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March 20, 2024

Is Your Emotional Intelligence Sabotaging Your Success at Work?

What is Emotional Intelligence?

(usually referred to as EQ?)

Take a moment to consider how your thinking and behaviour affect your world, including your relationships.

Your thoughts are the seeds, and your actions are the water that nourishes them, shaping the garden of your life. By learning what EQ is, you can understand what prevents you from flourishing and achieving your goals.

To help you understand this concept, here’s a quote by Daniel Goreman, the EQ guru.

If your emotional abilities aren’t in hand, if you don’t have self-awareness, if you are not able to manage your distressing emotions, if you can’t have empathy and have effective relationships, then no matter how smart you are, you will not get very far.

In this quote, he explains that EQ is more important than IQ!

Emotional Intelligence, more than any other factor, more than IQ, or expertise, accounts for 85% to 90% of success at work…. IQ is a threshold competence. You need it but it doesn’t make you a star. Emotional Intelligence can.

The Five Critical Elements of EQ

EQ helps you recognise, interpret and process emotions in yourself and others. Without a doubt, genetics, upbringing and environment play a role, but there are steps you can take to develop your EQ.

Self-Awareness

  • Recognise, understand, and manage your emotions
  • Understand your strengths and weakness

Self-Regulation

  • Emotion control: be mindful of the intensity and duration of your emotions and learn to be calm under all circumstances.
  • Impulse control: resist impulsive actions which are driven by your emotions. Learn to pause and consider what will be the outcome of your actions.
  • Stress Management: this is key

Motivation (intrinsic or internal)

  • When you are driven to perform an activity for personal reasons (which you find enjoyable and rewarding). For example, enrolling in an art class because you love art. As opposed to extrinsic motivation, which is when you
    have to do something, such as study a subject you don’t enjoy, to get a good grade.

Empathy

  • The ability to put yourself in the other person’s shoes and see things from their perspective. This helps you value and understand the experiences of others. It’s very powerful in helping you gain respect and recognition

Social Skills

  • The ability to build and manage positive relationships, connect with people and expand your networks.

How EQ Can Help You Manage Your Emotions

The first step is to recognise and notice. The next step is to act appropriately according to what you observed.

‘The ultimate value of life depends upon awareness and the power of contemplation rather upon mere survival’.

Aristotle.

Enhancing your EQ in Three Specific Domains

Attitude

About yourself: self-respect is about accepting yourself for who you are. Many of your hangups can be linked to negative thinking about yourself. This article can help you reframe your self-limiting beliefs, which can stifle your progress and lead to negative behaviour.

Towards others: strive to see the best in other people. Inspire them to become the best versions of themselves. Be respectful and considerate in all your dealings. Empathise.

Emotions

Self-awareness: recognise, understand, and manage your emotions. By understanding yourself more profoundly, you can effectively engage in meaningful actions. But remember that self-analysis requires insight, courage, and sincerity.

Social awareness: aspire to be in tune with others. While you can’t control other people’s emotions, understanding their underlying motivations can facilitate more effective interactions. Be aware of their non-verbal communication because often, people say what they do not mean to avoid conflict, rejection, or judgment.

Behaviour

Self-Management: Strive to be calm under all Emotions such as anger, resentment and irritation affect your quality of life and stimulate the stress hormone cortisol, which can cause numerous physical and mental health problems.

Relationships: actively listen to others. Be respectful, ask questions and show an interest in their lives. This develops trust, understanding and mutual regard. Encouraging and supporting others will help you feel more positive and confident while making our world a better place to live.

Recognition of Self and Others

In the diagram below, the first step is fully recognising and understanding your emotions and what is really occurring in the workplace. For example, what triggers your negative emotions? Why do others express negative feelings? This concept links to Mindfulness (complete awareness of one’s internal state and surroundings), which has gained wide acceptance, particularly in many corporate environments.

Besides, you need many strings to your bow to gain recognition and the respect from others. You must have integrity (strong moral and ethical principles), consistency (can you follow through on your promises?), self-confidence, and a positive attitude.

Regulation of Self and Others

Develop strategies to regulate your emotions such as deep breathing, visualisations, journalling, mindfulness and reframing negative thoughts. There’s tons of information on the internet to help you out. Learn how to ‘roll with the punches’ when life hands you a tough gig. In paricular, develop resilience and a positive attitude to help you cope.

Recognise that everyone has internal struggles while paying the bills and getting ahead in life. Make every effort to be a nice person. Your work colleagues won’t meet your expectations all of the time.  And that’s OK! Focus on your role and do your best with the resources at hand.

An Improved EQ Boosts Your Personal Brand

Your personal brand is the unique and distinct image or impression that you create and project into the world.

Here are a few questions: How do you want others to perceive you? How do you ‘promote’ yourself? What story do people tell about you when you are not in the room?

In my late 20s, I stumbled across a powerful quote: ‘dress for the job you want, not the job you’ve got’. As a junior office worker looking to climb the career ladder, I upgraded my attire from casual clothing to business suits. Yes, it worked! Soon, Senior Managers were giving me more of their time. Simply put, I improved my brand by dressing to impress. And no surprise, when the next round of promotions came up, I bagged a Team Leader role. 

Click here to help you understand personal branding.

How Can a Boosted EQ Help You at Work?

It helps you manage your emotions when things are going wrong. For example:

  • You are overwhelmed with work and looming deadlines
  • Your boss is micromanaging your work
  • There are insufficient resources to deliver the work
  • You experience setbacks and failure
  • You’re working with unproductive people

How you process what is going on around you… is key. People high in EQ can identify which of their emotions are counter-productive and how they affect their behaviour and colleagues. It is almost impossible to manage the feelings of the people around you. But still, if you can empathise and identify the emotions driving their behaviour, you can respond more appropriately. After all, your connection with others plays a significant role in determining your happiness.

High EQ also links to strong interpersonal skills, particularly in conflict management and communications. Importantly, by self-regulating your emotions, you can keep cool and calm even in difficult situations. Above all, practising tact and tolerance is immensely powerful, especially when working with difficult colleagues. 😉

Does Your Company's Culture Value Emotional Intelligence

If you work for a company where EQ is not part of the company culture, you need to consider its impact on you. And if you are working in a toxic environment, consider finding another job.

Here’s why:

  • High stress levels: usually due to employees feeling overwhelmed, anxious and unable to meet unreasonable workloads. A culture of blame and criticism develops, resulting in anger, frustration, and deteriorating relationships.
  • Physical health issues: leading to headaches, digestive issues, sleep disturbances and even more severe conditions such as heart problems or immune system disorders.
  • Mental health issues: anxiety disorders, for example, generalised anxiety disorder (GAD), social anxiety disorder and panic disorder. Prolonged periods of stress can also lead to depression, chronic fatigue and loss of interest in activities.
  • Cognitive impairment: affecting your memory, concentration, and ability to make good, rational decisions.
  • Burnout: physical and emotional exhaustion leading to absence from work.
  • You may risk losing your job due to your inability to complete tasks.

Conclusion

Yuval Noah Harari is widely regarded as one of the most brilliant intellectuals alive (he wrote the groundbreaking bestseller ‘Sapiens’). He says no one knows what the job market will look like in 2040, and it’s important to note that what you or your children learn today may become obsolete. But, he says what matters is your emotional intelligence, mental flexibility, and ability to keep learning and adapting to the changing work landscape.

Your advancement in life is likely to depend on your commitment to improving your EQ. So take the first step today…..You can read Daniel Goreman’s book, take a highly rated course or simply research the subject to enhance your understanding.

Another tool to help you develop your EQ is Dale Carnegie’s (must-read) groundbreaking book “How To Stop Worrying and Start Living & How to Make Friends and Influence People” (which, by the way, has an average 4.7/5 star global rating by 112,979 reviews on Amazon).

Thank you for reading my blog, and good luck on your journey to an improved EQ 😊