Emotional Intelligence at Work
It’s hugely important that people at work today are able to empathise with others.
With customers, clients, colleagues, employers or employees – the capacity to be fully present with others and to demonstrate the sense that you see them as a person with their own individual thoughts and feelings is crucial to all vital relationships.
The more mindful you are – the better you are able to experience your own thoughts, feelings and body sensations – the better you will be able to accurately perceive the thoughts, feelings and body sensations of others.
Learn to Love Yourself
For many of us, the ability to appreciate and to value ourselves as being an individual amongst many is the first step to developing emotional intelligence. People aren't born with this innate skill, it is something to be learned and honed over time.
Mindfulness training can help us to improve our self-kindness. Through the training we gradually learn to be kinder and more understanding toward ourselves when we experience pain or failure. So often we can be instead harsh and self-critical. The training also improves our sense of being part of a common humanity. We come to see our experiences as part of the larger human experience. That can help to reduce any sense of separation and isolation from others. With mindfulness training, we also learn to cultivate the ability to hold painful thoughts and feelings in a kind of balanced awareness, rather than over-identifying with them.
Self-compassion protects us against the negative consequences of self-judgement, isolation, and depressive rumination. Because of its non-evaluative and interconnected nature, self-compassion counters the tendencies towards narcissism, self-centeredness, and downward social comparison that can be associated with other attempts to maintain self-esteem. When we’re mindful, we don’t need to put others down.
Self-compassion naturally raises our level of concern for the well-being of others. It involves seeing our own experience in light of the common human experience. We come to acknowledge that suffering, failure, and inadequacy are part of the human condition and that everyone – ourselves included – is worthy of compassion.
Being less judgemental towards ourselves, we become less judgemental of others. This is because comparison between ourselves and others isn’t needed to enhance or defend our self-esteem. We don’t extend compassion to ourselves because we’re superior or more deserving than others. Rather, it’s felt because we come to recognize our interconnectedness and equality with the rest of humanity.
Practicing Mindfulness for Emotional Intelligence
In order to work on your emotional intelligence, there are two small changes you could make. The first is the practice of “mindful emailing”. When writing an email to a colleague, pause before pressing send. Take three breaths, and look again at what you've written. How will the other person receive it? Imagine their mental and emotional response, and alter the email if necessary.
Another improvement you could make is to notice others' behaviour. Get a sense of their feelings and sensations, thinking about how they reflect your own. If you're a manager, appreciate how an instruction would make your feel. How would you react? Small changes in day-to-day behaviour such as these can help to improve relations – and productivity – in the workplace.
To find out more about empathy, compassion and mindfulness training at work, contact email@example.com or call (+44) 01223 750660
Photo by Icerko Lydia