One thing I know is that drama in the workplace is inevitable as long as human beings are involved. Words and actions will be misinterpreted, egos will clash, buttons will be pushed, and people will arrive at different, and often, wrong conclusions.

Whatever the case, if your work demands to be in close contact with people — especially the people you’d like to avoid — having the emotional intelligence to know how to respond to challenging circumstances will save you a lot of headaches.

People with emotional intelligence use self-awareness to their advantage to assess a situation, get perspective, listen without judgment, process, and hold back from reacting head-on.

At times, it means the decision to sit on your decision. By thinking over your situation rationally, without drama, you’ll eventually arrive at other, more sane conclusions.

A person exhibiting emotional intelligence also has the natural inclinations to look at the whole picture and both sides of an issue. It’s having the ability to tap into someone else’s feelings (as well as your own) to consider a different outcome. That takes empathy. Daniel Goleman, the emotional intelligence guru said,

“If you don’t have self-awareness, if you are not able to manage your distressing emotions, if you can’t have empathy and have effective relationships, then no matter how smart you are, you are not going to get very far.”

This is why we see we see people with emotional intelligence being radically intentional about staying connected with their true selves every day, and especially in relationship to others. They speak from the heart and don’t hide behind masks. In an emotionally-charged situation, they’ll be the first to take the blame if they’ve made a mistake. They model integrity and authenticity for others, making it safe for peers and co-workers who’ve also made mistakes to risk being open enough to say, “I messed up.”

7 Questions to Ask Yourself

So what’s the starting point to build up your emotional intelligence? It’s to ask some self-reflective, raise-the-mirror questions because the bar is pretty high. To raise your own bar to meet with the high demand for emotional intelligence in the workplace, ask yourself these questions:

  1. Are you usually aware of your feelings and do you understand why you feel that way?
  2. Are you aware of your limitations, blind spots, and areas of growth?
  3. When faced with distressing emotions and conflict, are you able to quickly recover after you work through it?
  4. Do you have the capacity to understand or feel what another person is experiencing from within his or her frame of reference?
  5. Do you choose to live each day by having a positive outlook and seeing the glass half-full?
  6. Are you comfortable with who you are, regardless of whether anyone is stroking your ego?
  7. When others have wronged you, are you able to forgive and forget, and move on?

Originally published on Inc.

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