Emotional intelligence was frequently referred to as EQ or emotional quotient in the 1990s. Over the years, its use has spread to other areas like business, education, and pop culture.

So, that begs the question, what is emotional intelligence or EQ? In layman’s terms, emotional intelligence refers to an individual’s ability to identify, understand, manage, control, and reason with emotions in oneself and others.

According to research, emotional intelligence is vital for interpersonal communication, and its importance in the workplace in today’s competitive world is fully felt. Furthermore, developing emotional intelligence is the key to personal and professional success and will help in decision-making, problem-solving, and communication.

Emotional intelligence is categorized into four levels:

Ø Perceiving emotions

Ø Reasoning with emotions

Ø Understanding emotions

Ø Managing emotions

Intelligence and emotions have traditionally been viewed as opposites. Cognition and affect have become increasingly important to researchers studying emotion psychology in recent decades. The study of cognitive processes and emotions explores how their interactions shape people’s thinking and behavior.

This article will explore why emotional intelligence is vital in the workplace and how one can develop emotionally intelligent behavior.

Importance of emotional intelligence in a professional setting

There is widespread recognition that emotional intelligence improves communications, management, problem-solving, and relationships at work. According to researchers, practice and training can also improve the skill.

Moreover, emotionally intelligent people are more likely to succeed in their professional endeavors. Let’s take a look at some of the pillars of emotional intelligence and determine the importance of these characteristics:

Ø Self-awareness is crucial for one to understand one’s strengths and weaknesses. This trait is even more so important when receiving feedback.

Ø Self-regulation is necessary for one to be able to express themselves; without regulation, one is prone to act out and have emotional outbursts.

Ø Motivation is another important characteristic to possess. However, most emotionally intelligent people rarely need extrinsic motivation because they are proud of their accomplishments.

Ø Empathy, as we know it, is the ability that enables one to understand or perceive the emotions and experiences of others, more so when their perspective differs from theirs. Furthermore, people are more likely to follow the directions of an empathetic leader.

Ø People skills are an essential character trait and vital for making friends, developing trust, and building rapport. Professional skills cannot make up if one lacks basic people skills.

How do you increase your emotional intelligence?

Each individual is born with some level of emotional intelligence. However, it’s essential to understand that it is not an ability that can be measured accurately, and these skills don’t come as naturally to everyone.

You can, however, train yourself and practice daily to improve your emotional intelligence. Follow the critical areas mentioned below to nurture and increase your emotional intelligence levels:

Develop Greater Self-Awareness

First and foremost, to increase your emotional intelligence, you must first build self-awareness. Take your time and try to recognize the emotions you feel and why you feel these emotions.

Observe how certain situations result in specific emotional responses, and this may help you identify your emotional strengths and drawbacks, which you can eventually work on improving.


Once you have learned how to increase your self-awareness, you can learn how to self-regulate or manage your emotions. Managing emotions also includes recognizing the different ways you can express your feelings and the right time to do so without just reacting to situations.

Self-regulating may help you understand how your emotional responses affect others. While working on this, you can also try to find other ways to relieve workplace stress, all while keeping a cool head. You can also take the time to think things through instead of making rash decisions.

Discover and cultivate your intrinsic motivation

It is believed that people with higher emotional intelligence levels can find ways to motivate themselves without seeking extrinsic motivation. You can build intrinsic motivation by focusing on what you love about your job and recognizing the tasks or challenges that you enjoy, regardless of external rewards.

Work on your empathy

You can work on your empathy by imagining yourself in another person’s shoes to be able to understand how they feel. Then, you can analyze the situation and choose your responses with that insight in mind.

Empathy is an important character trait, especially when conflicts arise. Furthermore, increasing your empathy may also help you understand and feel the unspoken dynamics between other individuals.

Work on your Social Skills

One cannot increase their emotional intelligence without having the right social skills. Those with high emotional intelligence can respond appropriately to other people’s emotions if they can recognize their feelings. Listen to others, pay attention to nonverbal communication, and seek solutions when conflict arises to improve your social skills.


A person with high emotional intelligence may be an ideal coworker based on the list above. But merely possessing a skill isn’t enough. Enhancing relationships and improving performance in the workplace requires emotional intelligence.

As well as learning about the psychology of emotion, you can take up some lessons that will enhance your EQ and foster more excellent emotional competencies in the workplace, thus improving your career success and work performance.

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