By: A student at the University of Nebraska at Omaha, as part of Heather Nelson’s Service Learning class.
Sitting at #4 on Forbes’ “Top 15 Skills Employers Seek in 2022” list is emotional intelligence. What is emotional intelligence and why has it become such a hot topic as of recently? Emotional intelligence can be thought of as an umbrella term which encompasses empathy, social awareness, and self-awareness. By acquiring this soft skill, your interpersonal relationships in the workplace and at home will begin to take off in a new, more positive, direction.
Having self-awareness means to be in control of your emotions. This does not mean to be an emotional person, but to understand and rationalize the feelings that you have. To be self-aware is to be in control. If you find yourself overwhelmed with emotion, ask yourself, what am I feeling? Why am I feeling this way? What can I do about this feeling? Being honest with yourself and your emotions can help improve work relationships between your peers, customers, and even your boss.
An easy way to remember how to empathize properly is to put yourself in someone else’s shoes. This may mean taking a breath and trying to understand how another person may feel given their scenario. By doing so, this replaces self-seeded thoughts with considerable, selfless thoughts which can improve your relationship with the other person. At some point in your career, you will have to deal with a customer. In order to provide excellent customer service, you need to show empathy towards the customer. If you find yourself in a leadership position, it will be required of you to empathize with your subordinates. Empathetic opportunities are sewn throughout the workplace environment and each opportunity you take is another step towards attaining emotional intelligence.
Social awareness is similar to self-awareness but involves being mindful of other people’s emotions instead of your own. Empathy and social awareness go hand-in-hand. Being aware of other people’s emotions means paying attention to the verbal and nonverbal cues of the other person. One key characteristic of social awareness is listening. Improve your listening skills by actively paying attention to the person speaking, ask follow up questions, and try to digest what the other person has to say. At times we have the tendency to want to speak over another person and announce our opinions, but it is important to be completely engaged in whoever is speaking.
Decisions are made every day within an organization. Often times people have opinions and could be biased when making these decisions, but someone who has emotional intelligence will be able to make a rational choice. Emotional intelligence is identified as a soft skill but through training and practice, it can still be mastered just as a hard skill could. Three sectors of emotional intelligence are self-awareness, empathy, and social awareness. Building emotional intelligence takes time and effort, but it can and will improve your communication skills. This allows for more efficient communication in the workplace which leads to higher profits, a positive environment, and common goals across the business. Communicating with emotional intelligence will give you a one-up in the workplace and in life.
Cherry, K. (2020, May 25). Utilizing emotional intelligence in the workplace. Verywell mind. https://www.verywellmind.com/utilizing-emotional-intelligence-in-the-workplace-4164713.
Aureus. (2017, July 19). Understanding the four attributes of emotional intelligence. https://www.aureusgroup.com/blog/understanding-the-four-attributes-of-emotional-intelligence-part-3-social-awareness/#:~:text=As%20defined%20by%20Travis%20Bradberry,an%20effort%20to%20respond%20appropriately.
Moore, R. (2021, November 30). Say it with more emotional intelligence: Five communication tips for leaders. Forbes. https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbescoachescouncil/2021/11/30/say-it-with-more-emotional-intelligence-five-communication-tips-for-leaders/?sh=243f2c372733
About Omaha Skills Connection:
Omaha Skills Connection is a 501c3 non-profit organization located in Omaha, Nebraska established as a result of the post pandemic era to help bridge the skills gap between education, technology and today’s workforce. Omaha needs an educated, flexible and dynamic workforce in today’s knowledge-based economy. OSC connects talent to opportunity, modernizing employee development for today’s workforce.