How to Improve Your Emotional Intelligence at Work

Did you know that a person’s intelligence quotient (IQ) accounts for only 20% of success in life?

The remaining 80% comes from non-IQ factors, like emotional intelligence. Research says being smart has little to do with how high your IQ is.

That means you can’t expect to do well at work without changing your emotional impulses. 

No point in doing an IQ test now.

Besides, children and adults with strong emotional skills are more effective, contented, focused, and productive without being sabotaged by internal turmoil. 

And few know this, but emotional intelligence can be learned while IQ is fixed. 

Daniel Goleman, author of the book Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More than IQ, has reviewed the theories and insights in detail regarding the 5 components of emotional intelligence. 

In this blog, we’ll shed light on them and tell you how to implement them at your workplace.


5 Components of Emotional Intelligence

1.   Self-Awareness

This is about being aware of your emotions as they arise instead of being swept by them. 

So often, we tend to hit others with uncontrolled rage. But the best approach is to observe, ‘I’m furious with him.’

Evaluate your experience and notice your feelings about feelings. This helps you choose your responses and make sound decisions. 

For example, if you know why you feel irritable, you can do something to fix it, shrug it off, or move on. The stronger your emotional awareness, the more you’ll be aware of what used to be unconscious. 

Self-aware people have more clarity and control over their emotions. Ultimately, it results in better psychological health than those engulfed by their emotions. 

2.   Self-Regulation

It’s challenging to control emotions when they first surface. But once you’re aware of them, you can manage your response. 

There are two ways to regulate your responses:

  1. Determine how long those feelings last.
  2. React in a way that’s appropriate for the situation.

Remember, you need both good and bad feelings to survive. So, even if you experience intense pain, you can still be emotionally healthy by feeling joy and happiness. 

Managing your emotions means having the ability to soothe yourself. This helps keep in control and bounce back from setbacks. 

Here are the top 3 feelings people struggle with the most and that you need to manage:

  • Anger – we get angry when we feel attacked physically or symbolically. Often, this happens when someone threatens or insults us. 

The best thing to do here is not to dwell on the reasons for your anger. One self-righteous thought will lead to another to fuel your rage. 

Consider the opposite perspective. Most importantly, try to cool down: go for a walk, try yoga, or exercise to release steam.

  • Anxiety – anxiety hits when we replay the problem in our mind to try and find a solution.

But it leads to being stuck in an unproductive loop.

To overcome anxiety:

  • Recognize what triggers it
  • Use relaxation techniques to ease your tension
  • Ask yourself the chances of the thought occurring in reality

And if it has a high chance, what can you do to address it? There’s no point worrying if you can’t do anything about it. 

  • Sadness – we feel sad when we’ve lost something or someone close to us.  Sadness shuts us down temporarily, but if you dwell on the bad feelings for too long, you can fall into despair.

This results in making mistakes, getting fired, and losing confidence, among other complex feelings. 

To overcome depression:

  • Challenge the depressing thoughts
  • Distract yourself with activities you love
  • Celebrate small wins, like finishing pending chores
  • Help those in need
  • Turn to the Higher Power. 

3.   Self-Motivation

Next up, the book describes self-motivation. It’s how you channel your emotions productively. By managing your impulses, you support your goals, channeling your feelings productively. 

Self-motivation also includes managing the ability to delay gratification. According to research, it’s an important emotional skill.

In a study, 4-year-olds were given two options: 

  • They could eat a marshmallow right away,
  • Or eat 2 marshmallows if they waited 15 minutes. 

The kids who held out for 2 marshmallows became more confident, reliable, and socially competent adolescents.  They tackled challenges better and gained higher SAT scores.

This was in comparison to the kids who couldn’t resist grabbing the marshmallows.  It’s the same with setbacks. People who get distracted cannot focus, learn, or solve problems effectively. 

But those who stay motivated become more successful in all areas of life. 

There’s a reason why this happens:

Our moods affect our mental state. 

Bad moods birth negativity which makes us more cautious and constrictive.

Good moods enhance our creativity and problem-solving capacity.  

When faced with challenges, self-efficacy comes into play – the belief that we can prevail.

Being hopeful about the future helps take constructive steps instead of giving up. 

You can apply this emotional skill at work to:

  • Learn faster
  • Perform better
  • Feel joy and fulfillment from every task. 


4.   Empathy

Being empathetic makes you acknowledge and feel others’ needs and wants. But to become a true empath, you must know and manage your emotions first. 

The interesting element of human psychology is our ability to mirror or mimic others’ expressions. Some even tend to sense or catch others’ moods.

Others project their feelings onto other people. The more physically attuned the two parties are, the more synchronized their moods will become. This is how great leaders and performers move a huge audience.

Moreover, according to Thomas Hatch and Howard Gardner, there are 4 components of interpersonal intelligence: 

  1. Organizing Groups – to initiate and coordinate people’s efforts
  2. Negotiating Solutions – to prevent, mediate, or resolve conflicts
  3. Personal Connection – to get along with others by empathizing and connecting with them
  4. Social Analysis – to identify and understand others’ feelings, motives, and concerns.

People lacking these skills are socially-inept and awkward in social settings.  When did you last have trouble connecting to others in a group conversation? 


5.   Relationship Management

Managing relationships is all about managing emotions in others.  This combines the 4 components we’ve previously mentioned to become better at it. 

Apply Emotional Intelligence at the Workplace

Your workplace is flooded with people from different beliefs, customs, and cultures. Knowing where the other person is coming from is essential. But above all, it’s vital to balance out rationalism with logic. 

Becoming attuned to your feelings, managing conflicts well, and maintaining a regular workflow boosts job satisfaction.  As a manager, you can use your emotional intelligence at the workplace by using the following tips:


1.   Give Feedback Effectively

Feedback helps people know what’s expected from them, where they stand, and where to improve. When giving feedback, you must avoid harsh personal criticism or general complaints like ‘you always screw up!’

Personal criticism is counter-productive and can make the person go defensive. 

Effective feedback is when you highlight upon:

  • What was done well?
  • What was done poorly?
  • How can it be changed?


Ø Harness Diversity

Diversity is a beautiful thing.

It enhances creativity and entrepreneurial spirit and provides a competitive advantage in a global marketplace. 

And yet, it’s human instinct to be loyal to our groups and hostile to outsiders. This instinct and our prejudices are formed in childhood and are hard to change. So often, we don’t even acknowledge the biases and stereotypes we grow up with.

As a manager, you can stop personal biases from being vocalized.

  • Make discrimination and harassment explicitly unacceptable in your company, and always take strict action if such acts are brought to notice. 
  • Train your people about diversity, its benefits, and how to speak against prejudices.
  • Keep in mind to follow the same approach as effective feedback. 

Ø Improve How People Work Together

According to research, one of the best ways to tap into intellectual capital is to improve how people work together.  A group’s success depends less on individuals’ IQ than the groups.

This relates to creating internal harmony to tap into team members’ talents. Understand that star performers don’t shine because of their superior intellect. Instead, they shine by motivating themselves, building trust to tap into people’s ideas, and coordinating their teams’ efforts. 

Using these tips is your gateway to excel at your workplace without letting your emotions control you.

If you want to learn more tips and tricks, business strategies, and life lessons, read more blogs by VideoMonks.