According to recent discussion panel with ISE, the skills most in demand for our upcoming leaders include resilience (75%) and Emotional intelligence (51%) Whilst it’s widely agreed that having an emotionally intelligent approach at work is a positive thing, the tools to actually be more emotionally intelligent are often non existent or difficult to conceptualise and use. Here are 5 keys to unlock emotional intelligence at work.
Key 1. Gain a deeper level of self-awareness
Ask for feedback from colleagues that you trust and respect. You can do this by saying that you’d like to gain a more realistic view of how you’re perceived at work and would be grateful for one or two insights from them. Give them some time to reflect on your question rather than wanting the answer immediately and be understanding if they refuse.
You might also use an anonymous questionnaire – be prepared to be open to the feedback you receive – it may be quite an eye opener!
Key 2. Identify your emotional triggers
Unlock emotional intelligence at work by remaining calm under pressure and thinking through the consequences of your actions rather than flying off the handle or falling prey to anxiety or negative thought patterns. In order to do this we need to identify the potential triggers that cause us to react emotionally. It may be time pressure or sloppy workmanship from others, fear of failure or certain situations.
If we can identify our triggers we are in a much stronger position to then be able to put strategies in place to counter them. This maybe making sure we plan effectively to alleviate time pressure issues or taking some deep breaths before providing feedback on sloppy workmanship so that the feedback comes across as constructive and not accusatory.
Key 3. Think optimistically
Optimistic thinking is one of the elements that keeps people on track, it provides resilience; the ‘bounce back’ factor. Being able to find a silver lining in any situation is essential to motivation.
We often get caught up in thinking de-motivating thoughts that prevent us from performing at our best. There’s a useful technique known as re-framing that can help us switch focus.
Rather than thinking “I hate timesheets, they’re so time consuming” for example, try and re-frame it into something a little more inspiring like “Filling out timesheets means I get paid properly” By doing this we feel more motivated to perform.
Key 4. Take time to gain perspective
We often get so tied up in our own thoughts, needs, wants and objectives that we don’t take the time to really understand other people’s perspectives. This can lead to deadlock, damaged relationships and ill feeling.
Instead, make an effort to use good quality open questions to gain a deeper understanding of a situation from another’s perspective so that you can work better together.
For example you may like a task performed in a particular way but by asking why the other person does it differently and what they see the benefits to be, you will not only gain a different perspective but there may actually be some value in their ideas.
Key 5. Ensure you communicate clearly
Communication is a minefield and we need to be conscious of the way we communicate with others – are we using the appropriate body language and how might it be perceived? Are we being clear about objectives? Are we really paying attention when people talk to us? Can we be more concise in our communication? Can we set and manage expectations more effectively?
Ensure you take time, even for just 10 minutes a day, to hone an element of your social skills in order to communicate with others more effectively.
By doing some of these simple but key actions we can unlock emotional intelligence at work. For more information on emotional intelligence training, contact firstname.lastname@example.org