You might be surprised to learn that emotional intelligence (EQ) is actually one of the most sought after virtues in potential employees. EQ relates to the way we handle our emotions and interact with others, two components that are crucial for a functioning workplace.

“To Thine Own Self Be True”

This line from Shakespeare’s Hamlet encapsulates the EQ value of self awareness, a foundational component to our interaction with others.

Consider keeping a journal (digital or handwritten) which can provide a safe place to open up about your feelings. Check in with yourself periodically throughout the day, define how you feel, and ask yourself “why”. This activity will increase your emotional vocabulary and help you to develop healthy emotional reactions.

Learn How to Listen

Next time you’re talking with someone, take an opportunity to ask yourself if you’re really listening. Try out holding back from responding to their thoughts and stories with a similar anecdote that happened to you. Think about how they might be feeling, and ask them more questions about what they are saying.

Learn How to Accept Feedback

It’s important to be able to receive feedback in the workplace without feeling like it’s a personal attack.

If you’re in a conversation where you feel yourself getting defensive, stop yourself and ask why. Can you repeat the other person’s viewpoint out loud? Try to view the situation through their eyes only so that you can understand and empathize with what they’re saying.

Breathe and Be Present

Any time you feel yourself getting stressed out, consider stopping everything and just focusing entirely on the sound of your breath.

Deep breathing is biologically calming for the body, and can reduce stress levels and deflate negative emotions. Practice being present for a few minutes every day as well. Push aside the endless thoughts that bombard you about work, bills, and family, and just focus on the colors, sounds, and textures of wherever you are.

Celebrate You and Those around You

Celebrate your successful moments at work. Positive emotions are great for your health, and have amazing ripple effects throughout your day, along with facilitating better interactions with coworkers.

Celebrating the success of those you work with is also a great way to build rapport and increase your own happiness as well. Doing random acts of kindness for the people around you is also a great way of building positivity—buying someone coffee, or writing them a nice note.

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