Building Emotional Intelligence Skills: How to Improve Communication and Foster Healthier Relationships

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The modern workplace has to have a few key things to be successful and retain talented teams. Professionals are looking for a place where they feel valued and inspired. Work environments that offer flexible schedules and remote-based environments are more sought after than ever. Ultimately, however, there is one crucial skill that a workplace needs to develop if they are to succeed: Emotional Intelligence.

What is emotional intelligence?

Emotional intelligence (EI) is the ability to understand, manage, and express one's emotions in a healthy and constructive way. It’s an essential skill for building and maintaining healthy relationships in personal and professional settings.

How does emotional intelligence impact the workplace?

In the workplace, emotional intelligence can be crucial to success. Studies have shown that individuals with stronger EI skills are more likely to experience greater career success, have stronger relationships, and are emotionally healthier. Those with strong EI skills are often viewed as better leaders, team players, and problem solvers. When leaders of a company have strong EI skills, research suggests that the employees on the team will feel a greater sense of belonging and experience higher job satisfaction. All of these things can improve employee retention and innovation.

What skills should you focus on to improve workplace emotional intelligence?


One key aspect of emotional intelligence is strong communication skills. This includes not only being able to express oneself clearly and assertively but also being able to listen and empathize with others. 

Active listening is an essential aspect of effective communication. This means paying full attention to the person speaking and understanding their point of view. It includes not only hearing their words but also understanding the emotions behind them. Active listening can be achieved by asking clarifying questions and giving verbal and nonverbal cues to show that you are engaged in the conversation. It means putting devices away during important conversations. 

Helpful Hint: When communicating with others, it’s important to be aware of your emotions and use "I" statements rather than blaming others. For example, instead of saying, "I am disappointed," say, "I feel disappointed that our team didn’t meet that goal." This approach allows for a more constructive conversation and helps to avoid defensiveness in the other person.

Emotional Regulation

Truly emotionally intelligent people can manage and regulate their own emotions. This includes being able to identify and label one's own emotions, as well as being able to process them. Techniques such as deep breathing, mindfulness, and visualization all help with emotional regulation. When faced with a difficult or stressful situation, it can be helpful to take a step back and practice self-regulation before responding.

Mindfulness is the practice of being present in the moment and paying attention to one's thoughts and emotions without judgment. This allows for better self-awareness and the ability to manage emotions and help others navigate conflict more effectively. Mindfulness can be achieved through meditation, yoga, sports, hobbies, recreation, or even just taking a few minutes to focus on your breath and be present.

Relationship-first approach

Fostering healthy relationships at work is essential to an emotionally intelligent workplace. Teachers have understood this for years. If you ask students to do something, you must first build a strong relationship with them. Focus first on building trust, collaborating effectively, and supporting colleagues. 

Collaboration is vital when creating a positive work environment. It can be achieved by being open to new ideas, valuing others' perspectives, and actively working to build a team spirit. This team-based approach is fundamental in the workplace, where people may have diverse backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives. 

Additionally, providing support to colleagues, whether by lending a listening ear or offering a helping hand, can go a long way in fostering healthy relationships at work.

Conflict resolution

Conflicts are an inevitable part of any relationship and can be particularly challenging in a professional setting. However, with strong EI skills, one can navigate conflicts in a way that is respectful and constructive. Effective conflict resolution includes listening actively, identifying underlying issues, and finding common ground. It also includes expressing oneself assertively and honestly without being aggressive or defensive.

Building emotional intelligence skills can be essential for improving communication and fostering healthier relationships at work. It involves being able to communicate effectively, manage and regulate one's own emotions, build trust, collaborate effectively, empathize with others, and manage conflicts effectively. With strong EI skills, we can better navigate the complexities of the workplace and build positive, supportive relationships with colleagues. It’s important to remember that emotional intelligence is a skill that can be developed and improved over time with practice and self-awareness.

If you’re interested in improving the emotional intelligence skills of your employees, consider inviting an expert to offer additional training to your team. A guest speaker with expertise can provide training and coaching for your employees, helping them to develop the skills they need to communicate effectively, build healthy relationships, and navigate conflicts in the workplace. By investing in the emotional intelligence of your employees, you can create a more positive and productive work environment.

If you’re looking for a guest speaker to help improve the emotional intelligence skills of your employees, reach out today! I am happy to work with you to create a program that fits your organization's specific needs, and I’m ready to help you take the first step toward building a more emotionally intelligent workplace.

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