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How to Improve Emotional Intelligence in Your Employees

  • By Diana Kawarsky, MA, CCP
  • July 14, 2022

Emotional Intelligence Components

Emotional intelligence (EI) is a soft skill vital for leaders and employees. It measures a person’s ability to identify and manage emotions internally and externally. By understanding and managing your emotions in the workplace, you will likely be able to help others manage their own. The goal of emotional intelligence is to provide a safe, friendly, and acceptable work environment.

There are several components of emotional intelligence. Below we explore how emotional intelligence can be beneficial in the workplace.

Important Aspects of Emotional Intelligence in the Workplace

Your emotions are part of your unique personality. While it is important to remain true to yourself, you also need to take the time to expand your mental ability and improve your emotional quotient. This ability is especially true for those in leadership roles.

To be successful, an organization needs to help all employees uncover their strengths and weaknesses regarding their emotional intelligence skills.

Here are some key components of emotional intelligence.


Emotional awareness begins with understanding your emotions and their effect on your colleagues. Self-awareness involves realizing your fluctuating emotions and being able to see a pattern in certain situations. This self-awareness can help you understand why you feel the way you do and help you learn how to handle deep emotions of hurt and anger.


Self-regulation is an essential soft skill to learn. It allows you to think before you speak or act. It’s not always easy to pause and reflect before acting but doing so enables you to make an informed decision without haste. Self-regulation allows you to manage various forms of conflict, adapt to changes, and handle difficult situations.


The desire to succeed is different for everyone. To succeed at a task, it’s important to understand the motivation behind that goal. There are two types of motivation: intrinsic (internal factors that motivate you, like the desire to reach your full potential) and extrinsic (external factors like a pay raise that motivate you to achieve a task). Understanding your motivation translates to having higher emotional intelligence.


Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of another person. Using empathy to become more aware of the situation (and not judging someone) can increase your emotional intelligence. There is, however, a fine line between gaining empathy by self-interest and gaining empathy as self-centred.

Social Skills

We are not born with social skills. Emotional intelligence requires using social skills such as active listening, verbal communication, positive body language, and eye contact. By improving your communication skills and learning how to manage and resolve conflict, you can help make the workplace more welcoming.

How to Improve Your Team/Employees’ Emotional Intelligence

Developing emotional intelligence doesn’t happen overnight. This vital soft skill can, however, be achieved by anyone who has the right tools. Here are some tips to improve the emotional intelligence of both employees and employers.

Control Negative Emotions in the Workplace

Sometimes, conflict can occur in the workplace. Whether the source of the negativity comes from the work itself, a colleague, or a personal issue outside of the workplace, learning to control negative emotions is key to a successful day and a positive work environment.

Manage these negative emotions by thinking before reacting. Take a step back and look at the situation from all angles before making an objective call. 

Choose Your Words Carefully

When a situation arises, choose your words very carefully. It can take time to build trust and respect with others, but only seconds to destroy that trust by using the wrong words. Those with high emotional intelligence should be able to use the appropriate words in stressful situations.

Everyone has a voice, and everyone deserves to be heard. It is important to convey your message with positive-resulting words. 

Stay Calm in Adverse Situations

Emotional intelligence at work can help defuse serious situations and occurrences that otherwise can create havoc for the entire workforce. Staying calm in adverse situations calls for high emotional intelligence skills.

Staying calm involves using self-regulation, empathy, and good social skills to react appropriately. Deep breathing exercises or excusing yourself temporarily from the incident may be the key to staying calm.

Show Empathy for Team Members

Teaching employees to show empathy for other team members can be difficult. But developing empathy for others and the present situation is a skill that can be practiced anywhere at any time.

You can improve your emotional intelligence and empathy skill by actively listening and understanding the energy in the room. Pay close attention to your surroundings. Imagine various scenarios and what you would expect as a reaction from others.

Stay Positive (Optimism)

Staying positive in even the most adverse situation takes skill. This skill is an essential step in improving one’s emotional intelligence. The work environment can present challenging tasks, disappointing results, and stressful moments. Optimism is key.

Remember the skills of self-awareness and self-regulation? These abilities will help to keep positive while producing resolutions. To practice staying positive, reflect on past experiences where optimism may have been beneficial.

Take Responsibility for Your Actions

Teaching emotional intelligence starts at the top, with management taking responsibility for their actions. Doing so will enforce the importance of each employee becoming self-regulated as they, too, are responsible for their actions.

Emotional intelligence requires you to hold yourself accountable. A successful workplace requires knowing when to admit mistakes and face the consequences. This accountability can help with personal growth and build strong relationships. 

How Does TSSG’s Soft Skills Workshop Help in Improving Emotional Intelligence?

The Soft Skills Group provides training and development programs for professionals and organizations to help with improving emotional intelligence skills. Our soft skills workshops focus on verbal skills, writing skills, professional development, team development, and management skills. Contact us today to see how our informative sessions can help you!

Diana Kawarsky, MA, CCP

Diana is President of The Soft Skills Group Inc., and a senior training & development professional with over 20 years of experience in delivery, design & consulting with Fortune 500 companies, Universities & Colleges in Canada, USA, Europe, and Asia. Read More