What is emotional intelligence for Assistants?

As an Executive, Personal or Administrative Assistant, understanding and cultivating emotional intelligence (EI) is critical for long-term success. What is emotional intelligence for Assistants? EI refers to the ability to recognise, interpret, and respond effectively to one’s own emotions and the emotions of others in interpersonal relationships.

Developing this competency can bolster your ability to build meaningful connections with stakeholders at all levels, including your Executive while fostering workplace relationships which are respectful and conducive to productivity. In this article, we will cover emotional intelligence and why it is important to Assistants.

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What is emotional intelligence?

According to Daniel Goleman, emotional intelligence comprises self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy, and social skills.

  1. Self-awareness: This refers to the ability to recognise and understand our own emotions, as well as the impact they have on our thoughts, behaviours, and interactions with others. Self-awareness involves being honest with ourselves, acknowledging our strengths and weaknesses, and understanding our triggers and patterns of behaviour. It gives us a clearer understanding of who we are and how we show up in different situations, which helps us make better decisions and manage ourselves more effectively.
  2. Self-regulation: This emotional intelligence component involves managing and controlling our emotions healthily and constructively. It’s about pausing and thinking before reacting impulsively and managing our stress, anger, and frustration positively. Self-regulation also involves adaptability, flexibility in the face of change, uncertainty, and composure in challenging situations.
  3. Motivation: Emotional intelligence also involves harnessing our emotions to drive and motivate ourselves towards achieving our goals. It’s about having a sense of purpose, setting realistic and meaningful goals, and being persistent and resilient in the face of setbacks. Motivation also involves delaying gratification, managing our impulses, and staying focused on our long-term objectives.
  4. Empathy: Empathy is the ability to understand and share the emotions of others. It’s about putting ourselves in others’ shoes, listening actively to their perspectives, and responding compassionately and understanding. Empathy allows us to build strong relationships based on trust, respect, and mutual understanding, and it helps us navigate conflicts and disagreements more effectively.
  5. Social skills: Social skills are communicating effectively, building relationships, and working well with others. It’s about expressing ourselves clearly and assertively, listening actively to others, and constructively resolving conflicts. Social skills also involve being able to adapt our communication style to different audiences and situations and being able to work collaboratively in diverse and multicultural teams.

Now that we’ve covered the five components of emotional intelligence let’s look at some exercises and practices that can help strengthen our emotional intelligence muscles. Here are a few tips from Debra Coleman, Host of the Have A Seat…Conversations With Women In The Workplace Podcast.

Practice self-reflection

Reflect on your emotions, thoughts, and behaviours. Ask yourself why you feel a certain way, how your feelings influence your actions, and what you can do to manage them more effectively. Journaling, meditation, and mindfulness practices can also help you develop greater self-awareness.

Develop self-regulation techniques

Find healthy ways to manage and regulate your emotions. This could involve deep breathing exercises, taking breaks when you feel overwhelmed, or finding healthy outlets for stress such as exercise, hobbies, or talking to a trusted friend or mentor.

Cultivate empathy

Practice active listening skills and try to understand others’ perspectives without judgment. Show empathy towards their emotions and experiences, and try to respond with compassion and understanding. This can help you build stronger relationships and improve your communication skills.

Build social skills

Improve your communication skills by practising effective listening, assertive communication, and conflict resolution techniques. Look for opportunities to collaborate with others, work on team projects, and build relationships based on trust.

Emotional intelligence (EI) is a vital skill for any Assistant, enabling them to effectively and sensitively understand their own emotions and the emotions of others.

The ability to read a situation, moderate language accordingly and strategically build relationships integrates with an Assistant’s professional skillset. Further, cultivating emotional intelligence can lead Assistants towards greater success both in their current roles and in possible career development as they seek new challenges.

Ultimately, Assistants who recognise the critical importance of EI take the time to develop it and are proactive in actively engaging with it through each interaction. If you’re inspired to explore your potential to cultivate EI, why not consider enrolling on The Assistant Mindset Online Course? Our comprehensive training will help transform your approach to work and increase your confidence in mastering the demands of an Assistant role.