How to Increase Your Emotional Intelligence at Work

Counterproductive emotions can affect decision-making, performance, and profitability in an organisation.

Emotional Intelligence at work means being able to build powerful and trusting relationships with colleagues whilst enjoying greater confidence and security.

How to Increase Your Emotional Intelligence at Work
How to Increase Your Emotional Intelligence at Work
Using ‘Emotional Intelligence at work’ to Understand Ourselves

Before we can work better with others, Emotional Intelligence requires us to look within and understand ourselves through the effective use of Intrapersonal skills:

  1. Self-awareness: being conscious of how we react to different situations
  2. Self-management: anticipating and preparing for difficult situations before they happen, and exercising a balance between controlling our emotions and allowing them to flow when we are challenged
  3. Motivation: improving and moving towards our goals despite the challenges that confront us
Using Emotional Intelligence to Handle Our Relationships with Others

Once we understand and can manage ourselves better we are in a good place to remove the barriers that prevent us from working effectively with others. We can do through the use of Interpersonal skills:


Observing people, identifying the emotions they display and putting ourselves in their shoes to better understand their perspectives

Social Skills:

Any skills that help you to strengthen the relationships with the people you work with including:

  • asking questions to learn about others
  • active listening such as paraphrasing to clarify information and others the satisfaction of being heard
  • non-verbal and para-verbal skills such as leaning forward or using more eye-contact to connect, demonstrate interest and build trust with others

In almost every situation in the workplace, when we are trying to get others to collaborate, their core concerns may be in play, such as feeling valued, empowered or receiving the recognition they deserve. Addressing these concerns serves to motivate others and ultimately leads to a greater sense of trust.

10 Questions to Get You Started

A quick and effective way to improve Emotional Intelligence is to keep a journal to reflect and analyse your experiences at work.

If something happens that triggers an emotional reaction in you or the other person, write down your answers to the following questions:
  1. What happened?
  2. What do I think about what happened / What story am I telling myself about what happened?
  3. How do I feel about what happened?
  4. How are my thoughts or interpretations affecting the way I feel?
  5. Is there another way of thinking about what happened that could lead to a more desirable emotional response? For example, if viewed from a different perspective, the belief that “he criticized my ideas because he doesn’t respect me” might be that “he criticized my proposal because he wants to help me improve my idea”
  6. How did the other person feel?
  7. Why did the other person feel that way?
  8. What did I do to manage the situation?
  9. What was the result?
  10. What could I have done better?
Emotional Intelligence takes time to develop. By answering the questions above when faced with challenges at work, and with a little time and effort, you’ll be well on your way.