Our emotional connections in the workplace are now highly prized and extremely crucial for individuals and businesses to thrive. While IQ once reigned as a top predictor of success, it’s no longer the case. Because information is so easily accessible now, knowledge work is not as crucial. EQ, aka “emotional intelligence“ is far more important than IQ in terms of success.
Emotional intelligence is really a number of learned traits among these four aspects: self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, and relationship management. These traits work in conjunction to make you more reflective of your abilities, emotions, attitudes and your effect on others around you. According to Inc. Magazine, Daniel Goleman coined the term to describe “the ability to identify emotions (in both yourself and others), to recognize the powerful effects of those emotions, and to use that information to inform and guide behavior.”
One of my closest friends, who I’ve known now for 32 years is, without a doubt, the most emotionally intelligent person I know. She has a ton of relationships with people who greatly admire and respect her simply because of her high EQ.
She can read faces intently when speaking and she naturally pays close attention to your tone and choice of words. My friend calibrates her conversation with you accordingly. She remembers what you like and don’t like, and then makes the extra effort to ensure she does not impose those dislikes on you. People love spending time with her, she brings others to life. My friend is a true leader in her teams of family, friends and colleagues.
How can you strengthen your emotional intelligence? There are a number of ways! These are just a few:
- Observe Your Emotions: Deepen your connection to others by becoming more self-aware of how your emotions affect you. If you’re highly sensitive to criticism, you can practice stepping back and observing your emotional response instead of immediately reacting to criticism in a negative manner. This gives you time to process the information and to analyze it from a number of angles. More importantly, it allows you to gain some perspective on where the other individual is coming from.
- Practice Empathy: This may seem easy, but when you are in a stressful situation or conflict, having empathy for the other individual(s) may be the last thing you feel. Empathy allows you to understand others motivations, thoughts, and feelings from their perspective. When practiced, it gives you the ability to let go of judgments and to work through the situation, even if all parties are not in agreement.
- Learn to Listen: When you are truly conversationally engaging with a colleague, you listen to what they are saying. You wait to process the information you hear. This gives you time to reflect and attend to their concerns in a deeper way. Include body language in the conversation and try to understand the emotions your colleagues are communicating to you.
- Value Your Values: Be true to your values by aligning your actions with them. Be consistent and authentic in your actions. This will show others that you are trustworthy and reliable.
- Connect: Try to make a true connection with others by showing your teammates that you value them. When networking, Fast Company suggests the following: be genuine, ask questions, compliment the other person, and find something that you both have in common, and show them that you will remember who they are.
Because most of us work alongside fellow human beings, emotions are a constant in our lives. Good interpersonal communication makes our work life easier and more pleasant.
People with a high EQ have the ability to bring out the best in others. Like my friend, these people celebrate success because they know how to bring us closer to each other and make us feel valued. Make emotional intelligence one of your strengths in 2019 so that the next time you’re in a meeting, like my friend, you’ll be the one able to read the room like a pro.
After quitting her job as a systems analyst, Sue Bhatia launched staffing company Rose International 25 years ago from in the basement of her home, with one desk and a phone. After being told over and over again she would fail, within six months Sue’s husband had to leave his job to join her company and within another six months, Sue’s former boss had to leave his job and join her company. In 2017 Rose International hired 10,000 people. 40% of its employees are minorities and the company has spent $200 million with other MBE’s (Minority Business Enterprises) in its lifetime. Sue was the first female minority business owner to join the National Minority Development Council’s (NMDC) Board of Directors.