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Ways to Improve Emotional Intelligence in the Workplace and its Benefits

9 min read
Last Updated on 23 April, 2024

Emotional intelligence in the workplace is one of the essential leadership abilities. It helps employees understand and regulate their own emotions when they are among their coworkers.

The workplace may be a volatile atmosphere, full of stress, pressure, anxiety, and, sometimes, drama. It can also be a source of joy, fulfillment, or excitement. All these factors may influence how someone feels. Also, their ability to manage those feelings reflects their emotional intelligence (EI) level.

EI is an excellent parameter to check employee health and build a productive and mindful workplace. Internally motivated employees align their goals with the company’s objectives. Leaders with strong emotional intelligence understand how to use their emotions to promote positive outcomes.

This is a necessary skill for leaders. It enables them to manage teams successfully without producing divergences or confrontations. Emotionally intelligent leaders can get the most out of their employees and adjust their leadership style as required to suit employees with varying personalities.

What is Emotional Intelligence?


Emotional intelligence (EI) refers to a person's capacity to recognize their own emotions as well as the emotions of others around them. An emotionally intelligent person can analyze, control, and harness their thoughts. EI as an ability for interpersonal communication has sparked attention in various fields. Including the workplace.

Employees that use EI create advantages in their career growth and benefits for the business. A workforce comprised of employees with high EI promotes interpersonal skills. And also creates a pleasant work culture.

Individuals who are emotionally incompetent struggle to regulate their feelings. As a result, they behave impulsively. They believe that the repercussions of their actions will not affect themselves or those around them.

History of emotional intelligence research


The term "emotional intelligence" was coined in a 1990 study. It was published in the journal "Imagination, Cognition, and Personality" by Peter Salovey and John D Mayer.

Many trace mainstream interest in EI to Harvard-trained Psychologist Daniel Goleman. His best-selling book "Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ" was published in 1995. Goleman suggested that EI is a better predictor of business success than cognitive intelligence or IQ.

How can you measure your emotional intelligence?


There is no standardized technique to assess your emotional intelligence. But there are four approaches you may take. Self-reporting, other-reporting, and ability testing are among the first three ways.

You use self-reporting to answer questions about yourself on a scale of 1-5. Other-reporting is similar, except your co-workers are asked to answer questions about you.

Self-reporting isn't the best technique to assess your EQ. The responses will be influenced by your perception of yourself rather than your actual ability level.

The questions in the ability report check your capacity to detect and manage emotions. Several EQ tests are accessible online, but you should proceed with caution because not all of them are good indications of your EQ.

The Mayer-Salovey-Caruso Emotional Intelligence Test is the fourth and most widely used tool for assessing emotional intelligence (MSCEIT). This approach consists of smaller sub-tests. They help assess the capacity to recognize, comprehend, and control emotions.

Why emotional intelligence in the workplace is important


EI plays a vital role in the workplace and affects how employees interact with one another, handle stress, and perform their work.

8 Benefits of Emotional Intelligence in the Workplace

  • Working toward the organization's goals despite any challenges that may emerge.

  • Employees have the internal motivation to comprehend their own and coworkers' feelings.

  • Healthy communication skills result in common goals across the organization.

  • When it comes to the job at hand, the worker has a positive attitude.

  • Employees have positive interactions and deeper ties.

  • Employees with high EI can adjust to change successfully and handle whatever extra stress it brings.

  • Empathetic employees have better problem-solving skills. This allows them to make decisions that benefit everyone.

  • Staff with high EI are likely to develop their leadership skills and grow career-wise.

Hiring emotionally competent staff or existing employees with high EI can produce an even greater return. Also, EI is contagious. Other employees learn to understand and manage their emotions and become better team members.

It is essential to consider that the benefits of high EI vary depending on the role within the organization.

For example, EI can be particularly effective in human resources. This is because HR employees are constantly communicating with staff around the organization. They develop relationships at work to solve different staff members’ problems.

The 5 Pillars of Emotional Intelligence

Goleman suggested high levels of emotional intelligence improve working relationships. By developing problem-solving skills, increasing efficiency, and catalyzing the development of new strategies.

Goleman developed a performance-based model. It assesses employee levels of emotional intelligence and identifies areas of improvement. The model consists of five components of emotional intelligence, that are stated below.

1. Self-Awareness

Individuals with high levels of emotional intelligence are comfortable with their thoughts. They understand how they impact others. Understanding and accepting how you feel is often the first step to overcoming it.

Being self-aware when you're in a leadership position also means having a clear picture of your strengths and weaknesses. And practicing mindfulness.

So, what can you do to improve your self-awareness?

Journalling– Journals help you improve your self-awareness. Spending only a few minutes daily jotting down your thoughts will help you become more self-aware.

Self-Reflection– Slow down and consider why you are experiencing rage or other intense emotions. Remember that you can always choose how you react to any event at your workplace.

Identifying your feelings- Make a point of noticing your feelings. Determine how to proceed with the specific mood you are experiencing.

Research- There are studies and a vast range of information on emotional intelligence in the workplaces and your everyday life. Seek them out and find new ways to approach your feelings.

Suggested reading Mood Meters: A New Corporate Health And Wellness Initiative

2. Self-Regulation

It is also critical to regulate and manage your emotions and urges. Acting rashly or without prudence can lead to errors and harm relationships with clients or coworkers.

Effective leaders rarely attack others verbally, make rash or emotional judgments, stereotype individuals, or compromise their ideals. The goal of self-regulation is to maintain control.

So, how can you improve your ability to self-regulate?

Recognize your ideals– Do you know where you will not compromise? Do you know what values are important to you? Spend some time examining your "code of ethics." If your goals are clear, you probably won't have to think twice when facing a moral or ethical decision.

Suggested read Ways to Boost up Emotional Resilience in the Workplace

Hold yourself accountable– Stop blaming others if something goes wrong. Commit to admitting your errors and facing the consequences, whatever they may be. You'll probably sleep better at night and get the admiration of people around you soon.

Practice mindfulness – Be mindful of how you act the next time you find yourself in a difficult circumstance. Do you vent your frustrations by yelling at others? Deep breathing techniques might help you relax. Also, write down anything negative you want to say, shred it, and toss it away. It is preferable to express these sentiments on paper (without displaying them to anybody!) than voicing them out to your colleagues. Furthermore, this allows you to test your reactions to verify they are fair.

3. Motivation

According to Goleman, being motivated solely by money or material benefits is not desirable. A genuine interest in what you do significantly benefits your emotional intelligence. This results in long-term motivation, sound decision-making, and greater knowledge of the organization's goals.

How can you improve your motivation?

Find your purpose– It's easy to lose sight of what you enjoy most about your job. So, take some time to reflect on why you desired this position in the first place if you're dissatisfied with your job and can't recall why you took it. Starting at the root causes you to see your problem in a new light.

Know where you stand– Determine your level of motivation to lead. Check that your aims align with your company’s goals. Be your own worst critic. Analyze whether the organization values your efforts.

Practice Optimism– Motivated leaders are often positive, regardless of their circumstances. Adopting this perspective may take some practice. But it will be well worth the effort.

When confronting a struggle or a failure, attempt to discover at least one positive aspect of the circumstance; it might be something minor, such as a new contact, or something more significant, such as an important lesson learned. But if you look for it, you'll nearly always find something positive.

Suggested read 81 Self-Motivation Quotes To Balance A Perfect Professional And Personal Life.

4. Empathy

Knowing and reacting positively to the emotions of others is just as crucial as understanding your own. Recognizing and responding to a colleague's or client's mood or emotion can help you strengthen your connection.

Empathetic leaders can put themselves in the shoes of others. They assist in facilitating the development of those on their team, challenge those acting unjustly, provide constructive criticism, and listen to those who require it.

How can you improve your empathy?

Place yourself in someone else's shoes– It's easy to support your own perspective. But take the time to observe situations from other people's perspectives.

Take note of body language– Perhaps when you listen to someone, you cross your arms, move your feet back and forth, or bite your lip.

This body language tells others how you feel about a situation, and the message you're giving isn't positive! Learning to read body language can be a real asset in a leadership role because you'll be better able to determine how someone truly feels. This allows you to respond appropriately.

Respond to feelings– You request that your subordinate work late again. And, despite their agreement, you can sense the displeasure in their voice. Respond by addressing their emotions.

Tell them you appreciate their willingness to work additional hours and that you're just as upset about working late. Find a solution to make future late nights less of an issue. If feasible, give them Monday mornings off.

5. Social Skills

Being friendly is only one aspect of social skills. According to Goleman, social skills are "friendliness with a purpose," which means that everyone is treated politely and respectfully. Still, good relationships are also exploited for personal and organizational advantage.

So, how can you build social skills?

Learn how to resolve disputes– Leaders must understand how to settle problems among team members, customers, or suppliers. If you want to achieve greatness, you must learn conflict resolution skills.

Improve your communication skills– The tone of your voice says a lot about your personality as an individual. And communication should not be just one-sided. You need to listen to your colleagues for their input. You also need to be transparent about the decisions that you wish to make and implement.

Learn how to appreciate– As a leader, you may inspire your team's devotion simply by rewarding them when they deserve it. It takes practice to learn how to respect people. This will also boost the morale of your employees/colleagues and result in greater productivity.


Emotional intelligence is a critical component of today’s workplaces. It will provide new opportunities and allow you to interact with others. Not to mention the enhanced levels of happiness and pleasure that come with being able to control your emotions. It creates an environment in which employees feel safe to express and communicate. It empowers leaders and employees to be empathetic towards one another.

To succeed, leaders must understand how their emotions and behaviors influence others. The more effectively a leader communicates with and collaborates with others, the more successful they will be.

Spend time practicing self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy, and social skills. Working on these areas will help you in the future!

This article is written by Rithika Sarmah. Besides working as a Content Writer at Vantage Circle, she is an inquisitive reader who enjoys learning about human anatomy and physiology. In her leisure hours, she hums to the melody of her guitar and captures snapshots of her best moments. To get in touch, contact

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