Emotional intelligence skills are vital for successful leaders in the workplace. But what exactly is emotional intelligence and how can it be developed? According to research conducted by Salovey and Mayer, there are four critical components, which together, make up emotional intelligence:
Perceiving: The first step in understanding emotions is to accurately perceive them, including accurately interpreting nonverbal signals such as body language and facial expressions.
Reasoning: We reason with emotions. Emotions help prioritize what we pay attention and react to; we must recognize that we respond emotionally to things that garner our attention.
Understanding: Emotions can carry a wide variety of meanings. If someone is expressing angry emotions, the observer must recognize the emotion for what it is, then correctly understand and interpret the cause of their anger and what it might mean.
Managing: Regulating your own emotions, reacting appropriately, and responding to the emotions of others are all important aspects of emotional management.
Master these four components and you’ll enjoy the benefits of a high “EQ.” Keys to developing emotional intelligence and building your EQ in the workplace include:
- Accept the importance of emotions to success at work. Whether your own emotions, or those displayed by others, emotions provide information you need to make good decisions and understand how to best manage and lead.
- Start with emotional self-awareness. Pay attention to your own emotions. With this insight, it will be easier to identify the existence and source of emotions in others.
- Work to eliminate knee-jerk reactions. Instead, shift from the external cause of the situation to yourself. Understand your emotions and the real reason you are reacting to something. Doing so will provide a more emotionally intelligent response to any situation.
Those who recognize the importance of emotional intelligence and, through leadership development, professional training, and executive coaching, invest in developing their skills will become an even more effective leader.