When you manage a team, you need to be emotionally intelligent. There’s a lot of stress that comes with being a leader, growing a business, and being responsible for its success. If you lack the skills to understand yourself and others, it’ll be difficult to move forward.
Emotional intelligence, or EQ, is the ability to understand and manage emotions. Human beings are emotional creatures, so we need to learn about our feelings and use them properly to navigate social interactions. We also need to understand our emotions to thrive at work, whether that’s generating leads or making sales.
You need emotional intelligence in the workplace to:
- Resolve conflicts
- Have empathy for your team
- Stay calm under pressure and stress
- Create a safe environment
- Improve current processes
Here are a few ways to help you get started if you want to improve your EQ at work.
Learn to Control Your Emotions
Imagine a manager who let their emotions rule their decisions. They’d have trouble understanding their employees, solving problems, and thinking critically. What’s worse, they fail to understand the negative impact they have on their colleagues.
While it’s easier said than done, learning how to manage your emotions is the key to developing your EQ. You can’t think with a level head if you don’t consistently practice how to do so. When you let your feelings take over, it stops you from making well-informed decisions for your company and its employees.
Meditation is one of the best ways to learn how to sit with a feeling and deal with it in a healthy way. Yoga classes also help you relax your mind and view conflicts from a different perspective.
Take notes about your day and write down anything that made you emotional, whether that’s angry, sad, disappointed, etc. Give yourself time to dive deep into why you felt what you did and if you reacted appropriately. If you don’t like writing in a journal, start a blog to vent your feelings instead.
When someone speaks to you, do you listen with open ears? Or do you catch yourself nodding off, interrupting, and only answering to say your part?
If you answered yes, then it’s likely you have a hard time listening to others. When they say something, you’re quick to reply instead of taking a moment to see their perspective. This stops you from understanding your team and getting to know them better.
Considering how much people interact through body language and nonverbal communication, it’s your job as the leader to listen in every way possible. This includes:
- Facial expressions
- Eye contact (or lack of)
To communicate that you’re listening to your team, use nonverbal cues. For example, when they make an important point, you can nod your head to show understanding. Maintain a comfortable amount of eye contact: not too much, not too little to emphasize that you’re engaged. Show genuine interest and enthusiasm in what they tell you.
For anyone to practice emotional intelligence, they need to learn how to empathize with others. Being able to understand another person’s feelings and put yourself in their shoes shows strength as a leader.
To understand human nature, you need to gain the perspectives of those around you. Our differences are what make us unique and interesting. If everyone were the same, we’d live in a pretty boring world.
Highly empathetic people (HEPs) are curious about others and have a genuine interest in getting to know them. They respect their opinions and aren’t afraid to ask questions about what they don’t know. Around 92 percent of all feedback is considered positive, but even so, don’t be afraid of constructive criticism.
Develop empathy for those you work with by challenging your prejudices and finding commonalities instead. When you find the elements that bring people together, it inspires positive change. When you relate to others, especially in the workplace, it creates a safe, stable environment for everyone. How will you develop empathy for those you work with?