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Why is Emotional Intelligence Important in the Workplace?

Emotional intelligence in the workplace begins from the inside out with each individual. It involves recognizing various aspects of your feelings and emotions and taking the time to work on the elements of self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy, and social skills.

Goleman’s 5 Elements of EI

So, how does emotional intelligence positively affect leadership in the workplace? According to Daniel Goleman, an American psychologist and author of the groundbreaking book, “Emotional Intelligence,” EI has five key elements that, when managed, help leaders attain a higher level of emotional intelligence.

1.     Self-Awareness

The ability to recognize and understand your own emotions, is a critical part of emotional intelligence. Beyond just recognizing your emotions, however, is being aware of the effect of your actions, moods, and emotions on other people. To become self-aware, you must be capable of monitoring your own emotions, recognizing different emotional reactions, and then correctly identifying each particular emotion. Self-aware individuals also recognize the relationships between the things they feel and how they behave.

2.     Self-Regulation

The ability to regulate and manage your emotions, which is not to say you are putting emotions on lockdown and hiding your true feelings. It simply means waiting for the right time and place to express them. Self-regulation is all about expressing your emotions appropriatelyThose who are skilled in self-regulation tend to be flexible and adapt well to change. They are also good at managing conflict and diffusing tense or difficult situations.

3.     Motivation

Intrinsic motivation also plays a key role in emotional intelligence. People who are emotionally intelligent are motivated by things beyond external rewards like fame, money, recognition, and acclaim. Instead, they have a passion to fulfil their own inner needs and goals. They seek internal rewards, experience flow from being totally in tune with an activity and pursue peak experiences.

4.     Empathy

Being empathetic – or having the ability to understand how others are feeling – is absolutely crucial to emotional intelligence. But it involves more than just being able to recognize the emotional states of others. It also involves your responses to people based on this information. When you sense that someone is feeling bad, depressed or disheartened, how do you respond? You might treat them with extra care and concern, or you might make an effort to lift their spirits.

5.     Social Skills

Being able to interact well with others is another important aspect of emotional intelligence. True emotional understanding involves more than just consideration of your own emotions and those of others. You also need to be able to put this information to work in your daily interactions and communications. In professional settings, managers benefit by being able to build relationships and connections with employees. Workers benefit from being able to develop a strong rapport with leaders and co-workers. Important social skills include active listening, verbal communication skills, nonverbal communication skills, leadership, and persuasiveness.

Considering all these factors, it’s easy to discern why emotional intelligence matters!

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