5 Essential Emotional Intelligence Skills Every Worker Should Have


In the greater conversation about the most in-demand job skills of tomorrow’s workplaces, emotional intelligence (EQ) is having a definite Renaissance moment.




Unlike its more quantifiable counterpart (IQ), though, EQ is more subtle yet also more impactful on a personal and organisational level.

Without question, we feel the effects of EQ every single day at work, but it can be difficult to tease apart its different components. So to help you out, here are 6 indispensable EQ skills you need at work.

Ace your EQ application skills and sign up for SSA Academy’s WSQ course on applying emotional competence at the workplace!


1. Self-regulation


According to psychologist Daniel Goleman, author of the landmark bestseller “Emotional Intelligence”, self-regulation is what differentiates those who are enslaved to their impulses and those who are able to control and harness their emotions productively.




Let’s say, for example, that one of your teammates has made a mistake that’s resulted in you having to do double work, which understandably upsets you. If you lash out, though, you risk creating a rift in the team that’s counter-productive to effective collaboration.

On the other hand, if you can resist and kill that impulse to lash out, you’ll be better able to communicate your dissatisfaction, explaining your position, why you feel that way, and how your teammate can be sure to avoid making the same mistake twice.




If you’re hoping to be put into a leadership position at work in the future, listen up: self-regulation is one of the most crucial indicators of effective leadership.

Here’s why: moods are highly contagious. Negative emotions can put a huge dampener on the working environment, especially if you’re a leader since your moods and behaviours are constantly being observed and modelled after by the people around you.


2. Empathy


Whether you’re resolving team conflicts, analysing prospective solutions for a recurring problem in the office, or networking with contacts in other departments and companies, the ability to comfortably switch between multiple points of view can be a huge game-changer at work.




People can smell a rat from a mile away. Brown-nosers whose only priority is to “collect” relationships like they collect business cards are easy to sniff out because they lack the empathy to be truly genuine in personal relationships in the office.






This is especially important if your workplace is highly diverse, multiculturally and cognitively.

With such an abundance of different perspectives, experiences and modes of thinking sharing the same office space, those who display empathy are the ones who most likely to shine since they’re able to build strong intrapersonal connections with practically everyone.






Times are always a-changing, and if you’re not constantly innovating, you’ll be obsolete soon enough. Most companies greatly prize innovation and resourcefulness in their employees. Empathy is crucial in being able to get a solid grasp of the nature and roots of the problem that you’re trying to solve through innovation.

As Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella put it, “There was no way we could innovate without having a deeper sense of empathy.”





3. Listening


How many times have you felt insanely annoyed with someone who kept interrupting you while you were trying to get your point across?

Poor listening skills don’t only result in you missing out valuable information during meetings (or even during a water-cooler conversation). They also send the message that you don’t respect and value the person you’re with enough to give them your full, undivided attention.




In fact, according to Sir Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Group, the best listeners don’t only hear what’s being said: they hear what’s not being said as well.


4. Stress management


Few of us have the luxury of leading completely stress-free lives. Needless to say, workplace stress is a huge cause of concern for both employees and employers.

Higher stress levels lower both the quality and quantity of your work. Left untreated, it can develop into job burnout, which especially hurts your position in the office.




Developing greater EQ provides a massive protective effect against the negative effects of workplace stress. The key is to practice constant self-awareness–being able to keep yourself in check at all times.

Everyone reacts to stress differently, but you know yourself best. What causes your stress levels to skyrocket? Is it possible to avoid these factors? What are your favourite methods of de-stressing? Do you consciously make an effort to engage in these de-stressing methods regularly enough throughout the working week?




5. Motivation


What makes you tick?

Just as stress affects different people differently, motivation requires a personalised and tailored approach, whether you’re attempting to motivate yourself or your co-workers.

Research has shown, for instance, that some people who don’t particularly like their jobs, find a great source of motivation in knowing that coming to work is helping to provide a better quality of life for their families and loved ones.




On the flip side, there are others who need a sense of meaning in knowing that their work is directly contributing to the greater good in order to feel motivated to come to work every day.

Knowing what motivates each person, including yourself, comes down to having a keen sense of self-awareness and empathy for others.




Trying to avoid failure in your professional life is like trying to outrun a tornado: you simply can’t.

When you do get swept up in it, though, you’ll eventually get to the eye of the storm, where you have enough calmness to be able to separate your failures from your self-worth and turn it into a learning opportunity for yourself.




If you keep feeding your own negative emotions, though, it’s you who are failing yourself. Developing good emotional self-management is what will tide you over the difficult times that will inevitably come your way in the future.




Ace your EQ application skills and sign up for SSA Academy’s WSQ course on applying emotional competence at the workplace!


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