Strategies for Improving Your Emotional Intelligence

🕑 3 minutes read | Dec 08 2022 | By Craig Gerdes, TTA Learning Consultant

Handling stress or conflict in the workplace can be a great challenge for many people. Learning to manage your emotions effectively is crucial for healthy workplace collaboration, relationships, and growth. The good news is that all of us can learn new skills for emotional intelligence and become better at doing the things listed above. Through practice and reflection, we can train ourselves to do better and create permanent physical changes in the brain. Effective Emotional Intelligence (EI) skills provide a firm foundation for the successful application of other critical workplace skills including:

  • Teamwork
  • Negotiation
  • Coaching and Feedback
  • Decision Making/Problem Solving
  • Motivation
  • Communication
  • Conflict Resolution/Crucial Conversations

Emotional intelligence is often an important predictor of job success and leadership potential.

Strategies for Strengthening Your Emotional Intelligence

Identify Emotions
This involves self-awareness which is the ability to accurately perceive your emotions and stay aware of them as they happen.

Reflective Questions

  • How do I recognize emotions?
  • Where do I hold emotions in my body?
  • How do I know for sure that what I believe is true?

Skills and Concepts

  • Be empathetic: Pick up on emotional and social cues to react appropriately. Work to understand others, read body language, and use other non-verbal communication.
  • Self-honesty: Accept your own qualities and faults and recognize your own patterns of behavior that help and hinder situations.
  • Recognize that emotions can get in the way of accurately accessing emotions in others.

Understand and Manage
This is using your emotional awareness to stay flexible and direct your behavior in positive ways.

Reflective Questions

  • Will my response help or hinder the situation?
  • Can I increase my awareness of my actions so that I see their effects?
  • Am I hearing the unspoken messages?

Skills and Concepts

  • Reason and motivation: Weigh your decisions and behavior by identifying and prioritizing what is important.
  • Manage feelings: Use simple techniques, like a pause for reflection; to act, or to not react.
  • Choose to affirm the positive: Accept that you have a choice, that you can make a difference, and that you are an important part of the community.
  • Develop social behaviors: Respond to people’s needs, build conflict resolution skills, and accept feedback.
  • Interdependence: Recognize your place in the larger community; your awareness and decision-making consider the short-term and long-term consequences of your actions as well as the context/culture.

Use and Communicate

This is the ability to use awareness of your emotions (and other people’s emotions as well) to manage interactions successfully and build positive relationships with others.

Reflective Questions

  • What is this emotion telling me?
  • Do I know how to use emotional language to help to understand?
  • Am I healing or hurting?
  • What will my emotional reaction have on others?
  • Will this emotion help me reach my goal?

Skills and Concepts

  • Apply consequential thinking: Evaluate cause and effect and anticipate outcomes.
  • Empathy: Use your compassionate awareness to guide your choices.
  • People will remember the emotion of the situation long after they have forgotten the words and deeds.
  • Express emotions appropriately.
  • Practice integrity: Hold yourself to high standards and do what is right – even when it seems hopeless.

Emotional Intelligence is one of the most important skills employers are looking for in new hires and is a key indicator in promotions. Research has shown that employees with high emotional intelligence do better in:

  • Handling conflict effectively
  • Dealing effectively with change
  • Communicating clearly and effectively
  • Taking accountability for their mistakes
  • The quality of their relationships with their coworkers
  • The quality of their decision making
  • Their ability to prevent setbacks from hindering their performance

Reflection/Action Plan

On a scale of 1-10 (where 1 is poor and 10 is excellent), how would you rate your ability to identify, understand and manage, use and communicate your emotions? What can you do differently to become more effective?

Recommended Reading

Daniel Goleman Emotional Intellignece
New “Intro to EQ” Online Emotional Intelligence Training Course


About the Author

Craig Gerdes is an innovative education and training professional with extensive experience in a variety of leadership roles and in various settings all aimed at helping adult students succeed. You can connect with him on LinkedIn.

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