How to develop emotional intelligence in the workplace


Have you been challenged by any of the following:

  • Despite having all the technical skills you find yourself stalling in your career?
  • Do your emotions get the better of you more often than you would like?
  • Do others see you differently than how you see yourself?
  • Do you say things and regret the impact of your words later?
  • Are you leading a team where there is a lack of unity, tension and conflict?

Welcome to the world of EI or EQ – Emotional Intelligence.  The term was initially used by John Mayer and Peter Salovey in 1990 and later popularized by Daniel Goleman in the mid-nineties.

Emotional intelligence is our ability to perceive and understand emotions in ourselves and others and to manage our emotions as well as our relationship with others in productive ways.

The four core dimensions of emotional intelligence, as per Daniel Goleman’s model are:

  • Self Awareness
  • Self Management
  • Social Awareness
  • Relationship Management

A lack of emotional intelligence has been a career derailer for many.  As has been said, your IQ will get you the job but your EQ will keep you there!

Here are five steps you can take to develop your EI-

Develop self-awareness 

This is a fundamental competency of both emotional and spiritual intelligence or wisdom (EQ and SQ) and the building blocks of great leadership.

It helps you make more insightful decisions and course-correct as you go. Become more mindful of how you are feeling in the  moment, try naming these emotions and observe its impact on your thoughts and behavior. Become mindful of your impact on other people.

You can develop your self-awareness through getting feedback from trusted others on your strengths and limiters.  If you have received feedback which you have filtered out, take note and take constructive action.

Become more emotionally aware of others

Empathy is a key word here. This is the ability to put yourself in others shoes. For example, reaching out to someone in your team who you see struggling and acknowledging good work with praise.

Get to know your team members better.  What values, motivators and vision do they have for their career and life?  As my mentor used to remind me often,  “People don’t care how much you know until they know that you care.”

An engaged team is a productive team and as a leader you are either inspiring or hindering performance.

Manage your feelings and emotions

From time to time, we all get confronted with situations, which act as a trigger for us. The sense of calm is gone. Instead there is a rising wave of feelings including irritation, frustration and perhaps anger.

Keeping our composure helps us not regret our words and relationship fallout after!

Stop press pause, breathe deeply, leave the room and come back to the discussion, if you can.

Deepen your listening

Listening to others is a gift and helps both parties connect and understand each other.

A common tendency amongst busy executives is to listen only to the words and content of what the other person is saying. Start actively listening out for other things such as the intent and emotion underlying in the other persons communication.  You will both benefit.

Take ownership and responsibility

Taking full responsibility for your decisions and actions, takes courage and occasionally we fail. The issue is not that we fail but that how quickly we correct our mistakes fast enough or take responsibility for them.

Maintaining our integrity is a moment by moment occurrence as we make a choice to live our declared mission and values. Taking ownership and responsibility will stretch your EQ.

Grow your EI and reap the dividends!

Author- Jasbindar Singh is a business psychologist, leadership coach, author and speaker.



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.