If you’ve read some of my other posts, you probably know how important emotional intelligence (EI) is to your relationships, health and overall well-being.
But one of the most important areas to have a high-degree of EI is in your career. EI has a powerful impact on your performance at work, leadership skills, and ability to cultivate a more satisfying and enriching career.
Self-awareness, a cornerstone of EI, is an important characteristic of an effective leader. And in order to excel at work, you ultimately have to learn how to exercise effective leadership strategies.
The ability to accurately perceive your own and others’ emotions and to understand the signals that emotions send about relationships are critical traits that effective leaders demonstrate.
In fact, EI is the sine qua non of leadership. Without it, you can have the best training in the world, an incisive, analytical mind, and an endless supply of smart ideas, but you still won’t make a great leader.
If you have a healthy sense of self-awareness, you understand your own strengths and limitations, and how your actions affect others. A person who is self-aware is always better able to handle and learn from constructive criticism than one who is not.
Among the five key components of emotional intelligence—self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy for others, and social skills—self-awareness is one of the most helpful skills that my clients and I address together.
A good sense of self-awareness allows you to understand and interpret your own moods, emotions, inner drives, and impact on others. This often translates to increased levels of self-confidence.
When clients gain higher states of self-awareness they are able to realistically assess themselves, their thoughts, and their behaviors. This serves them professionally and personally.
Here are a few exercises you can try at work in order to enhance your EI:
- Spend a day taking careful notes of the source of your emotions. Is your anger a reaction to a comment a colleague made during a meeting? Is your happiness a result of a compliment from your boss? Are you feeling anxious because you missed a deadline?
- Consider how your negative emotions (anger, jealously, frustration, disengagement, etc.) may have impacted your boss, clients, and co-workers in the past. Work towards taking responsibility for your part in past conflicts.
- Think about helpful tools for managing your emotions on the job to avoid knee-jerk reactions. Perhaps this means taking a walk when you’re anxious or saying “no” when you’re overwhelmed with responsibilities.
- Take an honest look at your own strengths and weaknesses. Ask your boss for feedback and work with the areas that you feel can be improved.
As we exercise self-awareness time and time again, it becomes natural. You can continue to flex this new muscle by pausing throughout your day to notice how others are responding to you.
Increase your emotional intelligence at work and I bet you’ll be pleasantly surprised with the results!