Can You Develop and Strengthen Your Emotional Intelligence?

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business-man-with-brain.pngEmotional Intelligence can be learned and strengthened, but only when you understand how it can be used to help you in the workplace. Knowing how to use your EQ to your advantage will allow you to have positive communication relationships with your colleagues. Adding emotional intelligence to your tool kit of success skills might be the most important thing you can do for your career. But the work environment is not the only place it is used. It also plays a major role in your day to day life.  

Before you can develop your EQ, you have to firstly understand the different factors of emotional intelligence.

Identifying emotions:
The emotions that we perceive from people around us can carry a wide variety of meanings. If someone is expressing angry emotions, the observer must interpret the cause of their anger and what it might mean. We all must have worked with co-workers who never have anything positive to say. They can suck the energy from a brainstorming session with a few negative comments. Their bad mood frequently puts others in one, too. Their negativity can contaminate even good news.
The first step in understanding emotions is to accurately perceive them. In many cases, this might involve understanding non-verbal signals such as body language and facial expressions.

Using your emotions:
The next step involves using emotions to promote thinking and cognitive activity. This is a key competency and it helps us to connect more with people. Emotions help prioritize what we pay attention and react to; we respond emotionally to things that garner our attention.

Managing emotions:
Dealing with emotions in the office is tricky. You don't want to be known as the person who freaks out if a project doesn't seem to be going as planned, or who uses emotions to manipulate people into doing what you want them to do for you. However, bottling your emotions can lead to job unhappiness and negatively have an impact on your work performance.
The ability to manage emotions effectively is a key part of emotional intelligence. Regulating emotions, responding appropriately and responding to the emotions of others are all important aspect of emotional management.

Developing your EQ
Employees who are familiar with emotional intelligence, bring an extra element of understanding and relationship building to their jobs. These are ideas about how to strengthen your emotional intelligence on a day to day basis.

Listening is a process, and an active one. It's easy to mistake listening as a simple, passive task, but it requires more than just the ability to absorb information from someone else. When communicating with another employee, instead of rehearsing your response while the other person is speaking, focus your mind and attention on asking questions to understand what the person is saying.

Clarifying. Clarifying is a combination of asking and clearly expressing what we have heard. By asking the person who you are having a conversation with questions, they will know that you are listening to them. When someone is being vague, it is important that you clarify the circumstances. In doing this you are able to assist them to see what they can't see themselves by making a suggestion. For example: "Here's what I hear you saying. Is that right? "

Practice body language or nonverbal communication. We can communicate information in numerous ways; so make sure you keep eye contact, pay attention to your posture, body movements, and tone of voice.

All of these signals can convey important information that isn't put into words. Also, by paying closer attention to other people's unspoken behaviors, you will improve your own ability to communicate non-verbally. With practice, you will get better.

Find co-workers with whom you relate to. Although you are at work to do a job, it will be a much more pleasant experience if you enjoy the company of the people on your team or in your department. Explore whether you are receiving shared communication or just making assumptions that co-workers will feel and react in a particular way, based on your experience. Ask questions, and notice responses.

Don't forget to pay attention to your own emotions. Your emotions will drive the decisions you make today, and your success may depend upon your ability to understand and interpret them. Analyze how you respond in emotional situations. Seek feedback from employees whom you trust to objectively tell you how you react in certain situations. Seek additional feedback from a boss or mentor who can describe your demeanor on others in a meeting, for example.

You can develop your emotional intelligence, but it will take persistent focus and practice. It's however important to develop your EQ to help you with your career advancement.

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