The dynamics of the workplace is changing fast. Globally, research has shown that emotional intelligence is one of the top 10 most in-demand soft skills. However, soft skills are yet to be incorporated into school curricula.
Various researches have shown that millennials make up over two-thirds of the entire employee base. As a millennial in the workplace, I have observed a lack of emotional intelligence among this subset of the employee population.
Why is Emotional Intelligence Important?
Emotional Intelligence (EI) is not just a psychological jargon; it’s a soft skill everyone who wants to succeed in their career must possess. EI has proven to be one of the must-have skills to thrive in today’s workplace because employers need those who are good team-players.
While some might seem ‘gifted’ with high EI, it still requires taking deliberate measures to be emotionally intelligent. As always, practice makes perfect. You learn to be emotionally intelligent by knowing how best to relate or empathise with those around you.
Research shows that those with high EI have better job satisfaction, higher salaries and better chances of success. While this might be contestable, it is also not far-fetched. I have heard colleagues say to me, “you sure have grace for work relationships”, “I have looked for your trouble on several occasions, but you did not give in.”
Truthfully, I had not always been like this but I have come to a realisation that to go far in my career, I need people. This makes understanding those I work with a priority for me. This doesn’t mean that I don’t get turned off by certain things or attitudes. However, I can stay aware and in control of my emotions.
Here’s how you can too:
Know what triggers you, when to leave a conversation and your strengths and weaknesses. Being self-conscious makes you unaffected by some things because you know where you are headed. As a result, you do not allow some things to bother you. Being self-aware makes you honest with yourself and helps you develop realistic expectations of people.
Learning to be emotionally intelligent is not all so easy. EI requires you to, sometimes, lose your ‘right’ to be angry. Being emotionally intelligent shows in your speech; you express your feelings in such a way that little or no damage is caused to those around you.
Avoid engaging in office gossips
This will help you pay better attention to what you say and avoid unnecessary conflicts. Listening or engaging in gossips makes you have a wrong preconceived notion about your colleagues, and even when their actions are genuine, you second-guess it.
Step in to resolve conflicts
Conflicts are inevitable in the workplace and one of the ways to tap into the strength of your EI is by resolving conflicts. With EI, you become more conscious of how others feel and think. Being able to manage interactions gives you an upper hand to clearly communicate, mediate and handle conflicts. To use emotional intelligence in conflict resolution, be quick to listen, slow to speak and understand each party’s view without being biased.
Finally, a high EI enhances your social life and helps you to get more out of the people (world) around you.