Emotional Intelligence is more and more often seen as a crucial aspect of good leadership and working together, but it can be difficult to recognize and integrate into the workplace. Even more difficult is the concept of communicating to leaders and supervisors that you expect them to show emotional intelligence, because it’s difficult to determine if they’re practicing emotional intelligence without creating guidelines and specific tasks.
Unfortunately, emotional intelligence is about recognizing emotion and using it to guide decisions, behavior, and actions. This means that the actual practice of emotional intelligence can shift considerably depending on the situation. However, you can still create guidelines, which can help you to communicate and gauge practicing emotional intelligence in the workplace.
4 Ways to Practice Emotional Intelligence in the Workplace
1) Be Self Aware
Being self-aware, or aware of your own emotions and their impact on your behavior, is crucial to emotional intelligence. If you respond irrationally to something, you should know why and how to fix it. If someone is aggressive towards you, it is idea if you can recognize how you are likely to react and work to compensate so that you stay calm. Being aware of your own emotions and how you react gives you the ability to judge your strengths and weaknesses, respond better in any situation, and make better decisions by considering how your emotions play into your answer.
A quick way to judge self-awareness is to ask someone to rate their own emotional intelligence, and then compare it to how others rate their EI.
2) Focus on Others
It’s human nature to focus on yourself, but an emotionally intelligent person knows that it’s not all about them. If someone is struggling at work, their problems aren’t all about how much extra work it creates for you.
Shifting focus to other people in conflicts, discussions, meetings, and even everyday conversations allows you to better understand what they mean, their emotions, whether or not they’re stressed, and their motivations.
This will, in turn, give you a better idea of they can handle tasks, if they can take on more work, if they are integrating well, and if they are performing at their best. It also allows leaders to better delegate responsibilities, make decisions based on capabilities, and understand how to motivate and influence others.
3) Reward Others
Understanding emotional responses enables both leaders and colleagues to understand when and how to rewards others for their actions, behavior, and attitude. A reward can be a simple thank you, calling someone out at a meeting to say what a great job they’ve been doing, or a compliment like, “I really like how you handled that”.
Rewarding behavior can help to defuse situations, make employees feel appreciated, and keep people on the right track when they develop behavior that is beneficial to the company.
4) Be Accountable
When you’re accountable for yourself, you display humility, accept when things are your fault or your problem, and respond with understanding by recognizing others’ emotions. Being accountable for others means being transparent about leadership, taking on roles that help others to succeed, and working to develop relationships so that you understand everyone on your team. This will help you to perform better, to get more out of your team, and to build better relationships, which benefits the entire team and organization.
Emotional intelligence is an important part of leadership and team building, and something that is important for both leaders and team members to demonstrate. If you hire based on emotional intelligence, teach emotionally intelligent practices, and encourage people to lead in more emotionally intelligent ways, your business will benefit.