Career Coaching

Developing emotional intelligence in the workplace

In today’s society, leaders tend to fail for a variety of reasons. Their failure might be due to their inability to adapt to change or think strategically. It might be due to their struggle to develop good working relationships with key stakeholders or build and maintain a team.

Emotional intelligence refers to a person’s ability to recognize, understand, manage, and reason with emotions. It’s a critical ability when it comes to interpersonal communication and a hot topic not only in psychology, but in the business world. The term was coined by psychologists in the 1990s, and its use quickly spread into other areas including business, education, and popular culture.

Since then, integration of this critical leadership competency is becoming a requirement for leaders. In a business environment, skills in self-awareness, trust building, conflict management, listening, and empathy are crucial. Incorporating these skills help support leaders to effectively manage the requirements of a demanding work environment. Progressive organizations need leaders with high emotional intelligence to move their teams into the future.

Typically, this is easier said than done. Developing our emotional intelligence takes time and deep introspection. It requires us to look inward at the emotions we are projecting in the workplace, as well as work to understand the emotions of others. 

The four different levels of emotional intelligence are building self-awareness, practicing self-management, developing empathy, and gaining trust to build rapport


Build self-awareness 

 The ability to accurately perceive your emotions and stay aware of them as they happen influences how you respond to specific situations and certain people. Strong self-awareness ensures we have a realistic picture of who we are, and more importantly, how we show up for others. Recognizing our emotional triggers and practicing mindfulness can aid in this process.

  • Pay attention to how you are feeling. It may be beneficial to jot this down in a journal, track it in voice notes, or add it to your personal video diary. How do these emotions influence how you respond? Do the things you are feeling have an impact on the decisions you make or how you interact with others? As you reflect on these questions, you may find that you become much more aware of your own emotions and the role that they play in your daily life. 
  • Take inventory of your emotional strengths and weaknesses. Do you communicate well with others? Do you find yourself experiencing impatience, anger, or annoyance often? What are some ways you can deal with these feelings effectively? Recognizing weaknesses allows you to look for ways to deal with them.
  • Remember that emotions come and go. Before you react, keep in mind these scenarios are temporary. Making rash decisions based on intense emotions can hinder your long-term goals and success.


Practice self-management 

 Self-management refers to managing one’s internal state, impulses, and resources. It involves emotional self-control and your ability to use awareness of your emotions to direct your behavior. Self-regulation reflects how well you control and manage your emotional reactions to all situations and people, while keeping disruptive emotions in check.

  • Consequential thinking can help in this process by imagining the upsides and downsides of our actions. 
  • Determine which action will best support our desired outcome. Take time to pause during presentations and casual conversations to use this thinking strategy while allowing those you are conversing with time to process the information, as well.


Develop empathy by observing the emotions of others 

 Empathy is what allows us to pick up on the emotional climate in social situations and to be able to understand what others are thinking and feeling. We can develop this skill through active listening. The ability to focus completely on what is being said both verbally and nonverbally allows us to create connections with others.

  •  We all want to be heard. The stronger our active listening skills, the easier it is to feel empathy for others and connect with them based on the emotions they are sharing with us. Another way to sharpen this skill is by asking powerful questions. This creates space for empathy by encouraging deeper conversations at work and in our personal lives.
  •  See things from the other person’s point of view. It can be challenging at times, especially if you feel like the other person is wrong. But rather than let disagreements build up into major conflicts, spend time looking at the situation from another’s perspective. It can be a great first step toward finding a middle ground between two opposing points of view.
  • Pay attention to how you respond to others. Do you let them have a chance to share their ideas? Do you acknowledge their input, even if you disagree? Letting others know that their efforts have merit often helps everyone feel more willing to compromise.


Gain trust and build a solid rapport with others

Building trust and rapport with others over time helps when a conflict does arise. Once we establish trust with the people around us, we start to see different outcomes in our interactions. Our conversations change, and our intent shifts. Here are some key areas to focus on during conversation. 

  • Listen to what others have to say. This does not mean just passively listening to other people talk. Active listening involves showing attention, asking questions, and providing feedback. Whether you are a manager or a team member, active listening can show that you are passionate about work projects and willing to work with others to help the group reach its goals.
  • Pay attention to nonverbal communication. The signals that people send through their body language can convey a lot about what they really think.
  • Hone your persuasion skills. Being able to carry influence in the workplace and convince team members and supervisors to listen to your ideas can go a long way in advancing your career.
  • Avoid office drama. Do your best to stay out of the petty office politics that sometimes take over the workplace but be aware that conflicts are not always avoidable. Focus on listening to what others have to say and look for ways to solve problems and minimize tensions.

Emotional intelligence plays an important role not only in well-being but also in your success in the workplace. Fortunately, there are a number of lessons you can take from emotion psychology that will allow you to improve your emotional intelligence and foster greater emotional competencies to improve your work performance and career success.

Developing these four emotional intelligent skills can help leaders unlock the potential for swift conflict management, connectivity and trust among teams and overall understanding in the workplace. Since we know emotional intelligence is the foundation of success and performance, building these skills is a game-changer in leadership and life. 

Career Coaching Inspiration

Balancing Act

The importance of work-life balance

Work-life balance is a term so often used in this day-in-age. The average adult works at least five days a week, for eight to ten hours. Others work every day of their lives. But having a personal life, a life outside of work is one of the most important things I have learned throughout my professional career. It typically takes a professional, especially an entrepreneur, years to figure this out – but trust me when I tell you, the reason you’re working as hard as you do is so you can enjoy your life. 

I have seen multiple YouTube videos of interviews with elderly folks. When they’re asked what advice they’d give to the younger generations, they often say spend as much time with your family and friends as possible. Think about that.

Work-life balance is also more than just spending time with friends and family. It’s also important so you can have more experiences, achieve more personal goals, and destress. 

A balance between your personal life and work, when done right, can help with the following: 

Work-life balance helps with your stress 

You may feel there are times in your life where you cannot take time away from work. Maybe you are being pressured by your boss, maybe your workload is exponential, or maybe you run the business and you’re struggling to gain new clientele. Whatever it is, know this: 

  • In the United States, STRESS is the fifth biggest cause of death. 
  • In the United States, 25% of Americans think their job is the main source of stress in their lives. 

What people don’t realize is that stress can lead to other chronic issues, including but not limited to depression, anxiety, headaches, and muscle aches. Your overall wellbeing is at stake. 

Here’s what I suggest: if work is the main source of stress in your life: 

  • If something isn’t important, you don’t need to say yes
  • Delegate your work and don’t worry about it 
  • Decide what is important and act on it. Don’t focus on the non-important tasks. 
  • Take care of yourself. It’s okay to take a mental health day. It’s okay to be off the clock at the end of your shift. It’s okay to say no. 

When you start creating boundaries and prioritizing work, you will more than likely feel a bit of stress relief. With that relief, you’ll have more time to focus on your personal life. 

Work-life balance helps with your physical health 

Having a balanced work life and personal life means you have time to take care of yourself. You have time to exercise. You have time to be thoughtful about what you put into your body and the foods you consume. You have time to get enough sleep. 

After work, most professionals go home and sit on the couch at night zoned out, turning their brain off from work – if possible. Maybe with a glass of wine, or three. Take out being delivered. Exhausted mentally. 

Little things can help improve your physical health. What is a 20-minute walk home or around your neighborhood? How about picking that salad over the burger during lunch? Drinking in moderation and not often? You get the point. I’m not here to lecture you – I just know for me having good physical health leads to me having stronger mental health. 

Work-life balance helps with your mental health 

Having a healthy work-life balance can help with your mental health. When the only thing buzzing around your head is work, your brain can feel scrambled – most likely because it needs a break. 

If you want to have a calm and peaceful life, balance in your life is essential. You will have clearer thoughts, you will spend more time thinking through decisions you have to make, and you will understand your emotions and thoughts on a deeper level. 

Your mindset benefits from having a healthy work-life balance. 

Work-life balance helps with your relationships 

This one is probably obvious, but if you make more time for your personal life, which includes friends and family, you will have stronger relationships with those people. You will be happier and so will the people you care about. 

Just remember to put the technology away and be present in your relationships. Always focusing on or talking about work can be exhausting not just for you, but for the people around you too. There is more to life than work. 

But here’s the best part; when you have work-life balance, you’ll most likely have a stronger relationship in the most important relationship of all – the one with yourself. 

Work-life balance helps with your career

Crazy concept, right? When you have work-life balance, you are more present and engaged at work, which typically results in being a better worker and enjoying your job more. 

If you have a job where they focus on work-life balance, you are more likely to be loyal to that company because they value your personal and private time. When you’re more engaged at work, you tend to care more about what you’re doing. You take more pride in the work you produce. You have more productive relationships with your colleagues. 

When you produce higher-quality work you’re proud of, not only is your employer happy, but so are you.

Work-life balance helps with your creativity

When your brain is buzzing constantly, there’s little to no room for creativity. When your mind is at ease, you’re not constantly swarming social media, and you have a balanced life, you are more creative in your thought process. 

Think about how when your mind is clear how much more efficient you are, how you’re able to solve problems faster, how you may be cleverer. This all relates to a healthy work-life balance. 

When it comes to work-life balance, I think you get the point – IT’S IMPORTANT! Some other aspects of your life it can benefit include: 

  • Creating and maintaining personal boundaries
  • More time outdoors 
  • The ability to prioritize what is important and what is not – in and out of work 
  • Happiness
  • Fulfillment 
  • Higher levels of professional and personal success 

Maintain your balance and cherish it. The reality is, no one on their deathbed ever said they wished they had worked more. In fact, they always wish for more time for what really matters in life – and what that is is up for you to decide.