Here's why you need to be emotionally intelligent at work

This important life skill is a key to success in the modern workplace.

29 February, 2024
Here's why you need to be emotionally intelligent at work

The office is where we spend the majority of our day, and it can certainly be a volatile environment—one filled with stress, pressure, anxiety, and even drama. That said, not all days are bad; your workplace might've definitely given you immense happiness, excitement, and a lot to look forward to.

While you’ve been hired for your intellect, it’s not just your intelligence quotient (IQ) that matters; it's also your emotional quotient (EQ)—or emotional intelligence, as it is often called—that plays an equal (if not more important) role towards ensuring you've had a good day.

Being emotionally intelligent at work makes you a better leader, helps you make better decisions, and helps you regulate your emotions around the people you work with. By doing so, you not only grow in your career but also foster better working relationships and promote a positive work environment.

Components of emotional intelligence at the workplace

It’s great to be an emotionally intelligent person, but there’s always scope for improvement. This will improve your ability to understand and reason better. And having this as part of your personality is an asset in the workplace—where relationships and decisions depend on interpersonal understanding, teamwork, and communication. Here are a few areas where you can improve to become more emotionally intelligent. 

Being more self-aware

This is where you need to pay attention to your feelings. In doing so, you're able to understand how they influence your work day, helping you understand how your colleagues, managers, and clients perceive you. You could try speaking to your colleagues and actively listening to what they have to say, whilst recognising your weaknesses, which will help you recognise the areas you need to work on to improve your emotional strength. It's crucial to understand that most of your feelings at work are fleeting, so don’t go about making any rash decisions in the heat of the moment.

Regulating these feelings

Identifying and being aware of your emotions is the first step, and managing them is the second. For you to be in control of the situation, you need to be in control of your emotions, especially at the workplace, as they affect other people involved. Understand the fact that a lot of things at work will be beyond your control. So it’s best to operate with a calm mind. One of the best ways to control your emotions is by taking a step back and thinking before deciding so that the choice you make is a rational one, having considered all options and possibilities.

Being more empathetic

One has to show a high degree of empathy when they demonstrate emotional intelligence at work. This means they are able to see and understand what others are going through. When you take the time out to see a situation from their point of view, read their verbal and non-verbal cues, recognise their input and express gratitude, and praise their work, you’re in a much better position to understand the different dynamics at work and find a middle ground whenever there is conflict. 

Always being motivated

People who have strong EQ in the office tend to be motivated to achieve their goals. A person displaying emotional intelligence at work won’t give up when things get tough but will instead inspire others to persevere and succeed. Instead of materialistic gains, they focus on the feeling of accomplishment after the completion of a task or helping the company progress towards its goals (which they played an instrumental role in). 

Why is it important?

Being an emotionally intelligent person at work gives you the chance to fix a situation before it worsens. For example, if you see and know that a person is sad (because you paid attention to their cues), you will take them aside, listen to them, and offer empathy to improve their well-being. This improves your decision-making skills as well as lets you complete tasks efficiently. Such qualities as showing patience, being an active listener, and being positive and empathetic can also help you get a promotion or raise. The thing about positive emotions is that others can latch on to them, and showing just how motivated and responsible you are (because you’re emotionally intelligent) will inspire others to follow in your path. 

Benefits of emotional intelligence in the workplace

When at work, you’re spending a lot of time speaking to your colleagues, superiors, stakeholders, clients, etc. With there being ample room for interactions where you've got to show emotions, your being an emotionally intelligent person can be the difference between those conversations being positive or not. Such conversations, where you understand others, will lead to strong and meaningful connections that are great for networking. As mentioned earlier, being productive and the best version of yourself will put you in a position where you motivate those around you (a great opportunity to put yourself in the hat for a leadership position). 

You deal with and respond to criticism and conflict better

There will be days when you will be criticised at work. Rather than reacting negatively, an emotionally intelligent person will take time to reflect on the situation, use the criticism constructively, and turn it into a learning experience. Such people handle conflict and negative emotions much better. A person who isn’t emotionally intelligent would mostly lash out in a situation that doesn’t go their way and damage working relationships. On the other hand, an emotionally intelligent person will identify and assess their feelings before acting on them. They will then tackle the problem with a clear head and figure out the best way to resolve the matter. This is more likely to produce a positive result and maintain a harmonious relationship with management.

Also Read: How to practice slow living in a fast-paced world

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