How to Increase Emotional Intelligence At Work?

Increase Your Self Awareness

Emotional Intelligence

Human resources are considered to be the human capital of an organization. Every person who works with you is sure to possess some emotions. Intelligent use of these emotions ensures personal and organizational growth while keeping the work atmosphere congenial. This intelligent use of emotions is termed as Emotional Intelligence.

How to manage your emotions at work?
How to motivate yourself at work?

Advantages of high emotional intelligence:

The high emotional intelligence can help you in dealing effectively with

- a tough boss,
- a difficult client,
- a problematic peer,
- a diverse team,
- in closing a difficult project deal etc.

Disadvantages of low emotional intelligence:

Inability to manage and communicate these emotions effectively can cause a lot of problems, like:

• Low morale of the work force
• Unresolved conflicts which keep recurring
• Low productivity
• Uncongenial work environment

Emotional Intelligence is a quality which can be developed and nurtured over the time. It is not something that is inborn.

High Self Awareness – The key to high Emotional Intelligence.

Emotional Intelligence is directly proportional to your self awareness. – i.e. your awareness about your own emotions and feelings & ability to use them effectively. Self awareness is often termed as the foundation on which emotional intelligence is based.

What are the advantages of possessing a high self awareness?

While at work, you come across different types of situations. If you are able to identify your own feelings and behaviour in those situations, you can control their outcome to a large extent. It is all the more important to carefully handle the situations causing anger and anxiety, as an eruption of emotions and poor communication in them can be disastrous.

Your ability to sense and identify your own feelings helps your behave, respond and act effectively in each situation. As soon as you deviate from your goal and path, your inner self immediate sends you an alert & gets you back on the track.

A high self awareness helps you not only in identifying your goals but also in effectively meeting them.
It also increases your sociability and ability to understand the effect of your behaviour on others & hence behaving in a more responsible way.

However, if you possess low self awareness, you find yourself to be less prepared as you are not able to understand or anticipate your behaviour & ways to deal with it.

How do you increase your self awareness?

Increasing your self awareness is not a difficult task to accomplish. However, it does need you to observe, examine and accept your own behaviour. You need to examine how you behave in certain situations or with particular people.

Following are some of the things which you need to practice to increase your self awareness at work:
1. Observe how you appraise situations, events and people.
2. Recognise what your senses tell you.
3. Identify your feelings
4. Identify your intentions and
5. Pay attention to your actions.

Observe how you appraise situations, events and people

Your negative appraisal of self, others or situations is usually your holding block. However, if you observe your appraisal pattern carefully you can easily turn around your thoughts and handle the situation more effectively.

For e.g. If you are going to present a new plan of action to your senior management, you might have a feeling that I won’t be able to effectively present my ideas and convince the management to take this course of action. This will make you come across as a nervous guy with lack of preparation. However, if you are able to identify how your appraisal of self might work against you, you can immediately alter your way of thinking. You can tell yourself, I have a brilliant plan which must work…..I possess all the required facts and figures to convince the management …. I am sure they will definitely agree to this. Why am I scared? This will immediately re-assure yourself and make you feel relaxed and confident, making your presentation more effective.

So, we see that positive appraisals deliver positive results.

It will be helpful to examine your appraisals. Here are some tips to do it:

i. Talk to yourself
Indulge in a self talk about various situations and observe them. You might observe a pattern worth maintaining or questioning. For e.g. you may see that you often talk positively about self, people, events or situations. This is a pattern worth maintaining. However, you might also observe talking negatively or doubtfully about them. If it is not a habit, it may be good. However, if you see it to be a pattern of your talks, it is something worth inspecting and acting on.

ii. Think about a distressful situation when you are quite

Thinking about a distressful situation when you are calm often gives you the right answers. You may even notice that the situation or the person was not as bad as you perceived them to be and behaved. Many a times, you can even find a reason for your behaviour during this introspection.

iii. Ask for other people’s views

Ask for the views of your colleagues about a particular discussion or project. You may see that your views were prejudiced and others have a different point of view. This can help you in recognizing your appraisals and reasons behind them better.

Now, that you have identified how you appraise, is there a way to make more practical, accurate and relevant appraisals? Is there a way to make positive appraisals? The answer is obviously, YES!

3 tips to make relevant and accurate appraisals

i. Understand that it is your thoughts which make you feel happy or disappointed. So, think what makes you positive.

No one in this world has the power to make you feel good or bad. For this you need to recognize that it is your appraisal of the situation which makes you feel good or bad about it rather than other people’s appreciation or remarks. So, make appraisals which you think are apt for the situation rather than waiting for others to comment on them for you.

ii. Understand that different people can have different appraisals – so your appraisal about a situation belongs to you not your colleague or anyone else.

iii. Acknowledge that your appraisals can change with extra information and time and there’s nothing wrong in it.

2. Recognize what your senses tell you.

Now, that you have learnt the power of appraisal and the tips to make them more accurate and positive, what is the next things that can increase your self awareness? – The next biggest thing is your own senses.

Your senses possess a tremendous power to tell you precisely what is going on? Or what needs to be done? You just need to recognize them well.

Try to recognize what your senses tell you in each situation – for e.g. in a meeting room – do you sense boredom or confusion in people? Or do you sense that the people need more information? This information that your senses have delivered you, allows you to provide more details or deal the situation in a more effective manner.

3. Identify your feelings and find solutions

Denying or being unable to recognize your feelings makes you loose an opportunity to find solutions to various problems you may encounter at work or manage situations in a better way. To identify your feelings, you must acknowledge that your feelings are your first hand emotional response of the situation and your expectations.

For e.g. If you feel happy when your get a letter informing you about your salary hike, it tells you that it is as per your expectations.

However, if you are frustrated with the way your project is progressing and that your boss is unhappy, it might tell you that you are not focussed on the project or you need some training to improve your performance (which you need to communicate to your boss).

However, until and unless you identify these feelings of happiness or frustration, you can’t celebrate them or find a solution to them.

4. Recognise what you really want from each situation.

A better understanding of your desires helps you strategise accordingly and plan your actions better. Many a times it is difficult for us to identify our true desires from the one which actually appear on the surface.

However, our true understanding of our desires helps us feel less furious, sorry for ourselves or victimised. It also helps us in performing the task with more energy and vigour. For e.g. if you agree to work till midnight every day, you may sit in the office till your boss leaves. However, the real agenda here may be that you want yourself to be considered as a hard worker and up for the next promotion.

Whenever you are confused between your real agenda and the one which seems to surface superficially on top, ask yourself these questions:

1. Why did I behave the way I behaved? – You behave spontaneously in a certain way because you want to. For e.g. If you do not say “No” to your colleagues for anything, you want to be perceived as “good” or “the one who knows all”.
2. What did I feel when that happened? – Did you feel contented, resentful, agitated in a particular situation? If your true feeling is that of agitation or frustration after performing a task, it means your actual desire was something else.
3. Give yourself honest answers – Your motive may be anything but being honest with yourself helps you feel relieved and relaxed.

5. Understand your actions

Although you can easily recognise your broad actions, the smaller ones usually go unnoticed. However, these smaller actions may actually have a larger impact & if we are able to recognise them we may really want to alter them.

These may include your physical actions like smiling, winking eyes, shaking legs, nodding, being unconcerned about the queue behind you etc.

Understanding your own actions gives you the power to modify them based on:
- General perception about them
- The impact they have on you and
- The harm they may cause you

Practising all the 5 things above will ensure that your self awareness anytime is at a high level and you make informed decisions and take informed actions.   

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