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According to Psychology Today, “Emotional intelligence refers to the ability to identify and manage one’s own emotions, as well as the emotions of others.” Essentially, it’s learning to be self-aware and at the same time, aware of others around you.
On any given day your job can make you feel a wide range of emotions. From the disappointment of a lost client to the excitement of an unexpected bonus, nobody leaves their feelings at home when they go to work. (Even if you try!) Emotional intelligence is an important job skill to have just like all of the other knowledge you have gained through education and experience.
Learning to master emotional intelligence will help you get ahead in all aspects of life. Check out these 5 great benefits of increasing your emotional intelligence at work (you can use them in your personal life, too).
1. Self-Awareness: Respond appropriately to stressful situations
It’s easy to spot the emotional signs in other people: the colleague who always frowns when receiving feedback or the client who increases his follow-up questions as he anxiously awaits the finished product. It can be harder to spot those cues in ourselves. If you are not aware of your own emotional tendencies it can make it hard to respond appropriately in stressful situations. Think back to your last stressful situation and ask yourself the following:
- What emotions did I feel?
- What body language did I use?
- What tone did I use when speaking?
- Did I escalate or decrease the stress by my reactions?
- How could I have responded differently?
Tip: Think about how you want others to remember you. After you leave the room, do you want them to think of you as a hot head who flies off the handle? Or would you prefer they think of you as someone who listens, has an open mind, and works well with others?
2. Self-Regulation: Manage your emotions
Feelings do not give you a free pass to say anything you want. It’s up to you to manage your emotions in a healthy way. Do not send an email or leave an angry voicemail while your emotions are still at their peak. Wait until you can think clearly about the situation and the concerns you would like to address. Ignoring or stuffing your emotions are not a healthy option either, as they will only lead to you exploding in frustration down the road. Sit tight until you can respectfully communicate your thoughts, keeping in mind that you don’t want to overreact, and you want to think through the other person’s point of view first.
Tip: Count to 5 before you respond. This gives your brain and mouth time to overcome your emotions. You’ll be giving yourself a few more seconds to think through the situation, see things from other points of view, and form a professional response.
3. Social Skills: Communicate more effectively
Poor communication can lead to misunderstandings and damaged relationships. Nobody likes to feel out of the loop. This doesn’t mean you need to share all of your personal information with people but being thoughtful to questions and concerns can go a long way in building trust and camaraderie. Remember though that not everyone communicates best in the same way. Be willing to use different forms of communication (texting, emails, face-to-face) even if they are not your preferred method. Learning how others prefer to be communicated with will give you a head start in building relationship and connections.
Tip: Stay observant. As you interact with others pay attention to how they communicate with you. This will give you insight as to how they prefer to be communicated with.
4. Empathy: Limit confusion and hurt feelings
If you are taking an active role in improving your communication skills, you’re going to see less confusion and fewer hurt feelings in your work relationships. The key is to have more empathy. By mentally placing yourself in their situation it will help you to understand the emotions they’re experiencing in that moment. Acknowledging another person’s feelings (even if yours are different) can help to strengthen relationships during stressful times.
Tip: Be mindful and stay in the moment. This can be hard to do with so many distractions and your own thoughts running through your head, but it’s imperative that you give the other person your full attention during the conversation. This will ensure you pick up all cues … verbal, facial, body language, and emotional.
5. Motivation: Put your emotions to work
While emotions make for bad coaches, they can be great cheerleaders! Instead of letting your emotions keep you stuck, use them as a motivator to improve and keep trying. Take confidence in your ability to be self-aware and self-regulatory of your emotions. You are in charge, not your emotions!
Tip: Name your inner voice. An easy way to start to separate your actions and responses from your emotions is to name your inner voice. Let’s say you name your inner voice “Bernard”. If you’re feeling angry about an email someone sent, say to yourself “Bernard wants me to be angry about this. Let’s see if he’s right.” And really think through the situation. Maybe “Bernard” needs to take a walk and get some fresh air. If that’s the case, get up and take a break.
Put Your Skills to Work
As you level up with skills like emotional intelligence, you might find yourself ready for a new challenge. If that’s the case, start your job search today with Westphal Staffing! For a personalized consultation, contact us today to speak with a recruitment specialist. We’ll talk about your skill sets, what you’re looking for, and any opportunities that might be a good fit for you. We want to help you find a job YOU want – a job that clicks™!