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Many people think about how to improve themselves at the workplace, and when they do they feel about learning new skills, the problem is that they often limit new skill building to the task side of the work equation i.e. building new functional or technical skills associated with getting their work done.

For example, if you are an accountant you’re probably interested in learning new accounting policies at work or new laws that have been passed. Guess what? One of the best skills set you can employ to advance your career isn’t about your job at all, it’s the skill set referred to as EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE(EQ).

Emotional Intelligence is simply expressed as the ability to monitor one’s emotions, and to use that information to choose appropriate behaviours / responses. It is the ability to sense in yourself and others emotions as they arise, you can choose to use them productively as opposed to merely been subject to them.

You can learn to keep anger in check, you can learn to sense sadness in others, build your capacity for empathy. You can sense the tension in a meeting and learn to intervene effectively.

EQ multiplies the value you can create with the amount of functional and technical skills you possess. It helps you communicate more appropriately and effectively at the right time and in the right way. This means others enjoy working with you more and care about the experience you bring to the team.

So how do you build EQ?

Simple, really.

Learn where you are, in terms of EQ ability right now and then commit to engaging developmental activities that will continue to boost your expertise in this area.

To know where you stand, you have two great choices –

  1. ASSESSMENT: Start by using one of the widely available EQ assessments to get a decent measure of your current ability. Begin by checking with your Human Resources department to find resources for you in the organization’s library. Additional research will uncover a lot of EQ related coaches who will give you instruments you can use, be sure to let them help you understand the interpretation of the results.
  2. ASK A TRUSTED COLLEAGUE/ MENTOR: Find one or two people you trust, who know you professionally, and will be honest with you. Ask them for at least one clear way you might improve your EQ at work. You might learn a thing or two about yourself that may have gone unnoticed.


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