How communicators can bolster workplace emotional intelligence

To ensure your career ascends instead of ends, focus on self-awareness, empathy and social skills—and help others to do the same.

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Emotional intelligence might seem an innate quality.

However, even the most inartful among us can do plenty to beef up social skills and improve crucial workplace relationships. For better or worse, emotional intelligence might be the biggest indicator of how far you’ll go in your career, so it’s well worth serious self-examination.

Here are ideas to consider and ways to improve:

Defining emotional intelligence

In 1990, researchers Peter Salovey and John D. Mayer (not the “Your Body Is a Wonderland” guy, apparently) described “emotional intelligence” as a form of social intelligence that involves the ability to monitor one’s own and others’ feelings and emotions, to discriminate among them, and to use this information to guide one’s thinking and action.”

Author Daniel Goleman scooped up this idea and ran with it, developing five key pieces of the emotional intelligence pie:

What might improvement in these areas look like for communication pros? Let’s consider practical ways to bolster, flex, stretch and improve skills in each category.

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