the project you are donating so much of your time into.

4. Empathy

Begin by practising with yourself by asking yourself about your behaviours and emotions during your self-awareness and self-regulation training. This will in turn begin to enhance your understanding of others’ emotions and behaviours.

5. Social Skills

Practice observing how others’ react to what you say, gaining an understanding into colleagues, employers and employees on an individual level what makes them tick. Nurture instrumental relationships and work with others towards shared goals.

Research suggests that Emotional intelligence facilitates stress resilience. To find out more about EQ and our Resilience training, click here.

Lara is a student intern at Altruist Enterprises and is currently studying Psychology at the University of Birmingham. She is exploring aspects of educational psychology and psychology in the workplace with particular interest in how mental wellbeing can enhance job performance and work ethic.

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