Have there been times when you were so frustrated with your co-worker or boss that you just wanted to scream at the top of your lungs? Or had to rein in your temper when your boss denied granting leave for the vacation that you had been planning on for quite some time? The workplace dynamics are changing; for employers and employees. Nothing is set in stone. Bosses’ are no longer seen as the ultimate authority that everyone has to bow down to. Leaders inspire and motivate through their actions and behaviour. You have to earn the respect and camaraderie that you crave. You have to understand that people do not become automatons at work. We can’t lock up our feelings and emotions when at work. This makes the task of navigating through the treacherous mines at work harder if you are not equipped to deal with people and their emotions. According to Travis Bradberry, the author of Emotional Intelligence 2.0, 90% of top performers rank high in emotional intelligence. The statistics back the fact that people with high emotional intelligence are better employees and employers. And it isn’t just a trend. Emotional intelligence is here to stay!

Why is Emotional Intelligence Important?

Emotional intelligence is being able to perceive your emotions and judiciously express them. To be aware of your emotional needs and those of the people you interact with. EQ ( Emotional Quotient) determines your interaction with people on a day-to-day basis. You can improve the quality of your life by striving to be emotionally intelligent. It will definitely do wonders for your career. Emotional intelligence was ranked sixth in the World Economic Forum’s list of the top ten skills that will take you forward in your career. People are starting to realize the importance of emotional quotient and some recruiters even test the EQ of the candidates before hiring them. EQ is one of the parameters which determines if an individual will turn out to be an asset for the organization.

Working smarter is always more useful than working harder. Honing the essential skills will make your climb to the top that much easier. Emotionally intelligent people are easier to work with and are more productive. As a human resource professional, dealing with people is more or less one of your job roles and being emotionally sensitive to the needs and taking the right decisions is of the utmost importance. A workplace with emotionally intelligent employees will be more productive and peaceful. Providing training on emotional intelligence will go a long way in changing the dynamics in the workplace. It creates a better workplace where people are happy, motivated, and productive. You can always increase your EQ through introspection and practice. Emotional intelligence has five main components- self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy, and social skills. Working on each of them takes effort but the rewards are far greater. Here’s how you can go about it!

Increase Your Awareness of Yourself and Those Around You

Be more mindful of yourself- your needs, wants, emotions, and actions. You can’t expect to control your situations and circumstances if you can’t even begin to understand yourself. All great success stories begin with the protagonist embarking on a soul-searching journey. Yours is no different!

Why does the intern who seems a little narcissistic bother you so much?

Do you feel angry often and get irritated with your co-workers?

Try to make sense of why you feel what you feel. Do your emotions influence your actions and how you behave? Are you projecting your emotions onto others in situations that don’t call for it? If it is a regular occurrence, you need to stop blaming the situation and others and look inwards. You will become more aware of your emotions and what causes it. It will make you more in tune with your emotions. You can control anything if you’re able to understand and regulate your emotions.

Being aware of your strengths and weaknesses will help you grow as an individual. Being aware of your strengths will give you the confidence to showcase them and put them to use. Knowing your weaknesses will give you a better idea on how to work around them and eventually improve. Knowing your strengths and limits will prove beneficial in the workplace, especially when working in teams.

What’s crucial to remember is that sometimes our feelings are fleeting. You may get annoyed with an employee for missing a deadline, but that doesn’t mean that you act on that feeling and reprimand them right away in front of anyone. It may be on the spur of the moment and not carry any weight when you think about it later. It is not worth it to react for inconsequential things. Always think about your long-term goals before acting on your emotions.

Along with being aware of yourself, be aware of how your words and actions affect the people around you. Being sensitive to how you react and how others react around you will help you nip problems in the bud.

Do people feel comfortable sharing their problems with you?

Do they feel like they can express opposing opinions around you?

It’ll help you understand how people perceive you and work towards the image you want to project.

Regulate Your Emotions and Reactions

The next step in becoming more emotionally intelligent is to learn to regulate your emotions and reactions. Being aware of your feelings and emotions is all well and good, but how you control and act upon them is the deciding factor. You cannot let your emotions guide you and influence every decision you make in life . You have to be able to take the reins and make decisions that align with your goals. It may seem a little hard to keep your emotions in check at the beginning but practice makes perfect. Never bottle up your emotions but figure out how to deal with them in a healthy way. If you feel that your emotions are too close to the surface, count to ten and take a deep breath before answering. You want to make your life easier and avoid any foot in mouth kind of situations. If you feel that your feelings are too intense and you may not be able to remain objective, there’s nothing wrong in asking for more time to deliberate over it. Keeping your cool in the workplace is essential to avoid unnecessary drama and conflicts. We all have our own ways of dealing with our feelings. You should never carry your work home, especially your emotions and stress. Follow it like a mantra. Having a hobby or even watching your favourite tv show is a great way to relieve stress. Physical activity is also proven to be a great stress reliever.

Motivate Yourself

Nothing is perfect in life. Some would even say that that’s the beauty of life. There are some things we love and some things we hate. The same applies to work. When you are motivated to work better because of external rewards or acclaim, it won’t last for long. One of the things that set apart emotionally intelligent people is their ability to stay motivated for their own sake. It comes from within. Their passion keeps them committed to their work and they derive fulfillment from a job well done. They like to take responsibility and are always up to face challenges. Obstacles and failures are viewed as stepping stones to success. Their enthusiasm and positive thinking is contagious and will likely affect their colleagues too. People want to work with such uplifting and inspiring people. You can’t expect to inspire others if you don’t lead by example.

You can learn to motivate yourself by focusing on the things that you love about your job. It could be anything. It could be the versatile nature of your job, the happiness of being able to help people, or the opportunity to travel. It’s the moments that make you feel like you had a good day at work. These are what you have to hold onto to motivate yourself to do better each day. Your enthusiasm will be picked up by your colleagues and make for a better working environment. It’s always about perspective. Having a positive outlook will brighten up your day and that of the people around you.

Be More Empathetic

Emotionally intelligent people recognize that taking other people’s feelings into consideration will help pave the path to establish a better relationship with them. You’ll keep getting into disagreements and fights if you refuse to even acknowledge that the other person may have his/her own valid reasons. fights if you refuse to even entertain the idea that the other person might have a valid argument. Putting yourself in the other person’s shoes will help you understand their point of view and help you find middle ground in case of opposing views. When people see that you are empathetic, they will respect and be more empathetic towards you. They’ll extend the favor when you make mistakes or are in a bind. You can sort out disagreements without letting it escalate only if you choose to show empathy and try to understand the other person’s feelings and emotions. Empathy is all about caring about other people and behaving in a way that takes them into consideration.

This may be especially hard to do when you believe that the other person is completely wrong and your way is the only way, but you need to realize that this rarely works in a social setting like the workplace. You will have to compromise and make changes if you want to move forward. When you take the first step and empathize with the people opposing you, you will be able to reach a compromise faster and in a way that satisfies both parties. The other party is likely to broaden their thinking and be willing to compromise when they see that you are an empathetic, respectful person. It will be easier for them to trust your reasoning if they think you are going to be fair and objective in your assessments. You need to start paying attention to how people respond to you. The way people actually view you may be completely different from what you think you project.

Do people think you give them the opportunity to express their views without any bias?

Do they think you acknowledge and appreciate their input even when you don’t agree with it?

These are the things you need to focus on. Stop thinking about your wants all the time and you’ll see that things will start to work out better for you at work.

Improve Your Social Skills

Humans are social beings and being able to communicate effectively is the crux of our interactions. Being able to get along with people will help you tremendously in the workplace and it’s one of the things employers look for while recruiting. Emotionally intelligent people can gauge the situation and behave appropriately in social settings. They can communicate their views and ideas effectively and know how to hold a conversation. It goes beyond just talking and listening. You need to listen attentively and ask the appropriate questions and maintain eye contact to show involvement in the conversation. Improving your social skills will give your career a boost. Pay attention to the non-verbal indicators like body language which reveal more than the actual words do. You’ll know when to push your case and when to drop it. Being able to persuade your team members and your supervisors to consider your ideas and views will definitely help you stand out from the crowd.

Building a good rapport with your colleagues and clients is one of the most essential qualities of a good leader. Social skills are important to be a team player and with the changing business landscape, being a team player will take you up the ladder. For some people it is inherent and for others, it has to be learnt. But it is a skill that will definitely help you in every area of your life.

Emotional intelligence is important to live a well rounded and happy life. Emotionally intelligent people do not let themselves get bogged down by stress and problems. Emotional intelligence is necessary for your emotional, mental, and physical well-being. It could be the deciding factor to succeed in your career. HR professionals need to understand that emotionally intelligent people are a boon to the workplace culture. It will help the morale and productivity to provide emotional intelligence training in the workplace. There are a lot of benefits to being emotionally intelligent and it’s high time that people start paying more attention. It’s not just the IQ that counts!