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How to Boost your Emotional Intelligence in the Workplace

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How to Boost your Emotional Intelligence in the Workplace


In 1995, renowned science journalist and psychologist Daniel Goleman published a book called “Emotional Intelligence.” The book was described as “a revolutionary, paradigm-shattering idea,” by The Harvard Business Review. Goleman’s book had a place on The New York Times bestseller list for over a year and over 5,000,000 copies went to print worldwide.

Many people don’t understand what emotional intelligence is and why it is so vital. So, what exactly is it? To sum it up, Emotional Intelligence (EQ), is the ability to perceive, evaluate, and control emotions. Much like IQ, EQ is a measurable component that makes up who we are as individuals.

EQ has been studied for decades, however, Goleman’s book was so powerful and ground-breaking because it spoke of EQ in the workplace. This concept was based on his research conducted at almost 200 large, well-known global organisations.

Through his studies, Goleman found that the qualities often associated with leadership, i.e.: decisiveness, intelligence, vision, and determination –  are simply not enough. He discovered that the most effective leaders have a strong degree of emotional intelligence. He revealed direct links between a leader’s emotional intelligence and measurable business results.

Emotional intelligence is not a just a requirement for senior executives. It is necessary in gaining success at any level of a career.

But, can everyone have a high level of emotional intelligence? It is possible to improve your EQ – your EQ is not unchangeable. You just must put in the effort to see improvement and results

If you are looking to grow in your career, here are 5 ways to improve your EQ in the workplace:

Improving Self-Awareness

Self-awareness can be defined as the ability to interpret and understand your own emotions, moods, and inner drive – and how these impact others. Those with a strong sense of self-awareness have a realistic assessment of themselves, their behaviours, and their thoughts. This allows them to have a self-deprecating humour without losing their sense of self-worth. Essentially, they can laugh at themselves without having a sense of self-loathing.

How to improve self-awareness:

  • Take note of how you feel throughout the day. Try to identify the source of your emotions – why are you feeling this way and where did it come from? Recognise your emotions are fleeting and should not form the foundation of your decision-making and communication.
  • Consider how your negative emotions such as anger, frustration, and jealousy, have effected those around you in the office. Understand how you have impacted people in the workplace due to these emotions. Acknowledge your behaviour and the consequences of this negative behaviour.
  • Think of ways to manage your emotions in the workplace so that you don’t have inappropriate, knee-jerk reactions to certain situations and people.
  • Take an honest, in-depth look into your own weaknesses and strengths. See your past actions, performance reviews and ask for feedback from your boss and others in the office. Take action! Work on improving your weaknesses consistently.

Improving Self-Regulation

The ability to redirect and control impulsive negative emotions and actions is referred to as self-regulation. This speaks of the ability to rise above frustrations, petty arguments and jealousy. By having a strong self-regulation, you can grow and flourish into a leadership position.

People with self-regulation present sense of integrity and trustworthiness. These are the people who are willing to accept change, discomfort and uncertainty because they think before they act – never making an impulsive decision.

How to improve your self-regulation:

  • Practice self-regulation. Wait a few hours, even a few days, before responding and making a decision in an emotionally charged situation.
  • Stay out of office drama and conflict. Don’t let your desire to be part of a group to influence your behaviour and undermine your business integrity.
  • Understand and accept that frustrations, disappointment, and uncertainty are a part of any work environment – not just yours. Instead of complaining or moaning, think up alternatives or solutions that will benefit your work environment. Present these ideas in a professional manner.
  • Find a way to manage your stress outside of the office. Be this through meditation, exercise, hobbies, or spending time with loved ones. Develop other interests and don’t allow stress to compromise your integrity and EQ.

Improving Motivation

Motivation in this context, refers to your enthusiasm and passion for your job – beyond your income, status and position. Motivated employees and leaders have a desire to consistently achieve.

They can move past failure, and remain optimistic as they are committed to the success of the business. It is because of their ability to differ and accept immediate results for long term success that they are motivational and inspire others easily.

How to improve your motivation:

  • Identify what it is that you love about your job and what you find fulfilling about your job. Even if there are aspects of your job that you don’t enjoy, focus your attention on what you do enjoy. Brainstorm and find ways to spend more time on what inspires you. Meet with your boss about your ideas that facilitate this so you can be more effective on the job.
  • Try optimism. Optimism is something a person is born with (or without), but you can improve your optimism by making the choice to change your words and thoughts. Fake it until you make it if you must! Consciously catch yourself when you think or speak negatively and reframe your words and thinking.
  • Set goals for yourself and determine the actions needed to reach those inspiring goals. Reward yourself every time you reach a milestone or accomplishment.
  • Notice that people are more drawn to energised, positive, motivated people. Once you have worked on your motivation, you will see that you get more attention from clients, peers, and decision makers.

Improving Empathy

Empathy is the ability to understand and respond to the emotions and experiences of others. An empathetic person is skilled in treating people with kindness, respect, and professionalism.

An empathetic employee, or empathetic leader has the ability to identify with and understand feelings, needs, wants, and viewpoints of the people around them. They can listen, relate, and avoid judgement. They are usually good at choosing and retaining employees.

How to improve your empathy:

  • Consciously try to see things from another person’s point of view. This is particularly important in areas of conflict. Try to recognise where everyone is coming from, we are all working from experience and knowledge that we have.
  • In addition to just seeing things from a person’s point of view, validate it. Allow them to know that you understand their point of view and let them know that their perspective does have merit.
  • Look at your own motives and attitude. Do you simply just want to be right to win an argument or to prove a point? Or are you honestly interested in the best solution, even if you never thought of it?
  • Actively listen and reflect on what people are communicating. When a person is heard, they tend to be more open to compromise and cooperation.

Improving Social Skills

Having good social skills in the work environment means you are good at building networks and managing relationships. When you have strong social skills, you are a team player who wants to see others succeed too. You don’t always put your needs ahead of the team’s needs. You are effective and persuasive in initiating change and know how to build and lead teams.

How to improve your social skills:

  • Become an effective communicator. Listen to people carefully, ask appropriate questions, and be precise and accurate in providing information. Make sure your writing is sharp and on point, and always use a professional tone when writing.
  • Establish yourself as the go-to person to resolve conflict and find solutions. When you have integrity, a calm persona, and are committed to finding the best possible outcome, people will turn to you.
  • Consider the person you are talking to. Not every approach is right for every person in the workplace. You need to understand how to tailor an interaction with the person you are talking to. This should be based on their personality, and position in the business.

Developing and nurturing your emotional intelligence takes a lot of time and dedication, but having a strong EQ is necessary for a successful career. Fortunately, you can learn the skills of EQ and begin applying them in your work environment effectively. As you take this on, you will notice a change in the way decision makers and co-workers interact with you and respond to you.

Masterskill: Education through Innovation

Masterskill offers courses to help improve your emotional intelligence in the workplace:


CCT-201-S Emotional Intelligence Works
ELK88-649SG: Emotional Intelligence for Managers
CCT-034-S Achieving Life Balance
CCT-210-S Attitude – Protect Your Most Priceless Asset
CCT-215-S Balancing Home and Career
CCT-047-S Developing Self-Esteem
CCT-015-S Finding Your Purpose

Masterskill today for more information!

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