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Five ways to use emotional intelligence at work

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Soft skills are very much in vogue in the modern workplace. One demonstration of this is the effective application of emotional intelligence, or EQ, to achieve positive outcomes.

According to Jen Shirkani, an EQ expert and speaker, EQ can be defined by the “Three R” method – recognise your strengths and weaknesses, read others, and respond appropriately to the situation within your organisational context.

Based on the behaviour of people with high EQ, here’s how to use it to achieve success in the workplace.

Leadership and EQ

It doesn’t matter if you’re the CEO or a team manager, leaders must use EQ every day at work. “If I want an engaged employee then it’s important that I am therefore an emotionally engaging leader,” Shirkani said.

You also need to be mindful of following the chain of command in the office. Though you may consider that you have earned the right to ask any employee to complete a particular task, going straight to a specific employee and over the head of your superior could make them feel out of the loop, marginalised and frustrated.

Using EQ to run a meeting

“If you’re leading the meeting, you have to have a very keen eye on reading the room,” Shirkani said.

The leader should be receptive to reading the body language of those in attendance. To keep all participants engaged, the leader should also make sure that the more outspoken employees aren’t dominating the meeting and that quieter team members are also given an opportunity to speak.

Using EQ during a performance review

Emotionally intelligent people have a realistic understanding of themselves, including what comes naturally to them and what doesn’t. Rather than stewing over a piece of criticism from your superior, you should use it to better yourself.

To prepare for a formal review, Shirkani suggests thinking of the worst criticism that you could receive and then picture how you would react to it. If you see yourself becoming upset, consider having a friend give you the negative feedback and endeavour to come up with composed and measured responses.

Using EQ while networking

Networking events can be daunting for the less socially confident, but they are important opportunities for professionals to enhance their careers. EQ is essential during events because it will allow introverts to step out of their comfort zone and interact with others despite their discomfort.

According to Shirkani, there are also pitfalls for extroverts in such situations. They should use their EQ in such situations to ensure they are not completely dominating the conversation. At network events, extroverts should consider toning it down and allow quieter attendees to approach when they feel comfortable.

Using EQ when recruiting

The most proactive time to use EQ in the workplace is when you’re hiring a new employee. Shirkani recommends asking one question to test the three emotional intelligence pillars: self-awareness, social awareness, and self-control. A good question is: “Have you ever unintentionally offended or upset somebody? And describe the details for me.”

If the candidate struggles to find an answer to this question, it may indicate they lack EQ skills. Their reply will also help you ascertain if the candidate has the social skills to admit and work through mistakes.

Parts of this article were first published on thriveglobal.com



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