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5 Ways for Administrative Assistants to Enhance Emotional Intelligence

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July 19, 2021

Emotional intelligence, also known as EQ, is the ability to be aware of and effectively manage emotions and relationships, both in the workplace and in your personal life.

EQ centers on how we handle ourselves, self-manage and regulate emotions, and how we handle relationships. Fortunately, training in emotional intelligence is possible! It is a skill that can be nurtured and improved upon with an abundance of self-evaluation and hard work. 

Let’s dive into Daniel Goleman’s five fundamental principles of emotional intelligence. 

#1 Self-awareness 

The ability to know your emotions, strengths, weaknesses, values, and goals and recognize their effect on your peers. Being self-aware in the workplace means having a clear understanding of your strengths and weaknesses

How can administrative assistants improve their self-awareness?

Ask for feedback from coworkers about how they think you handle high-pressure situations at work. Constructive feedback from trusted sources helps build self-awareness and gives you a new perspective on how you react in certain scenarios. 

Once you’ve gotten their feedback, think about how you felt in that situation, and how you would change your reaction or emotion if you could go back. The next time you’re in a stressful setting, you’ll have an inventory of your emotions, giving you a better option to react accordingly.

#2 Self-regulation 

Self-regulation involves “controlling or redirecting one's disruptive emotions and impulses and adapting to changing circumstances.” Leaders and assistants who maintain strong self-regulation rarely lose their cool, avoid placing stereotypes on others, or make impulsive decisions. 

Self-regulation also emphasizes the importance of accountability, especially in the workplace. 

How can administrative assistants boost their self-regulation?

Try to identify emotions and reactions that aren’t useful in stressful situations, and brainstorm ways to replace them with something more positive. Is this challenging? Absolutely! High-pressure deadlines and stressful situations are a regular occurrence in administrative jobs, so regulating your emotions and rolling with the punches only works well if you acknowledge your negative emotions and feelings and rewire them.

#3 Motivation 

The interest in learning, improving, and the strength to persevere in the face of adversity. In the workplace, a motivated individual displays the qualities of being task-oriented, excels at setting goals, and following through. They have high standards of quality of work, and often like to help others succeed.

How can administrative assistants reignite their motivation?

Acknowledge what you love about your job, and determine what tasks or responsibilities excite you, make you feel challenged and empowered. Focusing on the parts of your career that help you grow professionally will reignite the motivation to keep going. 

Once you know which areas of your profession you enjoy, set out to find new skills to develop. Whether this is on your own time or within your current role, taking on different tasks is a sure-fire way to create motivation to keep learning and growing.

#4 Empathy 

Allows you to successfully see things from someone else’s point of view and manage a group of people (or one person) with compassion. For administrative assistants, empathy can mean helping others by working with them and actively addressing their concerns.

How can administrative assistants build empathy?

In a high-pressure situation, or when you’re facing conflict with someone in the office, put yourself in that person’s shoes. It’s easy to understand your own emotions and reactions (if you’ve achieved self-awareness!) but attempting to understand someone else’s emotions can be eye-opening.

#5 Social skills 

Having social skills really comes down to being an excellent communicator. From managing and resolving conflict to delivering or receiving bad news, employees with strong social skills set a good example through action, not words.

How can administrative assistants enhance their social skills?

As an assistant to an executive, the task of relaying messages from executives to team members and employees often falls on you. If the executive is too harsh or tone-deaf, it can be good practice for you to re-work the language to ensure the message is received, but in a more productive, digestible way.

To be an effective administrative assistant and employee, maintaining a solid understanding of your emotions and reactions, as well as how they affect those around you, is crucial to personal growth. It’s not always an easy task, but it’s such a worthwhile one. Learn more about the Power of Emotional Intelligence here.

American Society of Administrative Professionals

Producer of

APCEA Summit  EA Ignite