What is emotional intelligence, or EQ? Why is it an important leadership characteristic? And how can you improve your EQ to help you excel in the workplace and progress, more quickly, to leadership positions?
Emotional intelligence is the ability to recognize and understand emotions in yourself and in the people around you. Those with a higher EQ create more meaningful connections, are better at resolving conflicts, building trust and responding to constructive criticism.
Studies show that people with a higher emotional intelligence are not only attaining more important leadership positions, they’re also scaling the ladder to upper management positions more quickly and excelling in their roles as individuals.
4 Ways to Improve Your Emotional Intelligence
It’s true that characteristics like empathy and self-awareness come more easily to some than others, but that doesn’t mean that these traits can’t be learned too. Here are four ways you can start to improve your emotional intelligence and, in doing so, get yourself lined up for that next big promotion!
- Improve your self-awareness: This is something that can learned through mindfulness meditation. Practising mindfulness meditation makes us more aware of how we feel and how we relate to spaces, people and events around us.
- Be less reactive: If you’re prone to flying off the handle, see if you can practise taking a step back, keeping your cool and then evaluating the problem from a distance. This way you’re more likely to be empathetic and to solve the problem or conflict whilst maintaining solid workplace relationships.
- Listen: Listening is a skill which can be practised and perfected over time. When people speak to you do your best to listen completely and not become preoccupied with trying to think of a response before they’ve finished talking or with other thoughts entirely. People who listen well naturally take up positions of seniority in social and work groups.
- Practise empathy: You don’t always have to agree with the people around you, but a good leader knows how to listen and empathize with others so that they can take a step toward finding a middle ground when challenges arise.