They say interpersonal skills are critical for success at work. But in recent years, another skill has become equally, if not more, important: emotional intelligence.

As businesses change rapidly in this digital age and artificial intelligence becomes an integral part of them, leaders need to develop their emotional quotient more than ever. How you connect with people on an emotional level can help you gain an edge over others and make you a more successful professional.

What is emotional intelligence? 

Emotional intelligence is the ability to understand, manage, and express your emotions. With strong emotional intelligence, you can connect with your feelings, turn ideas into action, and make sound decisions about what matters to you the most.

According to psychologist Daniel Goleman, emotional intelligence has five components: self-awareness, self-regulation, social skills, empathy, and motivation.

Emotional intelligence is necessary for success in all walks of life, but it is especially important at work. Having strong emotional intelligence at the workplace helps you to build the following qualities:

  • Better teamwork:

Emotionally intelligent team members have excellent communication skills. These team members are leaders. They are always open to suggestions and respond positively to others’ ideas and suggestions.

  • Ability to deal with change: 

They say change is the only constant in life. But people often have trouble accepting change. Often at the workplace, team members respond to change with a negative attitude. But by building emotional intelligence, you can deal with any change or hurdle that comes in the way of your business or professional growth.

  • Handle tough conversations:

Whether it’s an unhappy customer or an upset employee, difficult conversations often stir up negative emotions. This affects your team’s performance and business growth. With the right communication skills, you can emotionally connect with other people and handle difficult conversations amicably before finding a  solution.

  • Essential social skills:

We all want to feel quickly accepted and connected to a new group, right? You need good social skills and emotional intelligence to build a bond of trust which helps develop positive emotions. Empathizing with others’ feelings is essential as well as a great way for teamwork.

  • Key features of a strong leader:

Great leaders have one thing in common— they understand people. They understand others’ emotions, know how they work, and inspire them to achieve a common goal. Emotional intelligence helps you imbibe this ability and become a brilliant leader.

Significance of Emotional Intelligence In Professional Life

It’s important to understand and use emotional intelligence in the workplace. Here’s why.

  • Motivation: 

Most of us want a positive and friendly work atmosphere at work. When you contribute to teamwork and take control of your conflicts, it increases your confidence and motivates both you and your team.

  • Common vision: 

Most of us spend 8-10 hours a day at work. Along with positivity, we also face negative emotions such as lack of empathy and anger at work. By demonstrating positive communication, you can lead your team to follow one common vision and thus express solidarity towards each other to achieve a team goal.

  • Change: 

People with high emotional intelligence can manage the stress and anxiety that comes with change and turn them into opportunities.

  • Communication:

When you have a better understanding and control of your emotions, you can express your feelings without hesitation. Having positive control over your emotions can help you solve problems by staying calm and open-minded.

  • Leadership:

Leadership and management form the foundation of a successful career. The journey to becoming a great leader always starts with how you can achieve goals with your thoughts and emotions that influence others in a positive direction.

Why is emotional intelligence so important?

  • To be physically healthy:

We all know that stress can affect our physical health. But have you ever thought about the reason why we stress? It’s because most of us have poor or no control over our emotions. Uncontrolled stress often leads to blood pressure problems, suppresses immunity, and increases the risk of strokes and heart attacks. Thus, managing stress and building emotional intelligence is vital to staying physically strong, and healthy.

  • For good mental health:

Poor mental health can push you into anxiety and depression. It’s absolutely alright to be vulnerable, but this also requires self-awareness of how you can use your vulnerabilities as strengths. Therefore, instead of ignoring or suppressing your emotions, accept and acknowledge your thoughts and emotions, and learn to manage them.

  • To build relationships:

Better processing and understanding of emotions is the foundation of every relationship, personal or professional. If you can understand, accept, and express your own emotions better, it makes you empathetic towards others’ emotions as well. Developing emotional intelligence allows you to communicate effectively and build stronger relationships.

  • To enhance social skills:

We need to develop social skills to be successful in our personal and professional lives, and this is possible for those who manage to use their emotional intelligence effectively. It helps improve your ability to communicate, and in turn, build long-lasting relationships with friends and peers.

How do you build emotional intelligence skills? 

Understanding and developing emotional skills is an arduous task. However, building and practicing these skills in real life will take you closer to success.

Below are some ways through which you can cultivate and improve your emotional intelligence:

  • Self-management:

 To engage your emotional intelligence, you must be able to make constructive decisions by managing your emotions and behavior. Practice stress-management techniques and try to assess your own and others’ emotions correctly so that you can act thoughtfully.

  • Self-awareness:

Being comfortable with your emotions will help you achieve good emotional health and build your appreciable EQ skills. You can accomplish these goals by practicing mindfulness.

  • Social awareness: 

Social awareness is equally important, along with self-awareness, to sail towards your goals. Follow the flow of emotional responses of people around you and understand how this give-and-take process affects your emotional experience.

  • Relationship management:

Calming down and sharpening your mind makes you more considerate. Use humor to relieve stress and lessen your burden to keep things in perspective. Learn to recognize conflict and turn it into an opportunity to strengthen relationships with your team members.

Resolving conflict in constructive ways will certainly strengthen trust and inspire others to contribute to achieving goals effectively.

Skills Required To Develop Emotional Intelligence

  • Self-management:

With positive self-management, you can make choices that help you manage your emotions in a healthy manner, control impulsive behavior, take the initiative, and follow through your commitments.

  • Self-awareness:

Your ability to manage core feelings such as stress, anger, fear, sadness, and joy often depends on the quality of your emotional experiences in early life. Practicing mindfulness calms and focuses you and makes you more self-aware about the things around you.

  • Social awareness:

Recognizing and interpreting nonverbal communication is as important as verbal communication. Social awareness enables you to interpret these nonverbal cues that people around you constantly use to communicate. While many of us are proud of our ability of multitasking, we often miss the subtle emotional shifts in other people that might help us understand them.

  • Relationship management: 

Surprisingly, the emotional part of our brain is active 24X7, and even if you ignore the subtle signs, others won’t. Once emotional awareness is in play, with your social-emotional skills, you can strengthen your relationships and make those bonds more fruitful and enriching.

Increasing emotional intelligence at any point in life will deepen your level of human understanding, functionality, and relationships. A work culture with high emotional intelligence can lead to resolving conflicts successfully and enrich communication between employees as well as management.

Boosting these emotional abilities amongst employees helps build the right organizational values. Once you learn to empathize with others’ feelings, you can respond more appropriately with your colleagues in the office.

Explore our Harappa Diaries section to know more about topics related to the Lead habit such as patience vs self control, anger management, and the meaning of resilience.

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