4 Tips to Improve Your Emotional Intelligence in the Workplace

April 26th, 2012 by

Bruce Clarke, CAI’s CEO, started his latest edition of his N&O Column, the View from HR, with a quote:

“People are emotional first and rational second: Logic makes people think; emotions make people act.”*

Bruce says that having strong Emotional Intelligence is key to personal and professional success. Emotional intelligence (EI) describes a person’s capacity for controlling his or her own emotions and recognizing and understanding the emotions of others. EI also reveals how people react to others’ emotions and how they manage their various relationships.

In today’s business world, having a great EI is a strong competitive advantage against colleagues and peers who don’t. Employees with high EIs are beneficial to their organizations for many reasons. They build great relationships with their coworkers and clients, they’re graceful and collected in high-stress situations, and they’re able to understand and react appropriately to the actions of others.

Bruce says that business leaders with strong EIs are more successful in hiring, managing growth problems, leading people and teaching others. Refining your own emotional intelligence will help you become a better employee and leader at your organization. Try the following 4 tips to improve your EI:

1.       Analyze Yourself

Be mindful of your own emotions and how you respond to different emotional situations. Be honest with yourself to determine your strengths and weaknesses, and how they might affect others. Work to take responsibility for all of your actions. Be open-minded, and stay positive in different business scenarios.

2.       Really Listen

While others are talking, instead of listening, many people are thinking up their response. People with high EIs are able to focus on what the speaker is actually saying. Try to direct your attention on understanding what the person is communicating. Summarize what you think you heard to the speaker, and ask him or her questions to clarify if needed.

3.       Be Aware of Body Language

Understanding body language and nonverbal communication will help you identify how someone is truly feeling. Practice recognizing whether someone’s body language matches up to what he or she is actually saying, and react accordingly. Watch for facial expressions, tone of voice, and body and eye movements.

4.       Identify What Causes You Stress

Whether it’s an overload of work or sick children at home, there are a number of factors that can cause us stress. Identify the things that cause you the most stress, and recognize that you hold the power to bring yourself back to a calm state of mind. Practice constructive coping mechanisms, like exercise and meditation, to bring you back down when your stress levels are running high. Avoid taking your stress out on others.

Cultivating your Emotional Intelligence takes patience and time. For more strategies, you may consider participating in CAI’s class called Leveraging Your Emotional Intelligence.

*Quote from Reuven Bar-On, Ph.D. and the Emotional Quotient Inventory.

Photo Source: Victor1558

5 Responses to “4 Tips to Improve Your Emotional Intelligence in the Workplace”

  1. This article is spot on. It effectively summarizes a number of key points that I share with my clients. I also link EI and navigating office politics.

  2. Persis says:

    Hi Yvette,

    Thanks for the comment! Understanding and improving your EI is imperative for continual business success.

  3. Karen Cole says:

    Thanks for this Bruce. What instrument do you think is most effective for helping people measure their current level of EI. We used Facet Five at GKN, which is similar to MBTI, but has an EI element. Are there other more comprehensive instruments out there to your knowledge?

  4. Persis says:

    Hi Karen,

    Thanks for your comment. There are several assessments around to measure a person’s EI. At CAI, we use the BarOn-EQI. Here’s a link with more info: http://bit.ly/IH3O0K. Hope this helps!

  5. [...] tough business predicaments. Not every employee comes equipped with a high EI, but taking steps to improve their EI is something all employees can [...]

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