How to Improve Emotional Intelligence at Work

Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Lucinda Stanley

Lucinda has taught business and information technology courses, has a PhD in Education, and a master’s degree in business education.

Emotional intelligence (EI), or emotional quotient (EQ), can be improved in the workplace by taking responsibility for one's interactions with other people. Learn about emotional intelligence, the five skills to use for emotional intelligence, and how to improve and promote emotional intelligence. Updated: 11/23/2021

What Is Emotional Intelligence?

We have long heard the acronym 'IQ' and we all have an idea that it means an intelligence quotient or a score we can arrive at by taking a test of our intelligence. But the intelligence measured by that test is only a part of the picture. We also need to become familiar with the acronym 'EQ,' or emotional quotient, also called 'EI,' or emotional intelligence.

Emotional intelligence is the ability to understand emotions, both one's own and other people's. This is particularly important in the work environment because we can use EI to help make decisions.

Do you know someone at work who always seems to know the exact right thing to say to calm down a potentially explosive situation? Have you ever had a supervisor who let you know you needed to improve in such a way that you actually felt better about receiving the criticism? Chances are those people have a high EQ. They have the ability to tap into their own emotions and empathize with others and then use that ability to make things happen, to manage people so skillfully that in the end it improves business. Wouldn't you like to be one of those people? What exactly is it that they have?

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  • 0:04 What Is Emotional…
  • 1:14 Five Skills
  • 2:04 Improve Your Emotional…
  • 3:09 Promoting Emotional…
  • 5:46 Lesson Summary
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Five Skills

Chances are a person with high EI started out with some basic skills that they can use to their advantage. Ask yourself if you have these skills:

  1. Self-Awareness: understanding your own motivations and how your emotions affect you.
  2. Self-Regulation: ability to control how your emotions affect you.
  3. Motivation: willingness to put the time into doing a job well.
  4. Empathy: understanding the emotional needs and motivations of people around you.
  5. Social Skills: ability to talk easily to a variety of people; ability to put other people at ease.

These are great skills, but did you know that you can actually work to improve your EQ, therefore making you more successful in the workplace? Let's take a look at ways to develop and improve your emotional intelligence.

Improve Your Emotional Intelligence

You can improve your emotional intelligence by working on those five skills. You can also do some of the following:

  • Consider honestly how you interact with others. Do you jump to conclusions? Can you put yourself in their shoes and understand how they are seeing a situation?
  • Consider how you handle yourself at work. Do you need constant reinforcement? Do you make sure everyone knows what you've accomplished?
  • Consider the five skills. Honestly evaluate yourself. On a scale of 1 to 5 what score would you give yourself in each of those areas?
  • Consider your ability to take responsibility. Do you take ownership of your own actions? Do you hide from your mistakes, even a mistake like hurting another person's feelings?
  • Consider how your actions affect your coworkers. Do you put yourself in their shoes before you make a decision that affects them? Do you wonder how they will feel if you take credit for something they did?

As you work through some of these strategies for improving your emotional intelligence, you might want to take a quick test just to see where you are.

Promoting Emotional Intelligence

There are four stages to develop and improve emotional intelligence within the workplace.

The first is set up for success. Before EI can be a moving factor in the workplace, there needs to be some preparation. An assessment of the organization and the individuals in the organization should be done to make sure that the organization is ready to embrace a change and to discern how much change needs to occur. The more of a change in organizational culture is needed, the more preparation needs to happen.

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