Emotional intelligence, or EQ, seems to be the top priority of a lot of companies and rightfully so. Working in the professional world means that you need to be able to communicate effectively with others. If you’re in a leadership role, you need to be able to understand your team, tackle difficult situations, and work in unison in a diverse workplace.
If you want to improve your EQ and connect with your team on a deeper level, here are a couple of things you should practice:
1. Express Yourself Openly
It will be difficult at first but remember that expressing yourself will help you connect with others. You don’t have to tell your coworkers everything. But if you’re struggling doing something or don’t feel comfortable doing something then let others know politely.
Leaning on others for support isn’t a bad thing. Sometimes you just need a fresh perspective to help you broaden your horizon. This will also help reduce any communication gaps you might have with your team. It will help you gauge their interest and you’ll learn about what they are like as individuals.
2. Learn to Respond and Not React
In a professional setting, you’re supposed to be able to control your emotions. Even if a coworker or a client has made you angry, try not to show it. Instead of reacting, try to respond to the situation. Emotionally intelligent people focus on resolving issues without getting angry or lashing out.
If you need to take a short break to gather your thoughts, take a walk for 15 minutes. Think about how you would like to resolve the conflict. Then come back after you’ve calmed down.
3. Actively Listen to Others
Practice active listening. When you’re conversing with others, don’t interrupt them. Listen to what they have to say before pitching your own ideas. This will help you in the long run by preventing misunderstandings. It will also show the person you’re talking to that you respect them and their time.
4. Practice Self-Awareness
This one’s tricky because not everyone is self-aware of the areas they’re lacking in. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t work on becoming self-aware. Practice keeping your emotions in check and own up to your mistakes. Even if you feel like you’re not in the wrong after a heated argument, think about how you could have handled the situation. This is where the second point comes into place. You need to respond, not react. Observe people’s body language and how they express themselves. You can utilize this information to improve your own communication skills.
5. Welcome Constructive Criticism
Remember that even if you’re an expert in your field, there’s always room for growth. Instead of getting defensive and offended, emotionally intelligent people take everything into consideration and think about how they can improve. Take a few moments to understand which areas need to be worked on, how it’s affecting others, and remind yourself that your supervisor isn’t saying there’s something wrong with you. It just means that there are different ways you can polish your work.
6. Be Approachable
Last but not least, emotionally intelligent people are amiable and approachable. This doesn’t mean you have to step out of your comfort zone and socialize when you don’t want to. It means that you could perhaps smile more often and be willing to help others who come to you for advice.
While on the surface, emotional intelligence may seem like something that is difficult, anyone can learn to improve theirs. One of the first steps is becoming self-aware. How do your actions affect others?
Just follow these tips and feel free to check out our book, “Everyday Lessons in Emotional Intelligence; A Caribbean Perspective.”