Emotional intelligence is one of the most underrated leadership skills in the workplace. With a little practice, you can hone your EI skills to build effective and successful teams, develop talent, and reduce stress in the workplace.
Emotionally intelligent people bring peace to conversations — they are the problem solvers and the managers that empower you. These are the coworkers that embrace change and can manage stress and pressure without creating a volatile environment for everybody around them.
On the other hand, we have all encountered coworkers with low emotional intelligence in the workplace. I am talking about the colleague whose name makes you wince, or to whom you hesitate when you need to ask a question. They might be great at their job, but interacting with them is an absolute pain. This colleague often responds aggressively or defensively to any problem — often wanting to blame others rather than find solutions.
Emotional Intelligence comes naturally to some, but for most of us, it requires cultivation and practice. And that starts with self-reflection and awareness. Now, we all have our grumpy days — but there are ways to pause in the moment and reflect so we can show up as our best selves.
Here are some easy questions to ask yourself to help make emotional intelligence a habit in the workplace.
When tensions run high …
Does this need to be said?
Does this need to be said by me?
Does this need to be said by me, right now?
As a manager or leader …
Who on my team needs encouragement?
Is this feedback constructive?
How do I celebrate the successes of others around me?
And when no one is looking …
How do I recover from failure?
How am I speaking to myself? Is the voice I am using kind?
Who do I look up to and have I told them?
It may be hard to remember these questions in the moment, so try reminding yourself with a note on your desk or a window on your desktop. Challenge yourself to address these questions for a month and note how your interactions improve. Others on your team might just follow your lead and improve their emotional intelligence, as well!
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