Do you know that 90% of high performers have above average emotional intelligence? 

And emotionally intelligent people earn more than other people. 

That’s why emotional intelligence is one of the most significant leadership abilities in the workplace. 

Workplaces can be rough places, with pressure, stress, anxiety, and even drama thrown in from time to time. It can also be a source of joy, fulfilment, and excitement. 

So at every moment you have to deal with emotions of people around you and also take care of your own emotions. 

We are nowadays assessed by our level of emotional intelligence and how well we manage our emotions and understand emotions of our colleagues at the workplace.

In this article, you’ll learn about the concept and examples of emotional intelligence in the workplace, its benefits, and how to improve its different characteristics.

What is Emotional Intelligence in the Workplace?

Emotional intelligence is defined by psychologists Peter Salovey and John D. Mayer, two of the renowned researchers on the subject, as the ability to perceive and understand your emotions and emotions of other people. 

Therefore, emotionally intelligent people pay attention to their emotion and they use it and manage their emotions intelligently. 

Elements of Emotional Intelligence in the Workplace

When Daniel Goleman initially promoted the concept of emotional intelligence, he divided it into four components: self-awareness, self-regulation, empathy, and social skill. More research has been done on this topic, and some experts have added motivation as a factor. 

These important individual elements all work together to improve emotional intelligence in the workplace.

1. Self-awareness

Self-awareness refers to ability to identify and understand our own feelings and emotions.  

People who have a high level of self-awareness are quite aware of how they are feeling at a particular situation. 

They are fully aware of their personal strength and limitations and how they would react or respond to any situation. 

2. Self-Regulation

This element of emotional intelligence refers to expression of emotions. 

Self-regulation entails controlling one’s emotions, adapting to various conditions and showing flexibility.  

People who are good at practicing self-regulation, have ability to regulate their emotions rather than allowing their emotions to rule them.

3. Empathy

Empathy is the ability to understand what other people are going through and how they are feeling.

Empathizing with others also entails reading co-workers’ verbal and nonverbal signs, as they may not always express their feelings explicitly.

Emotionally intelligent people show high level of empathy at the workplace.

4. Social skills

This element of emotional intelligence enables us to interact with other people on daily basis. 

The key social skills at the workplace refers to effectively communicate, listen actively and engage positively with your co-workers in the workplace. 

Without these social skills, we cannot advance in professional career in the workplace.

5. Motivation

Motivation means that an individual is driven by his/her personal goals rather than external factors such as money or fame. 

Emotionally intelligent people are committed to their work and they take initiatives. 

They are action-oriented people and they always want to achieve goals and improve by knowing their mistakes.

Examples of Emotional Intelligence in the Workplace 

It’s important to first identify common examples of emotional intelligence in the workplace. 

Let’s look at some examples of emotional intelligence in the workplace.

Receiving Constructive Criticism 

Generally, people give negative criticism which triggers negative emotions at the workplace. 

But one of the greatest examples of emotionally intelligent people at the workplace is to provide constructive criticism. 

At emotionally intelligent workplace, employees receive criticism and negative feedback  with positivity.  They take it as opportunity to improve and take corrective measures.  

Listening to Unhappy Employees

Emotionally intelligent people deal with unhappy employees or co-workers with care. 

They are aware of human emotions in a particular situation when an employee becomes frustrated or upset and expresses negative emotions 

If negative emotions are regularly expressed, then emotional intelligent people have ability to dig deeper and assess the root causes which trigger that behaviour. 

Providing Stress-management Activities 

We are more stressed out than ever before. Work responsibilities and family pressures are all producing a great deal of stress. 

One way to deal with stress is to provide stress management activities at the workplace. 

These activities include hosting meditation sessions, encouraging employees to go for walks, putting good messages across the office, and lightening up the interior.

Showing Flexibility

Emotionally intelligent people are flexible. They are always open for new ideas and ready to accommodate others by understanding their needs. 

Those workplaces are productive where employees and especially managers are more flexible and they avoid to impose restrictions on others people. 

They don’t expect everyone to work the hours that they do, hold the same priorities, or live by exactly the same values.

Allowing people to express their views 

Emotional intelligence is also demonstrated in a workplace where employees feel comfortable speaking their minds. 

They discuss new ideas and express their emotions. On the other hand, bottled-up emotions, thoughts, and attitudes can become a ticking time bomb.

Emotionally intelligent people do not get offended when other people differ from their opinions. They remain respectful and always celebrate diversity at workplace. 

Allowing people to be creative  

Emotionally intelligent people allow others to be creative at their work.  

Employees are given freedom of time and space to be creative  so that innovative ideas are produced. And this happens when emotionally intelligent people are at helm of affairs. 

Those are people who understand the emotional impulse of being creative and know the benefit of it. 

Benefits of Emotional Intelligence in the Workplace

Emotional intelligence has an impact on almost every element of corporate operations. 

Take, for example, communication. Communication will become challenging in a job where emotional intelligence is poor. 

People will lose faith in one other’s ability to grasp what they say or how they feel. As a result, employees work in silos, only connecting with others when necessary. 

Employees who work in environments that value emotional intelligence, on the other hand, gain from excellent communication. Workers continuously exchange ideas and are not subjected to misunderstandings or offensive remarks. 

However, the advantages go beyond communication and include enhanced decision-making and performance. 

  • Improve their decision-making and problem-solving skills.
  • Maintain composure under pressure
  • Resolve disagreements
  • Have a greater sense of empathy
  • Listen to constructive criticism; think about it, and then answer.

How to Improve Emotional Intelligence in the Workplace 

Active Listening 

You offer greater clarity to the topic when you actively listen to your peers or other people in your workplace. 

This allows you to properly comprehend the opinions of others, as well as develop respect and strong working relationships. 

Emotionally intelligent people engage in active listening while also paying attention to others’ body language.

Start responding 

Stop reacting and begin to respond. Emotionally intelligent people know how to handle difficult situations, disagreements, and emotional outbursts. 

They know how to maintain their composure and deal with tough situations without losing their cool.

Keep Yourself Motivated

Unmotivated people are frequently encountered, and they always seem to find their way to misery and excuses. Then some are enthusiastic, optimistic, and ready to take on any challenging task. 

People with great emotional intelligence are the second type. They are ready to face problems and do whatever they can to solve them. They are self-motivated and persistent at all times.


When you empathize with others, you form a bond with them and can relate to them on a human level. 

Empathizing with others contributes to the development of esteem and healthy relationships.

People with a high EI comprehend others from their point of view and have the ability to put themselves in another’s shoes.

Depending on the nature of your organisation, a high value may or may not be placed on creativity, but creative people will always deem it important, regardless.

In this case, people are allowed the time, space, and freedom to be creative and to march to their own beat to achieve it.