No one enjoys working with people who are a constant stream of negativity in the workplace. Sure, a certain amount of venting is healthy, but not when it is endless. It decreases motivation and makes problems seem bigger than they are.
Now picture that coworker who is calm and joyful most of the time. They tackle problems without getting overwhelmed by them, and it’s difficult to get under their skin. While not everyone can uphold this standard at all times, these are indicators of a high emotional intelligence quotient (EQ). A developed EQ can lead to a happier, healthier, and more productive work life.
According to researchers, our success at work or in life depends 80% on emotional intelligence and only 20% on academic intellect. People with a high EQ also make great leaders. Author Daniel Goleman has suggested that there are five critical components to EQ:
Today, we’d like to talk about eight habits you can employ in your daily life to recognize and develop a strong EQ.
Be aware of your own EQ
In order to improve, it is important to know where you are starting from. Quizzes can assess your EQ with questions and prompts that highlight your emotional strengths and vulnerabilities. Take an emotional intelligence test online. It’s sure to give you an idea of what you need to work on without taking too much time.
Know your positive and negative triggers
Sometimes it is hard to pinpoint what puts you in that terrible mood or, conversely, what makes you happy. Perhaps your nerve-racking product launch next week is dragging your mood down. The wonderful meal you had for lunch could make you happy for the rest of the day. The people around you, your workplace environment, and your health condition all influence the way you feel. Identify what affects you and how, so when unexpected scenarios occur, you can handle them appropriately.
Keep a daily journal
A daily journal keeps you accountable and helps you analyze your daily behaviors. You can write about how stressful that day’s meeting was or how you reacted when your coworker took your favorite pen without your permission. These seem like inconsequential situations, but little annoyances can build up without an outlet. Try to focus on the positives in your journal, too. Write about how happy you felt when your team gave you that beautiful coffee mug or when you got that promotion. Doing this will give you some much-needed perspective. You can examine how well you handled your emotions and identify areas you should work on. Practice new behaviors and reactions, and track how that improves your work life.
We know it’s a cliché, but try to see the positive side of everything. Instead of being nervous about doing something you have never had experience with, treat it as an opportunity to learn something new. Positive affirmations are a great way to keep yourself motivated. Tell yourself that you are capable of landing that big business deal, and that you will be successful. Most importantly, believe what you say. Your beliefs about yourself are self-fulfilling. Make sure they are working for you, not against you.
Listen to what others have to say
When you listen to others, you show that they matter to you. Being too occupied with your own opinions will cloud judgment and affect how you react to situations. It can be hard to notice when you are doing this, especially in the workplace. For example, many managers find it difficult to balance asserting their own viewpoint and listening to their team’s ideas. Always ask what others’ opinions and concerns are. Listening improves bonding and trust within your team. When somebody comes up with feedback about you, pay attention. It may not always be positive, but that’s not a bad thing. Take negative feedback as you would positive, and see it as a chance to better yourself.
Apologize when needed
It’s okay to react. We’re only human. We all accidentally or even intentionally hurt others sometimes. Apologizing when this happens is extremely important. It’s not always easy, and it can take a lot of courage. But it’s not a sign of weakness. Keeping your relationships healthy sometimes involves sacrificing a bit of pride and apologizing.
Put yourself in their shoes
If you see a coworker who is looking down, go talk to them. Try to understand what they are going through, and remember not to judge. If they need some help, do not hesitate to offer it. Make it a habit to have these two questions in your mind before you react: How would you feel if you were them? How would you want others to treat you? Treating others how you want to be treated is a good way to practice emotional intelligence.
Be open to humor
You won’t have control of every situation all the time. If things don’t turn out the way you expected, roll with it. Find the humor in workplace situations. Joke around, have fun, and laugh. This can completely change your work atmosphere. Humor is a sign of a high EQ. Happiness and laughter are some of the best medicines you can ever have to handle stress.
Emotional intelligence comes with practice. Try implementing these behaviors every day and continue to find new ones as time goes on. Striving to improve your EQ will bring more positivity and productivity to your professional life. It will help you understand and react to others’ emotions. In the workplace, it allows you to collaborate with your team, express differences in opinion, and lead and negotiate with grace. Whether you’re an experienced manager or a new hire, boosting your EQ will help you connect and build rapport with your coworkers.