We are all constantly looking for ways to enhance our productivity and performance at work, how to become better at our jobs. Our focus is mostly on the technical aspect of work, the hard skills and knowledge needed.
But just as important are the skills needed to work with others, what generally are referred to as soft skills. This is the ability to communicate, to connect, to empathize with others. And these are skills that can be developed just like hard skills, according to psychologists. And it is definitely worth and time and effort to develop them because having these skills can help to boost your performance and the performance of your team. They help to build trust and understanding, and are especially helpful to managers in enabling them to work with employees to improve their performance.
But we pay much less attention to our EQ – emotional quotient – than to our IQ – our intelligence quotient. And so we may be more uncertain as to how to go about improving our EQ. Here are three simple ways to help.
1. Active Listening
This is a skill that you can work on and get better at. It involves really focusing on what the other person is saying, rather than simply waiting until we can have our say. It is an effort to truly understand the other person, focusing on his or her meaning and emotions. It also involves paying attention to the person’s body language, which is just as important in the communication process as what the person says.
One way of practicing this is to repeat the person’s ideas back to him or her in your own words. You can practice this with anyone you interact with during the day, at work or outside of work.
2. Reading Novels and Other Fiction
This actually helps to boost our EQ. Through reading fiction, we are exposed to a large number of different characters, people we wouldn’t ordinarily meet. We see how they feel and act and what motivates them, how they deal with other characters and the obstacles they face. Moreover, we get to peer into their thought processes and how their minds work.
It helps to give the reader a better knowledge of people in general and what makes them behave as they do, which helps in making connections with them.
At first blush, the connection between this and EQ may not be readily apparent. But meditation, or mindfulness, can help a person to improve his or her ability to focus, to concentrate on the present moment, skills which help with active listening and connecting to others.