Emotional Intelligence in the Workplace

Emotional Intelligence in the Workplace

This tool enables leaders to increase the level of emotional intelligence in the workplace. It shows ways to increase awareness of emotions at both the individual and team level. It also suggests strategies to help regulate emotions. This is invaluable for leaders who want to create teams where there is a healthy balance of emotional and analytical intelligence.

Creating Awareness for an Individual:

Interpersonal Understanding

  1. Take time away from group tasks to get to know one another.
  2. Have a “check in” at the beginning of the meeting – ask how people are feeling.
  3. Tell your teammates what you’re thinking and how you’re feeling.
  4. Assume that undesirable behavior takes place for a reason. Find out what that reason is. Ask questions and listen. Avoid negative judgments or attributions.

Perspective Taking

  1. Ask whether everyone agrees with a decision.
  2. Ask quiet members what they think.
  3. Question decisions that come too quickly.
  4. Appoint a devil’s advocate.

Creating Awareness for a Team:

Team Self-Evaluation

  1. Schedule time to examine team effectiveness.
  2. Create measurable task and process objectives and then measure them.
  3. Acknowledge and discuss group moods.
  4. Communicate your sense of what is transpiring in the team.
  5. Allow members to call a “process check.” (For instance, a team member might say, “Process check: is this the most effective use of our time right now?”)
  6. Discuss the culture and politics in the organization.
  7. Ask whether proposed team actions are congruent with the organization’s culture and politics.

Seeking Feedback

  1. Ask your “customers” how you are doing.
  2. Find out the concerns and needs of others in the organization.
  3. Consider who can influence the team’s ability to accomplish its goals.
  4. Post your work and invite comments.
  5. Benchmark your processes.

Ways to Regulate Emotional Intelligence For an Individual


  1. Set ground rules and use them to point out errant behavior.
  2. Call members on errant behavior.
  3. Create playful devices for pointing out such behavior. These often emerge from the group spontaneously. Reinforce them.


  1. Support members: volunteer to help them if they need it, be flexible, and provide emotional support.
  2. Validate members’ contributions. Let members know they are valued.
  3. Protect members from attack.
  4. Respect individuality and differences in perspectives. Listen.
  5. Never be derogatory or demeaning.

Ways to Regulate Emotional Intelligence For a Team:

Creating Resources for Working with Emotion

  1. Make time to discuss difficult issues, and address the emotions that surround them.
  2. Find creative, shorthand ways to acknowledge and express the emotion in the group.
  3. Create fun ways to acknowledge and relieve stress and tension.
  4. Express acceptance of members’ emotions.

Creating an Affirmative Environment

  1. Reinforce that the team can meet a challenge. Be optimistic. For example, say things like, “We can get through this” or “Nothing will stop us.”
  2. Focus on what you can control.
  3. Remind members of the group’s important and positive mission.
  4. Remind the group how it solved a similar problem before.
  5. Focus on problem solving, not blaming.

Solving Problems Proactively

  1. Anticipate problems and address them before they happen.
  2. Take that initiative to understand and get what you need to be effective.
  3. Do it yourself if others aren’t responding. Rely on yourself, not others.

LRI’s consulting is designed to achieve real, meaningful change for our clients.

Eric Douglas

Eric Douglas is the senior partner and founder of Leading Resources Inc., a consulting firm that focuses on developing high-performing organizations. For more than 20 years, Eric has successfully helped a wide array of government agencies, nonprofit organizations, and corporations achieve breakthroughs in performance. His new book The Leadership Equation helps leaders achieve strategic clarity, manage change effectively, and build a leadership culture.

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