Learning the Art and Science of Emotional Intelligence

Learning the Art and Science of Emotional Intelligence

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Syed Aquib Ur
Syed Aquib Ur Rahman
Assistant Manager
Updated on Jan 18, 2024 19:07 IST
The importance of Emotional Intelligence (EI) in the workplace is undeniable. EI involves understanding and managing emotions, crucial for success and effective leadership. Developing skills like assertive communication, empathy, and self-awareness enhances professional relationships, contributing to overall job satisfaction and performance
emotional intelligence

About emotional intelligence –

  • Emotions guide every decision we make
  • We are always guided by emotions, even when we try hard to be emotionless
  • Emotions affect our health, relationships, as well as financial well-being
  • Mind, body, language, and emotion are all tied together

A large part of our performance at work depends on how we work with other people. Whether you are an individual contributor or a team leader, part of your productivity would depend on your relationship skills. In trying to do that, your ability to understand and manage your emotions and those of others is the key. Emotional Intelligence, despite being a scientifically debated term, is all about that. Researches show that emotional and social skills are four times more important than IQ when considering success and prestige in a professional environment. That’s why you need to master emotional intelligence for any job designation.  

What is Emotional Intelligence?

In a simple term, emotional intelligence (EI) or emotional quotient (EQ) is the skill that helps in understanding, managing, and using self emotions in multiple situations like stress handling, conflict management, and making informed decisions. 

However, it is not only limited to self emotions, but it also entails managing and respecting the opinions of others. And that is why learning emotional intelligence is very important in the workplace especially for those who are in leadership roles.

Many times, working professionals are more familiar with IQ which is quite relatable to cognitive intelligence. Instead, in the workplace, emotional intelligence is what everybody subconsciously uses but never completely understands. 

The moment you master emotional intelligence, it implies that you are able to use the following aspects to your and everyone’s advantage:

    • Self-awareness
    • Self-regulation
    • Empathy
    • Motivation
    • Relationship management

Why is it Essential to Develop Emotional Intelligence in the Workplace?

Perusing the above EQ components, they clearly fit well in expanding efficiency at the workplace. The below messages from a well-recognized EQ expert Daniel Goleman suggests the same:

“The interest in emotional intelligence in the workplace stems from the widespread recognition that these abilities – self-awareness, self-management, empathy, and social skill – separate the most successful workers and leaders from the average. This is especially true in roles like the professions and higher-level executives, where everyone is about as smart as everyone else, and how people manage themselves and their relationships gives the best and edge.” – Daniel Goleman

Also, research published by Elsevier Ltd in 2012 suggested that there is a moderate positive relationship between emotional intelligence, leadership behaviour, and organizational commitment.  

Using the following two points, we can precisely summarize the importance of having people with a high EI at the workplace:

  1. They are really motivated as they are strongly allied with their overall work performance
  2. Due to their qualities (self-awareness, self-management, empathy, and social relationships), they are found satisfied with their job and at the same time people working in the team also tend to show the same signs

Further, EI and EQ have broad applications at the workplace, however, for the below three areas, emotional intelligence intervention is very helpful:

  • Leadership roles
  • Project management roles
  • Human resource management roles

How to Identify People with High Emotional Intelligence?

People with high EI have the best relationship management skills. They can

  • Influence other people as they are emotionally aware of others thought processes
  • Read situations accurately
  • Stay calm and think about the possible solutions even in an extremely stressful situation 
  • Manage difficult situations without damaging others feelings or panicking 
  • Accurately express themselves and their emotions
  • Sure about their priorities 
  • Read facial expressions, silent cues in the conversations, squint into others eyes and not with sympathy but with empathy
  • Smile and quickly find situations when they can truly indulge in side-splitting with other people

Now that you know what is emotional intelligence, why it is essential at the workplace, and how to identify people with high EI, it’s time to master the art of EQ. 

How to Develop Emotional Intelligence Which Helps In Corporate World?

Learning emotional intelligence skills is not easy. But like any skill – mastering the concepts and practising them regularly will surely deliver improvement. It is all about knowing how to improve interpersonal relationships. To ease this crucial learning journey for you, we have made a detailed checklist of relationship-building skills. 

1. Learn the Art of Assertive Communication

When you are learning emotional intelligence, this is one of the most important relationship building skills that you need to master without being aggressive. 

  • Don’t directly hurt the feeling of others
  • Control your tone of saying things
  • Discuss things until you are not satisfied with the answer
  • Focus on nonverbal conversation
  • Practice 3Cs of assertive communication – confidence, clear, controlled
  • Be mindful

Example of assertive communication to a colleague who is insisting on an urgent meeting right now:

“I understand that you want to finish this thing and I need to finish what I’m doing.

So how about meeting in half an hour?”

Enroll for an assertive communication course learn assertive communication skill

2. Learn to Recognize and Handle Negative Emotions

In a workspace, you will meet people who will use harsh words, reject your ideas, and put you in a stressful situation. All these incidents might boost negative thoughts and drain your mental energy. But, you need to learn and recognize the art to control negative energy. To practise the science of emotional intelligence, you can start with:

  • Not reacting immediately
  • Not directly jump on to a conclusion
  • Put yourself in the shoes of others

Take courses like Positive Psychology: Resilience Skills to handle negative emotions

3. Make Empathy a Part of Your Life

Empathy is not only essential at the workplace but also works well in personal life. It is like listening to others without judging and it is also about making decisions by taking others in confidence. It is the best way on how to improve interpersonal relationship skills. You can start with:

  • Giving others a room to put their points
  • Listen carefully 
  • Respect even those people who show the difference of opinion

Consider Taking a Course on Empathy and Emotional Intelligence at Work to learn how to empathize

4. Think Like a Leader

It is observed that most leaders have high EQ and that’s why if you too wish to maximize the power of EQ, it’s time to think like a leader. The following ways can help:

  • Take initiatives
  • Learn and utilize problem-solving skills
  • Follow high standards
  • Command over communication

Courses like Inspiring Leadership through Emotional Intelligence can help you Upgrade as a Leader

5. Learn to Respond Wisely Than Directly Reacting

Reactions are triggered by emotions but an emotionally intelligent person will try to command responses and control reactions to turn things in a constructive direction. Also, people respond consciously and react subconsciously. Thus, the more sure you are about your words at the workplace, the better it will be. Also, it avoids conflicts, stress, and unhealthy workspace. You can start from:

  • Notice how you feel 
  • Take time to answer and if it’s a planned meeting, take time to prepare well
  • Follow empathy and respect other’s view
  • Drink water when you feel excessive pressure
  • Meditate
Learn the art of Conflict Management with Emotional Intelligence

6. Explore Emotional Self-Awareness

It refers to knowing our own feelings and emotions and how they influence us. It is important to recognize how our moods affect our behaviour, what are our abilities and what are our weaknesses. These determine relationship management skills. However, many people are surprised at how little they know about themselves.

For example, this aspect can help us not to make decisions when we are in an unbalanced psychological state. Whether we are too happy and excited, or sad and melancholic, the decisions we make will be mediated by little rationality. Therefore, it is best to wait a few hours, or days, until we return to a relaxed and serene mental state, with which it will be easier to be able to assess the situation and make much more rational decisions.

Develop your Self Awareness with Emotional Intelligence

7. Take Control of Your Emotional Well-being

The emotional self allows us to reflect and control our feelings or emotions, not to get carried away by them blindly. It consists of knowing how to detect emotional dynamics, knowing which ones are ephemeral and which are lasting. It also includes being aware of what aspects of an emotion we can take advantage of. In short, your personal emotional upskilling is necessary.

For example, it is not uncommon for us to get angry with our partner, but if we were slaves to the emotion of the moment, we would continually act irresponsibly or impulsively, and then we would regret it. In a sense, a good part of emotion regulation consists of knowing how to manage our focus of attention, so that it does not turn against us and sabotage us.

It has been observed that the capacity for self-control is closely linked to the ability to use language or we can say Verbal Intelligence. It has been seen that when analyzing the intelligence test scores of many individuals, both psychological constructs greatly overlap.

Learn Managing Emotions in Times of Uncertainty & Stress

8. Motivate Yourself

Self-motivation is also an important aspect of emotional upskilling. It includes efforts taken by us to improve our goals, stay committed to the goals, and take initiatives with optimism and resilience to achieve them.

Focusing emotions on objectives and goals allows us to stay motivated and focus our attention on goals rather than obstacles. In this factor, a certain degree of optimism and initiative is essential, so we have to value being proactive and acting with determination and positively in the face of unforeseen events.

Explore The Power of Motivation – Shape and Control Your Destiny

9. Improve Interpersonal Relationships

A good interpersonal relationship is an essential source for our personal happiness and even, in many cases, for good job performance. To achieve relationship-building skills, you would need to deal with and communicate with not just people with whom you are close or friendly, but also those with whom you personally don’t get good vibes. This type of intelligence is closely related to Verbal Intelligence. This may be because part of the way we experience emotions is mediated by our social relationships, and by our understanding of what others are saying.

Learn The Arts and Science of Relationships: Understanding Human Needs

The Parting Note

Having strong emotional intelligence skills is not only limited to specific people, but people like you, and I can also learn, increase, and master this skill. Also, since EI is among the most sought-after skills, thus, a lot of organizations also conduct emotional intelligence workshops and training sessions which help in getting a good EI/EQ indicator at the workplace. 

Do let us know your experience on how emotional intelligence has helped you and what measures did you take to nail the art of EI.


Can emotional intelligence impact performance at work?

Absolutely. It impacts the overall performance and affects interpersonal communication at work. Employees with higher emotional intelligence are able to manage stress, empathise with coworkers and are able to show good leadership qualities.

How do I improve my emotional intelligence?

There are many ways to do so. Not reacting instantly for your personal emotional triggers, developing your ethics, taking ownership at work, having an optimistic view even if there are many challenges and improving body language will help. The key to improving emotional intelligence is developing self-awareness as well.

About the Author
Syed Aquib Ur Rahman
Assistant Manager

Aquib is a seasoned wordsmith, having penned countless blogs for Indian and international brands. These days, he's all about digital marketing and core management subjects - not to mention his unwavering commitment ... Read Full Bio