Emotional intelligence (“EI,” or emotional quotient, “EQ”) is the art of using empathy and cognitive abilities in order to improve social interactions. While many studies have demonstrated that women have more emotional intelligence than men, that doesn’t always translate into better workplace performance.
Empowering women to succeed in business has been the life’s work of Hanieh Sigari, founder of personalized beauty brand Qyral. By understanding what holds you back, you can retrain your mind to help you get ahead. Here are 5 ways to develop your emotional intelligence and start fast-tracking your career.
Start by improving yourself
The Mayer-Salovey-Caruso Emotional Intelligence Test measures four key aspects of emotional intelligence — identifying, reasoning, understanding, and managing emotions. High EQ people can identify the emotions of others, predict their reactions, and use their emotional responses to guide effective decision making. In order to achieve that, first you have to understand your own emotional reactions.
Do you get angry when things go wrong, or lose composure and get flustered under pressure? Emotional intelligence is defined by being in tune with your own emotions and knowing your triggers first. What are your strengths and weaknesses? How can you channel negative emotions into positive workplace interactions?
Grow your people-management skills
Paying attention to how others handle social pressure is a valuable tool for any businesswoman. Learn how to gain trust and build a rapport. By actively listening to nonverbal cues you can save a contract when a client loses interest, improve your network of contacts, and effectively negotiate for a better position or salary.
Getting the best performance from your team is a fundamental skill of people management, and utilizing EQ can give you the edge. Everybody has their own unique pressure points. Some employees will flourish under deadline, while others shrink into the background during conference calls. Giving everybody on your team the motivation they need to deliver results creates an efficient, harmonious workplace where problems are solved in advance.
Learn to self-motivate
If you’re in tune with your emotions, you develop a better understanding of what motivates you to produce your best work. Emotionally intelligent people are proud of their accomplishments, and find fulfilment in success. Having a passion for your work, and bringing your optimism and energy to the table, not only helps you stand out from your peers but makes your working life more productive and enjoyable.
Cultivate a positive working environment
Whatever your role, you can make a difference to the culture and atmosphere of your workplace by modeling emotional intelligence and strengthening social bonds. Treat coworkers with empathy, don’t make assumptions, and be prepared to speak up if you identify a problem. Maybe that colleague has always seemed hostile because they’re worried about their job security. Perhaps a manager is delivering poor results because he discouraged his team from asking for help.
You can play your part in creating a more harmonious working environment by identifying and eliminating miscommunications, encouraging and accepting regular feedback, and avoiding taking workplace problems personally.
Remember emotions are fleeting
An emotional response is a knee-jerk reaction to stimuli, and nothing more. Emotions rarely last, but the repercussions of the decisions and actions taken while under their influence can have long-term consequences. People with high emotional intelligence are able to take a step back from their instinctive, emotional responses and examine situations dispassionately, giving them better decision-making and problem-solving abilities. If an important presentation goes missing right before the pitch, it might be emotionally satisfying to shout or cry, but those actions don’t address the problem, and may even make it worse. Instead, high-EQ individuals keep cool under pressure and find a solution.