Emotional intelligence in the workplace

As we move closer to another new year, many of us take time to reflect on the year gone by. This year, why not reflect on your own Emotional Intelligence? Don’t know what I’m talking about? Great, read on!

Emotional Intelligence (EI) can be defined as “one’s ability to observe, detect, and categorize one’s own emotions as well as those of others, while using this information to inform one’s decisions, thinking, and behaviour.”

Although the term was first coined in the 1964 by Michael Beldoch, the concept grew hugely in popularity in 1994 after psychologist Daniel Goleman’s paper, ‘Emotional Intelligence: Why it can matter more than IQ” was published. The idea of E.I becoming a determining factor in measuring someone’s success caught people’s attention and has since become important in the field of psychology and beyond.

Goleman went on to develop a framework of 5 characteristics that define what it means to be emotionally intelligent. In this blog, we’ll look at these characteristics and how they can help us in the workplace.


Self-awareness is the ability to understand your emotions and not allow them to take over. If you are self-aware you know how your emotions and actions can affect the people around you. This means you are able to identify your strengths and weaknesses, so you can keep them in check.

Sometimes at work we can be overcome by feelings of frustration and other strong emotions, but if you take a few minutes each day to register your thoughts, even write them down, it can help to improve our self-awareness.

It’s important to slow down at work and take the time to notice how we are feeling so we can react to a situation the best way we know how.


Self-regulation is all about staying in control. Emotionally intelligent people rarely verbally lash out at others, make rash decisions or compromise on their values. It also helps your personal accountability.

It can be easy to play the blame game with your colleagues but if you can hold yourself accountable and face the consequences when something goes wrong, you’ll earn the respect of those around you.


Motivation means working consistently towards your goals. Sometimes it can be easy to lose sight of why you love your career, so it’s important to take some time to remember why you wanted your job in the first place. Reigniting that will and desire to succeed in what you do can help you look at your position in a new way.

Optimism also plays a part here. No matter what problems you face, always know that are ways around it. Emotionally intelligent people know that there are positives in every failure, you’ve just got to look for it.


Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of another person. This is a really important quality to have in the workplace. Of course, everyone can support their own point of view but sometimes the best thing we can do in a situation is listen to others around us and try to see things from their perspective.

People with a high level of emotional intelligence pay attention to not only comments from their peers, but to their body language as well. It’s all about reading the signs and responding in the right way.

Social skills

Having great social skills all comes down to communication. For emotionally intelligent people, they will listen to the good and the bad and learn from it all.

This means they are able manage change, resolve conflicts and find solutions to problems when they are needed. Emotionally intelligent people also know how to praise others when it’s earned. Giving out praise doesn’t come naturally to everyone but once you know how, it’s worth it.

All of these traits can be learned, practised and used in the workplace to improve our working relationships and communication. The better we relate to others, the more successful we can be!

Strong self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy and social skills can only help us to excel in the future!

To find out more ways we can improve our working environment, read our blog about why an open culture leads to success.

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