Using Emotional Intelligence to Improve  Workplace Relationships and Your Career

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Emotional intelligence affects every facet of your life. Cultivating this valuable skill will improve your confidence, boost your workplace morale and make it easier to collaborate with your coworkers. Every person has a degree of emotional intelligence, whether high or low. The good news is that you can hone your emotional quotient, or EQ — even if it’s not currently high. Learning and practicing compassion is an enduring journey, and it takes dedication and willingness to start.

How Does Emotional Intelligence Impact Your Career?

Your EQ defines itself with several key components, including self-regulation, motivation and empathy. Self-regulation refers to how you recognize and manage your emotions. It involves labeling your feelings when they arise, knowing what causes them and handling them appropriately. If you receive less-than-stellar feedback from your boss, you may feel discouraged or even angry. However, utilizing your EQ means recognizing the core reason for your anger and analyzing what lessons you can glean from the feedback.

Motivation predicts how you feel about your job and how well you do at it. An unmotivated employee is an unproductive one, and this state costs you and your employer. Happy employees are 20% more productive than those who are unhappy. This lack of motivation culminates in financial losses and missed business opportunities, which can hurt any company. Position yourself at the top motivational ranks by creating small, achievable goals and finding new angles to tackle assignments from.

Empathy determines how you respond to others. It allows you to step into someone else’s shoes and understand how they’re feeling — then tailor your responses accordingly. For instance, you may interact with a visibly stressed or saddened employee by showing extra kindness. You’ll create stronger workplace relationships by displaying your emotional understanding, which will improve your social skills. People with high EQs are better at fostering collaborative relationships — and such a skill will make the entire company function like a well-oiled machine. Plus, a higher EQ will make you a better candidate for projects and promotions.

Want to grow your career and improve your workplace relationships? In case you need more pointers on developing your EQ, here are five helpful suggestions:

1. Raise Your Self-Awareness

Get in touch with your emotions. When a situation at work causes an angered response, take time to identify your feelings and understand their source. Strong negative emotions make it easier to behave impulsively, which can cost you your job. What could you do next time to approach the situation differently? How do your responses affect the work environment, and are there any changes you could make? Learn to recognize when you’re becoming upset so that you can practice regulating yourself.

2. Work Collaboratively With Others

Practice active listening when you have conversations. Take notice of nonverbal cues, and think before responding. Many misunderstandings come from people reacting before listening, but you can prevent this situation by lending your full attention to every discussion you have. Acknowledge your colleagues’ ideas and give helpful feedback. Enhancing your collaboration skills may also mean revamping your language and choosing words that promote empathy.

3. Practice Leadership

Lead your team without being overbearing or passive. Great leaders give their followers enough independence to make their own decisions while still maintaining control of the operation. Your leadership style can change depending on your personality and your team’s characteristics, but sustaining transparency is essential. Create an environment where your coworkers seek your advice and gain inspiration from your presence. Let everyone have a voice, and provide them with opportunities to display their skills.

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4. Try Mindfulness

Mindfulness embraces a state of clarity and acceptance. It encourages you to focus on the present moment rather than losing yourself in negative thoughts, worries or fears. When work situations overwhelm you, take a minute or two out of your busy day to empty your mind. Acknowledge your current feelings, but avoid being swept away by them. Emotions don’t last forever — though you’re stressed now, you may feel different a day or even an hour later.

5. Resolve Conflict

Everyone knows how unresolved conflict can erode relationships, especially within the workplace. Completing assignments becomes complicated when your coworkers have notable disdain for each other. You can’t control what others do, but you can choose how you respond to and deescalate conflict. Set boundaries with your colleagues and address concerns before they snowball into unavoidable issues. A significant part of conflict resolution involves facing the problem head-on — don’t hesitate to call a team meeting if need be.

Use Your EQ to Boost Your Career Success

Your EQ is valuable to you in both your life and your career. Like a ripple effect, sharpening it to improve one part of your life will affect multiple areas — and it’s all for the better. Treat yourself and others with understanding and compassion, and take one step each day toward a heightened EQ. Your productivity and workplace happiness will skyrocket when you prioritize emotional awareness.

This guest post was authored by Alyssa Abel

Alyssa Abel is a college and career writer who offers advice on strategies to success. Read more of her work on her blog, Syllabusy.

Ms. Career Girl

Ms. Career Girl was started in 2008 to help ambitious young professional women figure out who they are, what they want and how to get it.

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