In the past few years, the role of emotional intelligence (EQ) in business has become increasingly important. Big corporations are now looking for leaders who are able to connect with their teams, rather than just run them from afar. Google has incorporated methods of scanning for emotional intelligence into their screening process for applicants. For the first time, businesses are concerned with how their hires treat people, as much as their hires hitting their profit goals.
Because of this shift in attitude, people in the business world have been focusing their professional development on enhancing their soft skills, with the demand for emotional intelligence keynote speakers rising to new heights in the last 3 years. Many business professionals have done some sort of self-help work, fine-tuning their EQ skills. But how does your emotional intelligence in the office translate through a computer screen?
Here are 4 ways to assess how your EQ skills are holding up in your home office and see if you need to make any adjustments.
1. Respect cultural differences
Now more than ever, cultural differences may come to light. When we work in an office we adjust ourselves to that setting every time we enter, whether it’s subconscious or a learned practice. This means people alter their personalities at work, even if it’s ever so slightly, to fit in with the office culture.
With more and more people working from home, these office norms will be abandoned and we will see people’s true nature a little more clearly. This means cultural differences that are often suppressed in the office may become more apparent. Respecting each other’s cultural differences is crucial to maintaining a strong EQ and a cohesive and collaborative team.
2. Don’t stress the written word
It’s always best to say what you mean and mean what you say, but this clarity is especially important when you are running primarily on written communication. When there is no body language to read, things we take for granted in the office, like sarcasm or passive aggression, don’t play out well.
If you are someone who leans on those as a crutch for communication, that must end now. When writing your coworkers, ask for what you want with specifics and communicate expectations clearly. If you are someone who reads into every comma, ellipses, and missing exclamation mark, you will drive yourself crazy in a WFH environment. Take your emails and instant messages at face value and do not try to find an encrypted code.
3. Express empathy excessively
Empathy is a big part of emotional intelligence. Being able to understand how someone feels will make your communication more productive and less confrontational. In an office, empathy can be seen in one’s eyes or felt in a hand on the shoulder. Since we have no ways to show empathy physically in a remote setting, it’s important to communicate (even lean towards the side of over communication) our empathy. Reassure your coworkers you understand where they are coming from with verbal queues and written words.
4. Manage stress effectively
We’ve always been told we need to manage our stress in the office, but what happens when your office is your home? Many people’s EQ seems proficient in an office setting because they save the meltdowns for their home life.
Check in with those you live with to see if they believe your stress is affecting your home dynamics. If so, it’s time to reassess how you manage stress and find a better coping mechanism.
Hopefully, all the work you’ve done in your professional life to cultivate a high EQ will lend itself to your home office setting. Now more than ever, people need the connectedness emotional intelligence brings to the office.
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