Emotional intelligence is a term that has gained a lot of hype lately, but many people are unclear on what this actually means. Are you empathetic towards your colleagues in order to form strong working relationships? More importantly, are you aware of your own emotions and do you know how to work with them? Emotional intelligence is an essential skill that allows you to do both these things.
Modern organisations know how important it is for their leaders, executives, and employees to be emotionally intelligent, to create a more productive and efficient workforce to deliver better results. In a previous article, we looked at why interpersonal skills and emotional intelligence are important for advancing your career. Now, let’s take a deeper dive into what emotional intelligence is and how to cultivate it.
What is emotional intelligence?
Emotional intelligence is the practice of emotional awareness towards yourself and those around you. Emotional intelligence can help you lead an emotionally balanced life, as well as making you more successful in the workplace, particularly as a manager or leader.
Emotional intelligence encompasses four key elements:
- Self-awareness: The most fundamental component of emotional intelligence is being able to identify and understand your emotions. It also helps you gain confidence in your actions. Moreover, you can only appreciate and understand others when you are self-aware.
- Self-management: Emotional intelligence is also about being able to manage your emotions when they come up, choosing a behaviour that will promote growth and problem solving. This doesn’t mean suppressing your feelings, but rather trying to find solutions and promote balance.
- Social awareness: This is a concept of understanding and being thoughtful of those around you. Being socially aware means you can identify and understand other people’s emotions and behaviour.
- Relationship management: This is an important interpersonal skill that reflects your ability to guide and accompany others when faced with rising emotions, inspiring and connecting with others. Connecting with those around you lets you communicate clearly, avoid conflicts, and promote mutual growth.
How to nurture emotional intelligence
So, how do you promote and nurture emotional intelligence? Be it your personal feelings or emotions at work towards others, you can boost this aptitude through consciousness. Plus, if you can encourage emotional intelligence at the workplace, it will help advance your organisation’s development and productivity.
Here are 5 simple steps to foster emotional intelligence.
1. Practice identifying your emotions
The first step to emotional intelligence is being able to identify your emotions. This is something that not everyone is accustomed to doing, so it will take practice.
You can achieve this by paying extra attention to your thoughts, judgments, and feelings. Ways to practice this include maintaining a journal, taking a step back and noting down your thoughts, and noticing patterns of reactions to different situations.
2. Experiment with different techniques for emotional management
You may find that emotions at work can cloud your thinking. Here are a few emotion management techniques that you can practice when this happens:
- Pause and reflect on your thoughts before acting or speaking.
- Use breathing exercises.
- Practice meditation.
3. Respond to your emotional needs
Another important part of cultivating emotional intelligence is recognising and responding to your own emotional needs. It is only by being open to yourself and your feelings that you can be emotionally responsive to others.
When you feel your emotions rising, it’s important to take a break and ask for space. Being attentive towards your needs for mental stability and growth can also take some practice, so make a dedicated effort to do this.
4. Learn and practice active listening
Emotional intelligence also means learning to be an active listener. Pay attention to others, and dig deep into how people really feel. This will help you to be socially aware and respond accordingly. Simply lending your ear to your colleagues without interfering or offering solutions can help foster a healthy work relationship.
5. Practice empathy and compassion
Sometimes you need to put your point of view to one side and consider things from the other person’s perspective. Place yourself in others’ shoes to understand what they are going through. Apart from this, it is important to give weight to others’ suggestions, recognise their problems, and practice compassion.
Manage emotions at work for better results
Emotional intelligence at the workplace results in better job satisfaction, both for managers and employees. This practice helps you to be emotionally stable, passionate about your job, manage emotions at work, and practice empathy towards your colleagues. Furthermore, emotional intelligence will boost your performance and help the organisation overall to be more successful.
EDHEC Online can help you to cultivate emotional intelligence through a strong focus on coaching that allows you to work on emotional intelligence with a professional. Our courses also offer small, diverse cohorts which allow for a great environment to practice your new interpersonal skills.
Learn more about EDHEC Online programmes here.