8 Examples of Emotional Intelligence in the Modern Workplace

Logical and emotional sides of the brain
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What is your emotional intelligence level? That is a key question to ask in offices around the world.

Emotional intelligence, or EQ, is the ability to be aware of, control and articulate your emotions and to handle interpersonal relationships compassionately and sensibly. While this might seem important in couples therapy, it has quickly become integral in the human resources department in every workforce.

Today, everyone is learning to be an effective manager or a model employee. How? You need to practice empathy for your colleagues – otherwise, you will never be a cohesive unit or profitable enterprise.

Indeed, in this global economy, EQ is critical to competing on the world stage, whether you are opening offices in an Asian market, or you have found an incredible employment opportunity in South America. EQ has never been more essential than it is today, primarily because humans are a complex species, not monolithic machines that are in work mode from 9am to 5pm.

In the end, you may already have an entire workforce of emotionally intelligent individuals, from upper management to entry-level. If so, this is a boon for the organisation. If not, then it is time to institute EQ training or try to find job candidates who have a strong work acumen and an impressive EQ. To determine this, consider the various real-life, familiar and ordinary examples of EQ at the office.

Let’s explore the many examples of emotional intelligence in the workplace.

Here are eight of them.

1. Listening to Frustrated Employees

When an employee becomes frustrated, perturbed or upset, there are two ways that superiors might handle the situation: tell the individual to snap out of it or lend a compassionate ear to the person.

It is safe to say that the workforce dismisses emotion, conveying the message that feelings of sadness or anger should be left out of the office. Sometimes, when a particular situation arises, it can be extremely difficult to check emotion at the door. We are only human.

So, if someone is unhappy and they express their displeasure, do you listen and help? Or do you ignore it and pretend nothing is going on? The answer will depend on your EQ.

2. Participating in Meetings

Yes, the dreaded meetings. The time to think about what you are going to eat for dinner, listen to tired tropes (‘paradigm shift’, ‘push the envelope’ and ‘run it up the flagpole’) and, most important of all, waste time. We have all been there and done that.

But then you could have a more exciting, engaging and productive meeting. Is this just a pipe dream?


So, how do you have high rates of participation in meetings? The answer is simple: EQ.

A good sign of EQ at the office is whenever everyone is listening to each other in meetings, praising one another for ideas and refraining from interruptions – if they do, they apologise. No one is talking the louder, no one is trying to have the last word, and no one is shutting down proposals.

3. Adapting to the Demands of Workers

Although Silicon Valley would love it if it were the case, the everyday workforce is not a monolithic, hive-like mind. Everyone is different with varying needs and unique demands. A high EQ business will often be flexible and adapt to these changing times, whether it is introducing flex time or allowing some days to work from home.

Leaders with high EQs know that restricting how, when and where an employee works will send talent right out the door and increase the turnover rate. Remember: as long as the work gets done, it doesn’t matter if your team is being productive inside of a cubicle or in their pyjamas on their living room sofa.

4. Expressing Views Openly and Honestly

Let’s be candid: most employees are not confident enough to express their views and opinions openly and honestly. If your boss were to ask you your thoughts on his managing skills and the way the company is headed, you would likely respond: ‘You’re the greatest manager, Your Highness. The business is headed in the right direction.’ Meanwhile, he never works, fires everyone and the business is on the verge of insolvency.

But high EQ leaders will never punish staff members who decide to be open and honest about their views on the way the private enterprise is being run or the direction it is heading.

In fact, you have an open-door policy. It is so open that you don’t even have a door.

5. Maintaining Stress-Relief Activities

Studies show that we are more stressed out than ever before. The demands of work, the pressures of home, and the performance of the Boston Red Sox in the 2019 season are call causing an enormous amount of stress. Yes, the trials and tribulations of your personal life should not interfere with your work, but when the office becomes too much to bear, you can easily break down.

This is where EQ and IQ can co-exist. The first is to be compassionate about someone’s dire situation. The second is to come up with a solution to relieve this stress, which can consist of sponsoring meditation events, encouraging personnel to go for walks, posting positive messages around the office and brightening up the interior décor.

6. Requesting Feedback from Everyone

The bane of our professional existence is the quarterly or annual review. The suspenseful music plays, your heart beats 1,000 times a minute (or was that from your eighth cup of coffee of the day?), and the sweat drips when you’re asked to go into the manager’s office and chat about your performance.

Is it daunting? Or is it an opportunity to improve yourself?

How you assess this typical situation says a lot about your EQ. For some, the performance review is something to be avoided. For others, it is an opportunity to find ways of getting better at your job. You look at this meeting as a benefit, not a punishment.

7. Keeping Commitments to Agreements

Reliability is a huge component of emotional intelligence. Unfortunately, today’s society views commitment in a completely different light, seeing it as something to break whenever someone feels like it. Eventually, this becomes a habit, and it seeps into your business world.

However, if you are someone with a high EQ level, then you will view commitments as something necessary: if you agreed to something, then you are obligated to fulfil that commitment, whether it is a business deadline or a lunch meeting.

As time goes by, people have an idea as to who you are by whether or not you keep your commitments.

8. Meeting Outside of Work

This is a bit controversial for many people these days. Do you want to spend time with your colleagues outside of work, or do you want to confine your professional relationships to the workplace?

It’s an interesting question.

But remember earlier when it was pointed out that interpersonal skills are characteristics of emotional intelligence? Well…

So, talking over the watercooler, meeting for lunch or sharing an Uber to home or work are all exhibits of being social. Of course, this should not be dreaded. You should actually be excited, have fun and enjoy being in the same room as the other person.

Yesterday, a job was viewed as a means to earn a paycheque to put groceries on the table. Today, however, the younger generation of workers view their positions as more than vehicles for an income. They want to ditch tradition and consider their work as an experience that changes the world and provides meaning to their lives. This trend also means that more emotion is going into the working world – and that is not necessarily a bad thing.

Therefore, to meet these emotional needs, the private sector may need to invest more in emotional intelligence. But don’t be frightened by this prospect. The results show that more EQ investing incites engagement, attracts committed employees and boosts productivity levels. You should never fear emotion. Tap into it!

Ultimately, working with emotional intelligence is just another step in your professional growth.

Do you have anything you’d like to add? Join the conversation in the comments section below to let us know!