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Get Onboard: Emotional Intelligence in the Workplace

Interpersonal communication is an integral component of having a low-stress, productive work environment.

This is why emotional intelligence—sometimes referred to as emotional quotient or EQ—is worth paying attention to.

EQ refers to a person's ability to recognize, understand, manage and reason with emotions.

There are five core components, according to Daniel Goleman, a psychologist who has helped bring EQ to the forefront:

  1. Self-awareness. The ability to recognize and understand your personal moods and emotions and their effect on others.
  2. Self-regulation. The ability to control or redirect disruptive impulses and moods along with the propensity to suspend judgment and think before acting.
  3. Internal-motivation. Those with a passion to work and pursue goals with energy and persistence have solid internal motivation.
  4. Empathy. The ability to put yourselves in their shoes—understand the emotional makeup of other people. Strong empathy allows you to successfully manage a team or organization.
  5. Social Skills. Proficiency in managing relationships and building networks with the ability to find common ground and build rapport.

How does this translate to the workplace? Being aware of and actively working to improve employees' EQ, can prove itself to be particularly helpful in a variety of ways:


Those with a higher EQ are able to take a step back from a situation, look at it through an objective lens, and propose solutions to resolve conflict and move forward. Additionally, employees are more likely to have great perspective on making smart business decisions.


Keeping your cool in a high-pressure work environment can certainly be challenging, especially when faced with something new to handle. Employees with high EQ are more likely to remain level-headed when stress comes knocking.


Being able to display empathy and recognize other employees' emotions and motivations are vital for working successfully as an organization, in addition to being able to manage relationships, build networks, and lead teams.

Psychologist Dr. Martyn Newman told People Management that emotional intelligence is relevant in the workplace today because, "the challenges of growing a business today are changing dramatically, as a new generation of employees who want to work for companies they feel able to identify with and share in their values enter the workforce. The ability to be emotionally intelligent is one of the skills that will increasingly enable us to engage this generation of young people in the workplace."

You may wonder how to improve your own EQ, along with your employees. Here are a few ways:

  • Become more self-aware by paying attention to how you're feeling throughout the day at various points, know your emotional strengths and weaknesses, and remember that emotions are often fleeting.
  • Practice self-regulation by finding techniques to help you deal with workplace stress, which will assist in keeping your cool when things get stressful. Also, pause before making decisions.
  • Improve social skills by really listening to what others have to say and paying attention to nonverbal communication, such as body language. Steer clear of office drama, but be sure you're capable of managing conflict when it inevitably comes.
  • Increase your empathy by trying to see things from someone else's point of view and paying attention to how you're responding to your interactions with others.
  • Work on your motivation by focusing on the things that you love about your job and maintaining a positive attitude as much as possible.

Written by Sarah Suydam, Staff Writer for Groups Today.

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