Effective hacks to develop your Emotional Intelligence at workplace 


One might be considered emotionally intelligent when they can manage their emotions, handle disputes effortlessly, or stay composed in stressful situations. Research conducted by emotional intelligence expert Travis Bradberry suggests that only 36% of individuals possess this skill. 

However, emotional intelligence is not exclusive to CEOs and senior managers; it holds significance at every career level, from college students seeking internships to experienced employees aspiring for leadership roles. If you aim to succeed in the workplace and climb the career ladder, emotional intelligence is crucial. 

Elements like upbringing and personality often play a substantial role in developing emotional intelligence, but you can enhance yours with effort and practice. 

Emotional intelligence is a relatively recent concept that organizations are starting to consider in managing their workplaces. Professors Peter Salovey and John Mayer, based in the United States, initiated the concept in 1990. Their research revealed that certain individuals excelled in identifying others’ emotions, enabling them to solve problems related to emotions. 

But what does Emotional Intelligence mean? 

Let’s begin by comprehending the concept of emotional intelligence: 

Emotional intelligence entails the capacity to access, control, and assess your emotions as they emerge. It also involves regulating your emotions so that they are expressed appropriately. 

EI encompasses the ability to recognize emotions in others, exhibit empathy, and adeptly manage relationships. This entails acknowledging that emotions offer crucial information to guide all your interactions. 

Parameters of Emotional Intelligence

Dr. Daniel J. Siegel, the author of The Developing Mind: How Relationships and the Brain Interact to Shape Who We Are, emphasizes that emotional intelligence revolves around relationships. Our creation, development, and sustenance are significantly influenced by our emotions and our proficiency in self-regulation, connection, and integration within these relationships. 

Group emotional intelligence is about the small acts that make a big difference. It is not about a team member working all night to meet a deadline; it is about saying thank you for doing so. 

Vanessa Urch Druskat & Steven Wolff, 2001, p. 86 

Distinguishing between EQ and EI is common. In certain instances, Emotional Intelligence (EI) is mistaken for Emotional Quotient (EQ). EI often pertains to one’s capability to comprehend personal and others’ emotions, while EQ is closely linked to assessing emotional skills and identifying emotional competence. Both hold significant implications for personal growth and professional development. 

Difference between Emotional Intelligence and Emotional Quotient

Now, let’s clarify emotional intelligence. It constitutes a form of social intelligence involving the skill to observe our own and others’ feelings and emotions. This information is then utilized to direct our thoughts and actions. EQ aids in expressing emotions, cultivating relationships, dealing with challenges, and making sound decisions. It has been demonstrated as a pivotal driver and predictor of job performance, and effectiveness in leadership and life, impacting overall well-being. 

Importance of Emotional Intelligence: 

Your emotional acceptance protects you from being manipulated by someone else’s distress. At work, unlike at home, where love ties motivate cooperation, you lack the shared history that aids understanding of those around you. Therefore, it’s crucial to tune in to your coworkers’ needs promptly.

Reading and responding to people’s feelings can prevent workplace politics, morale issues, and cooperation challenges from ruining your work life. 

Moreover, emotional intelligence (EI) is contagious. Hiring emotionally intelligent staff or developing EI skills in existing employees yields an even greater return. This fosters an environment where others learn to understand and manage their emotions, becoming better team members. 

4 levels of Emotional Intelligence: 

Researchers and scientists have defined multiple frameworks and elements of emotional intelligence. In the workplace, these four levels or stages are most relevant. 

Four levels of Emotional Intelligence

(a) Self-awareness – 

Understanding Emotions: 

Recognizing and controlling emotions is crucial for better decisions. Emotions, originating internally, can be primary or secondary. Primary emotions are initial experiences, while secondary emotions are expressed behaviours. For instance, anxiety may mask the primary emotion of fear, or anger may hide underlying hurt. Recognizing this complexity prevents misunderstanding and promotes emotional understanding. 

Your habits: 

Whether pursuing weight loss, marathon running, a promotion, or behaviour change for workplace effectiveness, you are the primary driver of success. Habits, automatic and repeated behaviours, impact you and others. Recognizing inappropriate habits and shifting them is crucial for the foundational personal and social competencies of emotional intelligence. These behaviours either enable or hinder effective connections, trust, and collaboration. 

Meanwhile, stress is inevitable in every workplace, and managing emotions during its influence significantly impacts you and others. Recognizing others’ emotions helps empathise and stay connected, enhancing collaboration and productivity. 

At Sankey Solutions, we prioritize understanding emotions and their impact on decision-making. Additionally, we promote self-awareness through activities like mindfulness sessions and self-assessment tools to identify and shift habits that hinder effective communication. 

(b) Communicating across teams  

Interpreting others’ thoughts, feelings, and needs and responding appropriately is crucial for effective communication across teams. Building and maintaining strong relationships, based on trust in both yourself and others, is essential. This trust, developed over time, ensures reliance on your character and competence. 

To practice effective workplace communication: 

  • Be clear and concise when speaking. 
  • Confirm understanding and encourage clarifying questions. 
  • Listen carefully, analyzing tone and body language. 
  • Stay positive and supportive, even when delivering challenging feedback. 
  • Cultivate on-the-spot communication habits to enhance feedback, praise, or criticism impact. 

To enhance this, we organize cross-functional events where teams practice active listening and clear articulation. Moreover, we utilize open feedback platforms and conduct regular team-building exercises to foster trust and collaboration. 

(c) Leading by example – 

Leadership isn’t limited to executive-level positions. Anyone can demonstrate leadership, as it’s more of a mindset than a designation. Leaders inspire others to surpass their perceived capabilities. Effective leadership involves receiving and giving feedback. A comment from one person is an opinion; from two, a trend; and three or more, a factual and crucial consideration. 

Your overall emotional intelligence helps manage stress. Self-awareness enables a better understanding of thoughts, feelings, and desires in any situation. This awareness informs whether the experienced stress is helpful or harmful. 

The best among us, although some may be naturally inclined, demonstrate grace under pressure, managing their stress and that of those around them. This may result from extensive training or a calm temperament, contributing to success in stressful environments. 

Leaders at Sankey lead by example through actions like acknowledging mistakes and vulnerabilities, demonstrating continuous learning, and supporting their teams during challenging times. We also conduct leadership development programs to cultivate emotional intelligence at all levels. 

(d) Sustaining Change: 

By now, you should understand emotional intelligence and how to increase competency. Developing behaviours demonstrating emotional intelligence requires intention, practice, discipline, and patience. This can only be achieved in relationships with others.

Recognize that most behaviours are automatic and need continual monitoring. Overly stressed individuals are less likely to display new skills, resorting to old habits that undermine progress. Changing behaviour requires courage. 

Developing emotional intelligence requires intention and practice. We offer workshops on self-awareness hacks, such as journaling and self-soothing techniques, to help employees navigate stress and sustain positive changes. Additionally, we encourage a growth mindset by celebrating learning milestones and providing opportunities for skill development. 


Hacks to develop Emotional Intelligence: 

Here are some real hacks to develop your Emotional Intelligence (EI). Understanding and implementing these strategies can significantly enhance your ability to navigate emotions, build strong relationships, and thrive in various aspects of your personal and professional life. 

(a) Growth vs. Fixed Mindset: 

Do you have a fixed mindset or a growth mindset?  

  1. Do you believe your intelligence or level of a certain skill can’t change very much? 
  2. Do you believe you were born with certain qualities such as being smart, creative, funny, or good at sports and that those can’t be developed much? 
  3. Do you believe how you show up behaviourally in the workplace is outside of your control? 

If you answered yes to any of these questions, you may have more of a fixed mindset than a growth mindset. What it comes down to is those with a fixed mindset feel they are born with a certain level of intelligence and abilities, and changing this is largely outside of their control. Those with a growth mindset believe that regardless of where they start, they can build and develop their skills and abilities. These skills and abilities are within your control. 

(b) Self-awareness hacks: 
  • Reflect on reactions to new situations and question resistance to change.  
  • Adopt a “wait and see” approach before passing judgment.  
  • Be reliable and trustworthy by fulfilling commitments.  
  • Acknowledge mistakes and vulnerabilities, focusing on continuous learning.  
  • Demonstrate dependability to gain favorability.  
  • Practice self-soothing techniques and cultivate journaling and reflection for insights. 
  • Prioritize self-care outside of work for overall well-being. 
(c) Receiving challenging feedback: 

Recall a time receiving challenging feedback. Reflect on your behaviour—did you become defensive or dismissive? Alter behaviour to accept feedback graciously, reflecting on its importance for growth. Respond by taking effective action. Explore ways to be more accepting and inviting for future feedback. 



When you remember that we are all peers on an emotional level, it becomes easier to approach the boss, ask an employee to give a little more or understand that a coworker’s irritability is nothing personal. Emotions are great levellers among people, use them to tie you together rather than rend you apart.