We all agree that being able to develop your IQ (intelligence quotient) is a crucial skill to be able to make advancements in your career. Emotional intelligence, or EQ, on the other hand, is discussed far less often in the workplace. This is unfortunate, because the ability to recognize and empathize with emotions is an absolute prerequisite to success.
Here are some simple and effective practices that will improve your emotional intelligence and propel your career forward:
Be mindful of your own emotions. Observing your own emotions – and watching the ways in which you respond to them – is perhaps the best way to gain insight into the emotions and behaviors of those around you. Online mindfulness meditation on apps, like Headspace, are a great place to start!
Pause, think, then act. Stress at work can often lead to frantic behavior where we don’t think before we act. The result? Emails may come off as harsher than intended, speech that was meant to be friendly might come off as a bit sharp, we make promises we’re unable to deliver, etc. When you begin feeling pulled into the fast-paced vortex at work, stop and take a few deep breaths before you send that email or chastise that co–worker.
Treat criticism as a learning opportunity. We’ve all missed the mark at work at one time or another and have had our work criticized by a co–worker or boss. The urge to respond with defensiveness and anger can be strong, but in all likelihood, there is a valid reason our work is being criticized and we can use this as an opportunity to improve.
Be assertive. EQ is typically discussed in terms of keeping your cool, and that can be misinterpreted as always repressing negative or challenging emotions. In most cases, however, we experience a negative emotion at work because we have something to say that we’re not saying. It’s important for us to be able to speak our minds honestly and directly, but also as compassionately as possible.
Master Your Emotional Intelligence
Developing your emotional intelligence is, in many respects, more difficult than mastering a new technical skill at work. It requires insight, reflection, persistence and practice, practice, practice. If properly exercised, however, building your EQ is guaranteed to make you a more patient, potent and resilient professional.
If you’re ready to begin searching for your next exciting career opportunity, check out our careers page.