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EQ vs IQ in the workplace

None of us is an island, especially at work. Workplace relationships matter. Here are three easy ways to improve your emotional intelligence (EQ) in the workplace.

None of us is an island, especially at work. Workplace relationships matter. Here are three easy ways to improve your emotional intelligence (EQ) in the workplace.

Thanks to advances in technology, the way we work is completely different compared to even five years ago. Flexible working, the gig economy, and new ways of using AI are changing the way we approach work. Today, most of us can work from anywhere, at any time of day, and a lot of the drudge work is being automated.

One thing will always be true, no matter how much work changes: people need to come first. Human relationships have always been the foundation for everything we do in business.

Emotional intelligence

Emotional intelligence is your capacity for self-awareness, emotional control, and the ability to recognize emotions in others. It’s key in the workplace, whether you’re dealing with colleagues, clients or customers. Your level of emotional intelligence (EQ) can directly impact your performance. Travis Bradberry, author of Emotional Intelligence 2.0, found people with average IQs outperform those with high IQs 70 percent of the time, due to high EQ.

Experts believe you can increase your capacity for EQ over time. Here are three simple ways to improve your EQ in the workplace. 

Practice Active Listening

It might seem obvious that good listening skills are important in business. Most of us, however, are too distracted by our phones and laptops to actually listen to our colleagues.

Being an active listener will increase your workplace EQ. At your next meeting, get rid of distractions and give your colleagues your full attention. Don’t interrupt when others are talking and make sure you ask both open-ended and clarifying questions.

Physical signs are important too. When someone else is speaking, turn toward them, lmake eye contact and nod while they’re talking. This makes it clear you’re paying attention and automatically makes you feel more engaged.

Pause Before You Hit “Send”

Think about the last time you received criticism via email. How did you react? Did you roll your eyes and complain about it to a colleague? Did you take it personally and send a defensive response?

Replying immediately makes it way too easy to respond with a knee-jerk reaction instead of a thoughtful response.

Next time, pause, take a step back and consider the sender’s motivation. Is that person under pressure from his or her boss? Is this email the sign of a bigger problem?

The more you can recognize the other person’s emotions and the root of their criticism, the easier it will be to deal with the situation.

Resolve Conflicts with Empathy

Having a tough conversation, such as giving feedback or sharing bad news, is never easy or comfortable.

Start off by making clear why you’re having the discussion and why it’s important. Express empathy for the other person and acknowledge their point of view. Make sure you keep the discussion action and goal-oriented. Finally, brainstorm a solution and agree it with the other person.

If you can think through in advance how the conversation might play out in and plan how you’ll address the other person’s reaction, you’re more likely to find a positive outcome.

In workplace environments that are becoming dominated by technology, emotional intelligence has never been more important.  If you can manage your reactions, be mindful of other people’s emotions and handle relationships well, you’re more likely to succeed.

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