Three men in the workplace talking.

August 20, 2021, by indybamra1

Emotional Intelligence

By, Cyrielle Mevel – Employability Education Projects Officer

I am sure you will have already come across the term “emotional intelligence” or EI as it is sometimes referred to. The last few decades have seen an increased interest in emotional intelligence, as it is one of the most sought-after skills as defined by the World Economic Forum and the Institute of Student Employers (ISE). It is constantly being highlighted as a must-have to be successful and happy in the workplace.

So where is this importance coming from? What does emotional intelligence truly mean and what are the career wellbeing benefits of developing and using emotional intelligence?

What is emotional intelligence?

Whilst the term was truly coined in the 1990s and popularised by the psychologist Daniel Goleman, the idea of emotional intelligence, or described then as “social intelligence” or “emotional strength”, has been researched since the 1920s.
Goleman defines it as “how well we handle ourselves and our relationships” (2012), it is the ability to “recognise, understand and manage our own emotions” as well as “recognise, understand and influence the emotions of others” (The Institute for Health and Human Potential). In other words, emotional intelligence affects everything we say and do as we can manage relationships, stress, and respond to change. Emotional intelligence can also be developed with practice.
According to Goleman, emotional intelligence is composed of four skills:

  1. Self-awareness: your ability to recognise and understand your emotions and drives as well as how they affect others.
  2. Self-management: your ability to manage your emotions so they do not get in the way of your development and relationships – you can think before you act!
  3. Social awareness: your ability to be aware of how others may feel, your ability to be empathic.
  4. Relationship management: your ability to build rapport, develop and manage relationships in an effective way.

Why is emotional intelligence a key component of your career wellbeing?

Do you relate to the above and have you ever come across someone who lacks these skills? How did it make you feel? Well, you have half of the answer there!
Success in the workplace is not something you can achieve on your own, it will be a real team effort! Whilst your University journey is a very individual one, in the workplace, you will effectively be working towards the same objectives as the rest of the organisation. In the workplace, using your emotional intelligence will allow you to:

  • Accept feedback and take responsibility
  • Develop your self-awareness, reflect on challenges, and learn from your mistakes
  • Discover your limits and learn to say “no” when needed
  • Compromise and negotiate
  • Develop your empathy.

These will contribute to your overall wellbeing and will create a real sense of purpose and belonging in the workplace.
Emotional intelligence is also a great skill to highlight in the recruitment process whether it is whilst doing a psychometric test, participating in a group activity at an assessment centre, or the interview stage when providing examples of your role within a team as well as how you have overcome challenges. It is also incredibly useful when researching an organisation and understanding its values and culture.

How to develop emotional intelligence and use it in the recruitment process and the workplace

Think about the last time you felt anxious, angry, satisfied, and happy. What did you do that made you feel this way? What did you notice?
Here are a few tips as to how you can develop emotional intelligence:

  • Practice how you feel, take responsibility for your feelings, and share them with others, especially if they are negatively impacting you.
  • Pay attention to how you behave. Keep a record of how your emotions influence your behaviours. This will help you to understand the triggers, and adapt them if it is impacting your wellbeing and the people around you.
  • Question your own opinions: take a step back and see things from a different perspective, get feedback from others!
  • Celebrate your achievements: experience and acknowledge your positive emotions, spread the joy by sharing them with others.
  • Reflect on challenges: how did they make you feel? Why? How can you move forward?

Other useful questions:

  • Reflect on your relationships. Where would emotional intelligence benefit you the most? Which strengths can you draw on in these situations?
  • How can you become more aware of the impact you can have when you express emotions?

How the University can support you

You can book an appointment today with a careers adviser to make the most of your emotional intelligence in the recruitment process or talk to The University Counselling Service if you need further support in making a successful transition into the workplace.

Remember: respect others’ rights to their emotions, think before you act, and self-reflect.

Posted in Applying For JobsCareer wellbeingCareers AdviceChoosing Your Career