Why Emotional Intelligence Matters in the Workplace

by Kelsie Hall, Digital Media Specialist

I am among the cohort of recent college graduates that began their careers remotely. While I can say that I have enjoyed working from the comfort of my home, I can’t help but think of the skills I have yet to learn from the typical in-person work experience.

What makes an employee successful in the workplace outside of Teams and Zoom call etiquette?

Emotional intelligence, addressed as “EQ”, is the ability to identify, understand, and manage emotions in ourselves and others. Employees who have a higher EQ tend to be more successful, more likeable, and less stressed.

As a concept, EQ can be broken down into two competencies: personal and social. Broken down, these form the four main skills covered below.


You can begin increasing your self-awareness by simply recognizing your emotions in real time and pinpointing what triggered them. What makes you excited, nervous, angry, or sad? People with high self-awareness have a clear understanding of what makes them tick and in return, become more productive.

Personally, I’ve taken a step back when I feel myself getting frustrated to acknowledge the cause and identify whether it is something I can control. This will be important when I am present in an office environment where instead of just turning the camera off or being blocked by a screen, people will be able to see my emotions/reactions live.


Self-management follows self-awareness. After you are able to pinpoint the cause of your emotions, you have to learn how to redirect them. This can be most difficult when looking at things long-term, as most people react without taking into consideration how it affects them or others months later. Someone with high self-management skills can easily zoom out to look at the bigger picture and not let minor things set them back.

For example, someone may approach you at work with bad news on a project. Instead of reacting in a way that can negatively affect you and the rest of the team, you acknowledge the issue, but don’t let it stand in the way of the final goal.

Instead of reacting impulsively, take a moment to fully understand the issue and work through it. You, and your coworkers, will be grateful for this on an ongoing basis. in the end.

Social Awareness

Social awareness is realizing and understanding what others are feeling or thinking. You can begin increasing your self-awareness by trying to focus on the other person, rather than yourself in a conversation. This can be harder than it seems because we are always anticipating what we should say or do next. Understanding someone else’s emotions in a conversation will help you pick up on critical information and become a better colleague. People will find you more compassionate and understanding.

Everyone has emotions, but people always feel better if they feel that they are heard, noticed, and cared for.

Relationship Management

The last skill is relationship management which incorporates all three of the other skills. Building strong connections with people creates a mutually beneficial system leading to future opportunities. Coworkers forming a positive opinion and close relationship with you should never be seen as a negative. It is important to find that every relationship can be beneficial in some way or another.

Whether you personally like one person more than another, you should still value all relationships and treat them the same. After all, there may be a point in time where that relationship can be beneficial to you. In addition, tapping into your emotions and others’ will help you make the most out of every situation.

Many issues in the workplace can be resolved by thinking things through and being mindful of others. Nothing is worse than lashing out and making an already stressful situation more stressful. Each EQ skill can help you form a better relationship with others. Whether it’s you coming across as more emotionally stable, rational, or compassionate, it will only help you in the work environment.

As many of us anticipate or have already made a return to office or, in my case, may heading in for the first time, I hope you begin to actively think of all four of these skills to begin increasing your overall EQ. I am excited to bring these skills into the workplace and see how effective they can be on my career.

Having strong relationships with your team members can highly improve the environment and culture of the in-person workplace. There is always room for improvements and learning, which is why I am eager to be back in the office and improve my own EQ by cultivating deeper relationships with my teammates and learning through the examples those with strong EQ’s have set.

Much of my EQ knowledge comes from the book, Emotional Intelligence 2.0 (linked HERE), which I highly recommend reading. This book also includes an emotional intelligence test to help you find your strengths and weaknesses. The book also recommends finding a mentor that can watch your progress and give you feedback.

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