Guide to Emotional Intelligence At Work



Psychologist Daniel Goleman, author of the groundbreaking book Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ, outlined a number of personality and behavioral traits he uses to evaluate emotional intelligence:

  • Self Awareness involves the ability to recognize your own emotions, choices, and actions, as well as their potential effects on others. People with a high degree of self-awareness have a solid understanding of their own emotions, strengths, weaknesses, and drivers. They’re honest with themselves and others and know their values and goals. They’re confident but aware of their limitations, and are willing to speak about themselves in a frank, non-defensive manner.
  • Self-regulation refers to the ability to process and express emotions constructively, adapt to changes flexibly, and manage conflict effectively. People who are good at self-regulation are able to manage their emotions so that they don’t control their words and actions. While they feel bad moods and impulses as much as anyone, they don’t rush to action. They tend to be reflective, thoughtful, and comfortable with ambiguity, uncertainty, and change.
  • Social Skills mean you’re an active listener and a strong communicator who can form high-trust relationships. People with social skills are excellent team players who can move an agenda along and keep focus while also remaining aware of the emotional climate of the group and responding as needed. They’re excellent at making connections, networking, and bringing people together to work on projects.
  • Empathy allows you to interpret other people’s emotions and respond in a compassionate and validating way. Having empathy doesn’t mean you’re unwilling or unable to make tough decisions for fear of hurting someone’s feelings. It simply means you’re aware of those feelings and take into consideration the impact of your words and actions. Empathetic people are willing to share their own worries and concerns and openly acknowledge others’ emotions.
  • Motivation refers to the drive to pursue your goals, seek out learning experiences, and continue to evolve as a person.

Review and reflect.

Think back on your interactions periodically with emotional intelligence in mind. Consider what went well and what could have gone better. Remember that any progress is a win and will keep you moving in the right direction.