Emotional intelligence in the workplace: Enhancing mental wellness

Emotional intelligence in the workplace: Enhancing mental wellness

What comes to your mind when you hear the word emotional intelligence? Is it understanding, is it consideration of your emotions or is it someone offering you words of affirmation when you are struggling? Well, it is all of that and much more. Wikipedia defines Emotional Intelligence as the ability to perceive, use, understand, manage, and handle emotions. In simpler words, it is how we make sense of emotions, relate to them, and interpret them.

It is almost impossible to imagine a life without emotions. They play a crucial factor in decision-making and deciding a plan of action. When we talk about emotional intelligence in the workplace, it plays an invaluable role. 

What does Emotional Intelligence look like in the workplace?

  1. Checking in with employees and colleagues if they require any additional support from time to time, and not just when they’re undergoing a rough patch. 
  2. Trusting their abilities and allowing them space and freedom instead of micromanaging.
  3. Considering their needs and trying to meet them.
  4. Offering them space for emotional support and encouraging expression and self-care.
  5. Encouraging healthy boundary setting and work-life balance. 

In addition, emotional intelligence does not only benefit the individual’s mental wellbeing but is also capable of making a significant impact on organizational growth. 

  • Enhances interpersonal communication: The presence of emotional intelligence allows you to communicate openly yet respectfully. It can help in reducing workplace conflicts and encourage mutual respect for everyone. This plays an important role in group dynamics, fostering co-operation and open communication while working on a task together.
  • Increases workplace productivity and focus: When employees feel respected and valued, it creates a sense of belongingness with the team, within the organization. This results in increased productivity. 
  • Effective leadership and management: Managers who are emotionally intelligent and lead by compassion, create an eco-system of safety, growth,  and positivity. Leading by emotional intelligence allows Leaders to build long-term trustworthy relationships and resolve conflicts better. When Leaders lead by example, it encourages everyone to practice the same. Emotionally intelligent leaders are more adaptable and can effectively manage and lead through organizational changes, reducing resistance and facilitating smoother transitions.
  • Enhanced employee wellbeing: Emotional intelligence helps employees become better at emotional regulation, leading to better mental wellbeing and a more balanced work-life dynamic.
  • Higher employee engagement: Workplaces that focus and nurture emotional intelligence create a better trust and loyalty for the organization within the employees, resulting in better commitment and increased employee engagement. 

How can you build Emotional Intelligence?

  • Show up and be present 100%

This cannot be emphasized enough. When you are with someone or listening to someone, be with them 100%. Avoid using your phone, cutting them off mid-sentence, or being disrespectful. 

  • Ask what they need:

Instead of assuming, it is always a good option to ask what the other person needs. This creates openness and helps in forming a better connection with the other person. 

  • Offer them a listening ear and listen actively:

You will be surprised to see how many problems can be solved by themselves only if there is the right person who extends a listening ear and not a judgemental comment. Try not to give pieces of advice if the person is not asking for them. Listen completely before making any statement and offer them words of affirmation and support. 

  • Sign up for a program and learn from the professionals:

Mental Health Professionals are trained to help you manage your emotions and better and learn more deeply about them. It is a process where you get to learn and unlearn a lot of new things. Manah Wellness provides helpful programs to start your wellbeing journey and uplift yourself and others. 


  1. How do I know if I’m emotionally intelligent?

There are 2 ways to go about it. 

  1. By Checking in with yourself: You can assess how you feel around different colleagues when they share their challenges, how do you respond to them, what comes to your mind, how it makes you feel, and what kind of help or support you usually tend to offer. 
  2. By obtaining feedback from others: You can ask your friends/ co-workers what impression they have of you and how they perceive you. While these are all subjective opinions, collectively they can help you look at the larger picture and analyze your growth areas.

2.   Can Emotional Intelligence be developed or does it have to be an in-built trait?

Like many other abilities, emotional intelligence can also be developed and refined with the help of the right approach and the use of the right tools. It is true that some people do innately have emotional intelligence and do not have to do anything extra to understand others. But even if you do not have an in-built ability, you can break it down into smaller, achievable skills that you can learn by observation, (sometimes) training, and practice.

3. Can Emotional Intelligence be measured?

Yes, it can be measured both subjectively and objectively.

For subjective evaluation, behavioral observations are used during various situations. For example, a particular employee’s behavior can be observed and analyzed across situations such as team meetings, outings, and presentations. 

For objective evaluation, there are standardized self-report assessments that can be conducted with the help of a Mental Health Professional.