Emotional intelligence is something that often gets lost but plays an important part in the workplace. No matter what role you end up in during professional life, having strong emotional intelligence will help you navigate all manner of tricky situations. In this article, we’ll answer some common questions and discuss some good ways to develop your emotional intelligence, ready for professional life.
Basically, it’s your ability to recognise the emotions of others, as well as your own. Both portions of this equation are important. In recognising the emotions of others, you can adjust the way you’re acting to better accommodate for them. If you have the emotional intelligence to assess yourself, you’re able to regulate your feelings and adapt to the ever-changing circumstances of conversations and relationships as a whole.
This kind of intelligence is often different from the more commonly known intelligence quotient, or IQ. It’s possible to have both, which is in fact often the case, but plenty of people have one without the other.
Emotional intelligence is comprised of a few elements, including but not limited to:
You’ll have to interact with people in whatever job you’re doing, even if it’s not typically a client-facing role. Knowing how to read colleagues and bosses, as well as understanding how their behaviour or decisions impact your emotional state, can boost the productivity of yourself and others. More importantly, it’ll help you keep everyone around you happy.
If you have any interest in being a leader, emotional intelligence is key. It takes more than just great subject knowledge or skill to lead others. To lead people, you must truly understand them. For that, you need emotional intelligence.
Even if you don’t aspire to be a leader, you should aspire to be a collaborator. Once again emotional intelligence is crucial. If you can read how people you’re working with are feeling and detect when they’re struggling or enjoying a task, that can help you delegate more effectively and ultimately boost the productivity of your task force.
There are a couple of good ways to develop emotional intelligence, but if you’re starting from the bottom you’ll really need to apply yourself.
We encourage you to find your own ways of developing emotional intelligence too. Whether it’s seeing your parents more often, volunteering at a homeless shelter, coaching a sport’s team or any other leadership or compassionate activity, all can have a profound effect. Not only will it help you develop, but you’ll become an invaluable member of your community too.
It can take years to develop emotional intelligence from absolute zero, but you likely have some degree of emotional intelligence already. Generally, those who tend to reflect more deeply are the ones who develop emotional intelligence the quickest. If you don’t look inward enough, you’ll have a hard time looking outward.
There’s always more to learn. Every person you meet will be different in their own unique way, so constant observation and reflection are required to stay on top of changing social circumstances. Every new colleague will have their own way of speaking, thinking and acting, which you’ll have to accommodate for.
There are many nuances to this topic, but the crux of the issue is respect. If you put respect for other people first and ask yourself, ‘am I being respectful?’, you’ll have a far better time developing emotional intelligence. More importantly, you’ll make everyone around you feel safe, secure and comfortable with you around. That’s its own reward!
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