Being overly emotional is often viewed as a weakness, but managing emotions is an admirable quality. Being aware of our emotional state means that we can stay in control and make effective decisions. This is especially important in the workplace, but equally true in our personal lives.
When we are aware of our emotions and those of other people, we can improve our interpersonal relationships. Emotional intelligence is our ability to be self-aware of our internal, private feelings and how they influence our functioning.
Benefits of Emotional Intelligence
According to a study in the journal Human Relations, emotional intelligence in the workplace may help us to:
• develop a collective sense of goals and objectives and how to go about achieving them
• help others see that we appreciate of the importance of work activities and behaviors
• generate and maintain excitement, enthusiasm, confidence, and optimism in an organization as well as cooperation and trust between coworkers
• encourage flexibility in decision making and change
• establish a meaningful identity for an organization
Goal oriented leaders who are working closely with motivated, goal-oriented followers is a trait that businesses aspire to. The potential for leaders with high emotional intelligence to achieve this is greater than in those who do not possess these qualities.
Effective response to stress enables leaders as well as followers to perform more effectively on the job. Having a leader who shows emotional intelligence can make employees feel understood and appreciated. Ultimately, emotionally intelligent leaders can prevents attrition and can even lead to improvements in sales and other critical metrics for an organization.
Without being perceived as overly emotional, you can show your emotional intelligence in these 7 ways.
Here are 7 ways to Show Emotional Intelligence
Sometimes we confuse empathy with sympathy. Sympathy is conveying concern or pity for someone who is experiencing a negative emotion. Remember, you send a sympathy card that says “I’m sorry for your loss” to someone who has had a relative pass away.
Empathy is recognizing emotions in another person, being able to understand how they feel and sometimes, experiencing the same feelings yourself. If you cried during Titanic, then you showed empathy for Rose when she lost Jack. When we empathize, we can feel her pain.
You don’t have to cry to show empathy. It can be as simple as saying “I understand how you must feel. This must be a difficult time for you.” By doing so, you show that you recognize the other person’s emotions and you connect with them.
2. Service Minded
When you focus on the needs of another person, you are also caring for their emotional needs. Providing good customer service, to both those that you work with as well as external customers, means keeping people happy. Your awareness of the needs of the other person and action to meet that need demonstrate caring and a desire to be of service.
When the situation changes, you can adapt and change with it. For example, if one employee had a relative pass away suddenly, you’d console them and handle the details of their time out of the office. And if, while you were handling that, another employee was dealing with an irate customer that required your immediate action, you’d be on it.
Being able to adapt means that you can be flexible to meet the changing needs of everyone. You can quickly prioritize what needs your attention first, handle that situation and quickly move on to the next.
4. Managing Conflict
When emotions run high, conflicts can quickly get out of hand. Being able to provide a safe place for people to vent, while keeping things under control, is a good first step. Then help resolve whatever brought on the conflict in the first place.
In order to maintain control of your emotions, you need to be aware of them. Take a moment to sense how your body is physically responding. Is your heart rate higher? Can you feel muscle tension in your neck and shoulders? You may be feeling angry.
Once you have identified the emotion, it is easier to stay in control. Focus on the physiological response. If you have tightness in your shoulders, focus on relaxing these muscles and breathe deeply. Talking about your emotions can be as easy as saying “I feel strongly about this.”
Being genuine about your feelings, whether good or bad, shows your emotional intelligence. You can speak honestly and it will be received as a heart-felt connection on an emotional level.
You should never try to demonstrate an emotion that you don’t really feel. Unless you are a great actor, this tiny lie can be picked up on and you’ll lose the trust of those around you. You can offer “I’m not sure how I feel about this yet” as a way to express emotions without being vulnerable.
If there’s such a thing as IQ (Intelligence Quotient), is there also an EIQ (Emotional Intelligence Quotient)? Not exactly, but if you’d like to know more, you can check your own emotional intelligence with this quiz.