What’s Trending: Emotional Intelligence at Work

What’s Trending: Emotional Intelligence at Work

What’s Trending: Emotional Intelligence at Work

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There is a commonly quoted misconception that to be effective at work, workers must leave their emotions at home. Emotional intelligence at the workplace is more than a tool, it’s a skill that can help leaders and workers connect with their teammates and ultimately advance in their careers.

Check out this short article on what some leading publications and EQ experts have to say about it. 


Emotional intelligence is an important factor in leadership, according to Paola Cecchi-Dimeglio for Forbes. EQ, as it’s commonly referred to (as it’s otherwise known as Emotional Quotient), has been recognized as a fundamental part of effective leadership.

Emotional Intelligence is so important because people are social animals, and the work environment is no different. Recognizing, understanding, and managing your emotions leads to better choices and influences others surrounding you. Daniel Goleman, who popularized the term, says that having technical skills is still crucial; having EQ is vital for working with others and, thus, effective leadership.

“By developing EQ, leaders can enhance their ability to guide teams, manage stress, and navigate the complexities of workplace relationships.”

People with low EQ tend to impact their team negatively, leading to workplace conflicts, miscommunication, and tension. The author points out that these people usually have difficulty managing and expressing emotion, constantly shift blame, and frequently have emotional outbursts. These people ultimately end up hurting team success and their own professional relationships.

Fast Company

According to Farrah Harris, author of The Color of Emotional Intelligence, four domains comprise the EQ. In a piece by Kathleen Davis for Fast Company, she explores the different ways these degrees encompass emotional quotient, piece by piece, and all the myths surrounding it.

The first degree that they mention is emotional self-awareness. Harris says that we usually feel things, and it isn’t until later that we can name them, so it’s better to gain control of yourself and recognize what you feel before acting upon it. The second step is to self-manage those emotions. Once you know what you feel, you should be able to manage it to act in everyone’s best interests. They put it as “check yourself before you wreck yourself.”

The third degree is to develop your social awareness. That is, thinking about other people, seeing their perspective, learning to read the room, and acting accordingly. The last thing you need to develop is relationship management, or how to communicate effectively to build relationships, motivate, and inspire others. 

“If you don’t know where to start in improving your emotional intelligence, Harris says you can start small by simply increasing your self- and emotional-awareness.”

At the end of the article, they say that thinking about emotional intelligence as a soft skill lessens the importance of it when it affects the day-to-day of a job. Truthfully, a soft skill is no less than a hard skill. According to the Cambridge Dictionary, a soft skill can be defined as “people’s abilities to communicate with each other and work well together.”


Paul Bergeron writes that emotional intelligence was one of the most significant topics covered at the SHRM INCLUSION 2021 conference. At this conference, they went over some misconceptions and strategies on how teams and entire companies can make a better workplace by not leaving feelings at the door.

The biggest myth is that being fully robotic is the best. Bethany Adams, SHRM-SCP, talked about how emotional intelligence must be understood to be used to its full potential. The first step to that is recognizing that EI doesn’t mean “suppressing your feelings.”

“It’s a skill you can learn. It’s how to perceive and manage others’ emotions, not suppress them.”

Two strategies that can be replicated are the Ability-based and Daniel Goleman’s Competency-based model. The Ability-based model is comprised of four parts:

• Perceive emotions

• Reason with emotions

• Understand emotions

• Manage emotions

The competency-based approach uses five steps: Know your emotions, manage your emotions, motivate yourself, recognize others’ emotions, and finally, manage relationships.

Both methods can be used depending on the situation, but Adams points out that the best way to assess which way to go is by having a team leader establish emotional norms. These norms help teams bond better and allow them to feel comfortable expressing their emotions.

The takeaway

Developing emotional intelligence at work is an excellent strategy to improve your career. This soft skill is essential for team building and bonding, leading to boosted engagement and comfort in the workspace. Even though the concept may be fairly new, HR professionals, authors, and leaders all agree that emotional awareness and the management of emotions lead to a much more agreeable environment.

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