6 ways to boost your EQ and get that promotion
There's a proven link between high performance at work and an employee's emotional intelligence. In fact, some 90% of high performers have a high EQ, according to TalentSmart, one of the world's leading provider of emotional intelligence tests.
If you're going for a promotion, here are six ways to develop your EQ and how it can help.1. Respond rather than react
Emotionally intelligent managers are self-aware – they understand their own behaviour in the workplace and are highly attuned to the feelings of others. Because of this, they are calm, in control, and know how to respond to different situations.
Your ability to understand your own emotions and recognise their impact on your work performance and relationships is key when managing others.
'Being able to manage your emotions at work is important if you are to be seen as ready for the next level,' says Sarah Archer, career coach and co-founder of CareerTree.
Namely, your boss will want to see that you can respond rather than react.
Sarah explains: 'Responding means making a conscious decision about how you are going to act as a result of the feelings you are experiencing and choosing the appropriate behaviour.
'For instance, if you're stressed and trying to meet a deadline and a colleague approaches you with a question, instead of snapping at them, take a deep breath and explain your situation and arrange to meet them later in the day to discuss their issue.'2. Schedule a daily "emotional check-in"
If you're someone whose emotions run close to the surface, it can be hard to respond rather than react. Sarah suggests setting aside some time each day for an "emotional check in"
'Spend a few minutes observing how you are feeling and where physically you are holding the emotion. Practise this on a regular basis and it will become second nature.
'Once you understand and recognise your own emotional triggers and response to situations you will be better equipped to manage your feelings appropriately.'
3. Develop a sense of empathy
Emotionally intelligent managers know what makes people tick and what to do and say to make someone feel better, and how to inspire and motivate a team.
'Being able to sense other people's emotions and understand their perspective develops respect and trust, both critical qualities when being considered for promotion,' says Sarah.
To develop empathy, try practicing curiosity.
'Get to know your colleagues better. When someone suggests an idea explore it more than you would normally to understand their viewpoint,' advises Sarah.
'Check in with individuals about how they're feeling, try to gauge others' moods, notice body language and practice active listening to understand where they're coming from.'
4. Use active listening skills
Knowing how to listen is a much underrated ability, and important for any aspiring leader.
'By becoming a better listener, you will improve your ability to influence, persuade and negotiate - not to mention avoiding conflict and misunderstandings in the workplace,' says Corinne Mills of Personal Career Management and author of Career Coach.
Active listening involves making a conscious effort to hear the message the person is conveying, as well as the words they are using.
'Most of us don't pay full attention when others are speaking – because we're distracted by the things around us or forming counter arguments in our heads,' says Corinne. 'To actively listen, you need to give the person your full and undivided attention.'
You can indicate that you are listening by nodding your head, or saying "uh huh", and can show interest by asking the occasional question or paraphrasing what they have just said. For example, you might say: "What I'm hearing is…" and "It sounds like you are saying..."
Wait until the person has finished speaking and be sure that you understand their perspective before you reply.
'When you give people chance to express what they want to say, they're more likely to be truthful and less likely to fob you off with what they think you want to hear,' adds Corinne.
5. Learn how to mediate in conflict situations
Can you keep calm even where others are losing their head? The more senior you are, the more adept you need to be in managing conflicting interests.
'Improving your emotional intelligence will help you to focus on the issues at hand and how they may be resolved, while also demonstrating that you understand how strongly people feel about the situation,' says Corinne.
'Develop your coaching and mentoring skills by doing a course or undertaking some voluntary work. This will help you get the most out of your staff and turn them into high-performing teams.'
6. Use body language to build rapport
Mastering body language can make a surprising difference to your interactions at work.
'You can build rapport with individuals by mirroring their body language and the pace of their spoken delivery,' says Corinne.
'For instance, leaning back in your chair if they do, slowing down your speech in line with their speech and breathing patterns. This is great for all kinds of business relationships, from bonding with your boss, to dealing with tricky customers.'
When you're speaking to senior managers about your promotion prospects, notice their body language.'It will give clues as to how much an individual genuinely believes what they are saying and how they feel about other people in the room, including you,' says Corinne. 'You need to identify who your genuine allies and supporters are – and who you still need to persuade – if you want to get ahead in your organisation.'