Developing Emotional Intelligence

Most organizations place a lot of value on employees’ intellect and abilities. While this is important for landing and excelling at a particular role, moving up the career ladder requires another skill that is often overlooked — emotional intelligence. According to the World Economic Forum, emotional intelligence will be one of the most in demand skills for 2020. This means there is no better time than now to implement emotional intelligence training for your current and up-and-coming leaders.


Increase emotional intelligence in the workplace.

What is emotional intelligence?

Emotional intelligence (EQ) refers to a person’s ability to recognize, understand, and manage their own emotions and those of the people around them. Individuals with a high EQ are aware of what they are feeling and how their emotions affect others, and use this knowledge to direct their behaviour and interactions in the workplace.

How does emotional intelligence impact professional success?

For nearly two decades, emotional intelligence has been an important predictor of job success. According to Dr. Travis Bradberry, author of the best-selling book, Emotional Intelligence 2.0, top performers have a high EQ, and make $29,000 more annually than their low EQ counterparts. While technical skills and IQ are important for leaders, those lacking in emotional intelligence will not be as effective. This is because leaders with high EQs have the interpersonal skills required to excel in the workplace. They communicate clearly and honestly; resolve workplace conflict effectively; and are empathetic and influential.

How does having emotional intelligence improve engagement and culture?

Regardless of the industry, everyone experiences stressful situations in the workplace - the way these situations are handled comes down to your organization’s emotional culture. An employee who gets yelled at by an overworked boss isn’t going to be as productive or engaged as the employee who feels heard and valued. Having emotionally intelligent leaders who lead by example and can communicate effectively with and around different personality types is key for driving employee engagement. Employees who feel understood will perform better, creating a positive work environment with more collaboration, less absenteeism, and increased engagement.

How do you develop emotional intelligence?

In many roles, EQ is responsible for a large part of overall job performance. While some people inherit this skill naturally, the good news is that emotional intelligence can be improved with training and practice. There are five elements of emotional intelligence: self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy, and social skills. While we recommend taking a professional EQ test to accurately identify your team’s strengths and weaknesses, the following plan can benefit anyone looking to improve their emotional awareness. Below you will find links to assist you with various actions:

How to Better Understand Your Emotions

7 Steps to Discovering Your Personal Values

Taking Responsibility for Your Emotional Reactions

15 Ways to Calm Yourself Down

5 Ways to Get Your Unwanted Emotions Under Control

5 Actionable Tips to Develop Empathy and Become a More Empathetic Person

The 8 Steps to Active Listening


Increase Your Emotional Intelligence

  1. Keep a journal - Write in a journal for at least 5 minutes every day. Documenting your daily experiences and how you feel will help you process your emotions and increase your self-awareness

  2. Analyze your emotions - Think about the emotions you feel on a regular basis. Be honest with yourself about what triggers different emotions, and what they are trying to tell you. Refer to the article “How to Better Understand Your Emotions” to learn how.

  3. Know your values - Knowing your values will curb you from making rushed or emotional decisions.Think about what values are most important to you and create your own personal moral code. A great resource for getting started is with business coach Scott Jeffery’s “7 Steps to Discover Your Personal Core Values”.

  4. Hold yourself accountable - People in control of their emotions rarely verbally attack or blame others. Refer to the article “Taking Responsibility for Your Emotional Reactions” to learn how to determine what triggers you and how to address your reactions mindfully.

  5. Practice staying calm and positive - Think about what triggers you and find a solution to help yourself calm down. It could be as simple as taking a deep breath, changing your focus by leaving the room, or using your journal to write down your negative thoughts. Check out the article “15 Ways to Calm Yourself Down” for more tips and tricks.

  6. Re-examine why you’re doing your job - Everyone gets in a slump sometimes, but as a leader, you need to motivate yourself before inspiring others. Help yourself stay motivated by taking some time every few months to reflect and write down a few reasons why you enjoy your job and what made you choose your career in the first place.

  7. See the good in every situation - When faced with a challenge, try to find at least one good thing about the situation. Happiness is contagious, and being a positive leader will boost positivity for your team. Psychology Today’s article “5 Ways to Get Your Unwanted Emotions Under Control” can help you evade negative emotions.

  8. Put yourself in someone else’s shoes - Empathy is an essential leadership skill. When interacting with others, try to see things from their perspective and respond to their feelings, especially in situations where employees feel stressed or upset. To learn how to be more empathic, refer to Mindmaven’s article “5 Actionable Tips to Develop Empathy and Become a More Empathetic Person”.

  9. Be mindful of your body language - Non-verbal communication can be just as impactful, if not more, than words. Avoid negative gestures such as eye rolling, brow knitting, folded arms, and avoiding eye contact.

  10. Sharpen your communication skills - One of the best ways to become a better communicator is by being a good listener. Practice active listening by focusing fully on the speaker and letting them talk without interruption. This will help build better relationships, solve problems, and avoid conflict. Learn how to do this in the article “The 8 Steps to Active Listening”.

  11. Learn to praise others - A simple, yet highly effective way to inspire your employees and gain their loyalty is praising them for a job well done. This will make them feel appreciated, resulting in a happier, more productive team.

Reference Material

What Is Emotional Intelligence, and Why Does It Matter?

5 Aspects of Emotional Intelligence Required for Effective Leadership

Learning How to Be More Aware

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