IQ gets its share of fanfare at school and later in the workplace. Nonetheless, there’s another side to being the best employee you can be. This is your emotional intelligence.

Your emotional intelligence or EQ enables you to respond appropriately to difficult situations. Emotional intelligence also allows you to empathize with co-workers and superiors. EQ makes conflict resolution easier, which is why it’s crucial for professional development.

These advantages are only the iceberg when it comes to emotional intelligence. You can reap these benefits and more by working to improve it with the following tips:

1. Be Mindful of Emotions Before Reacting

Everyone gets angry in the workplace from time to time. However, to be emotionally intelligent means not reacting impulsively. Rather, emotional intelligence involves taking a breath, processing your emotions, and choosing the appropriate reaction.

When a reaction follows processed feelings, the chances of harsh words or actions being exchanged drop. This will prevent conflicts from escalating and, in some cases, keep them from happening in the first place. This is a great place to start for professional development.

2. Learn to Read Non-verbal Cues

Woman crying at her desk while man consoles herMost of what people in the workplace feel isn’t expressed verbally. To better engage with colleagues and superiors, it’s advantageous to read their emotions.

Doing this can be challenging if you don’t know how to read non-verbal cues, but the good news is that you can learn how through professional development. For example, you can usually tell if someone is having a bad day if they have crossed arms and a serious face.

Another way to do this is to pay attention to their tone of voice. For example, someone who speaks in an unusually quiet tone might be feeling unconfident.

3. Offer Observations, Not Judgments

Displaying sensitivity to another person’s feelings shows a high level of emotional intelligence. When you’ve paid attention to their non-verbal cues, offer an observation. Here’s an example:

Let’s say that you saw your colleague teary-eyed after clocking in for work. Instead of saying something normative and dismissive like “Cheer up,” you can offer an observation. You can say:

“I noticed you looked upset today, is everything okay?”

By offering an objective observation, you do two things: First, you show that you empathize with your colleague. Second, if they want to talk, then you opened up a channel of communication for them to do so.

4. Listen Intently

Man listening intently to coworkerListening is a key skill worth developing if you wish to improve your emotional intelligence. As crucial as it is, it’s not hard to do. All you need to do is allow the other person to talk without interrupting them. You’ll be surprised at how this can assuage a co-worker’s feelings of sadness or anger.

5. Recognize EQ Comes from Within

While it’s important to be emotionally intelligent towards others, it’s equally crucial to be kind to yourself. That means you also have to listen to yourself without judgment, as an example. By exercising the same degree of kindness and empathy for yourself, you’ll not only feel better, but you’ll also go about your day at work productively and positively. Emotional intelligence is very important and should be included into any professional development plan.

Make Emotional Intelligence Part of Your Personal and Professional Development

One of the best skills to improve at work is your emotional intelligence. By getting better at processing emotions, listening, and watching for cues, you can improve not just your work life but your personal life too.

Find more tips like these from VOC Associates! Visit our website or call (216) 284-4481 today!