How to use your emotional intelligence at work
Ever looked around the office and wondered how your boss got there? Perhaps they are not the smartest person in the room, or even the hardest working. But one thing they are almost certain to have is emotional intelligence, or EQ. EQ is the ability to recognize your own emotions and the emotions of others – from navigating social complexities to managing others’ behaviour.
EQ is just as important in a job as IQ. In fact, some studies revealed people with average IQs but high EQ were more likely to outperform people with high IQs. Here are some ways to exercise your EQ and get ahead at work.
Empathize with others
Putting yourself in someone else’s shoes is a powerful tool. From the employee side, for example, understanding a client’s challenges can help you find the best solution to their problem or provide them with what they need ahead of time – which makes you look proactive. On the manager’s side, empathising with your team can build better performance. Talk to your team regularly and listen to the issues they are dealing with work-wise. Doing this might flag up problems early before they land on your desk.
Be open to feedback
Work is a learning curve. The best way to improve is to not only solicit, but crucially take on board, feedback from your manager or colleagues. People who are more closed and unwilling to accept constructive criticism find it hard to progress and adapt their behaviour to move them one step closer to promotion. Giving feedback is also a tricky task and one that gets better with practice. Here are some tips if the person you have to give feedback to is your boss.
Networking is great for your career. You can build industry specific knowledge, get the lowdown on companies you like from current employees, as well as meet some of the movers and shakers (either in your company or elsewhere) who might be your next boss. Networking takes skill, however; use your EQ to gauge the like-minded people, to judge who is influential, and to make connections with colleagues or future colleagues.
Your brilliant idea isn’t brilliant if no one else backs it or understands it. Use the gentle art of persuasion to convince colleagues of why your idea is necessary (the problem it would solve), how it would work in practice and the benefits that would accrue. It is much easier to reach broad consensus once you’ve convinced a few key players of the merits of your plan – and turned them into advocates for your idea. Use your EQ to identify your firm’s or team’s influencers and get them on side to help push through your pet project.