9 Clear Signs That You Have Low Emotional Intelligence At Work 2023

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Emotional intelligence in the workplace begins from the inside out with each individual. It involves recognizing various aspects of your feelings and emotions and understanding how it affects others by working on self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy, and social skills.

In this article, we’ll be looking at the nine clear signs that you have low emotional intelligence at work. See the table of contents below.

What Does It Mean To Have Low Emotional Intelligence?

Emotional intelligence, often called EQ, refers to a person’s ability to recognize, understand and manage his emotions. It can further be said to be the critical ability to sustain an interpersonal relationship not just on the basis of knowledge but on the basis of mutual respect for one another.

Psychologists Peter Salovey and John D. Mayer, two leading researchers on the topic, define emotional intelligence as the ability to recognize and understand emotions in oneself and others. This ability also involves using this emotional understanding to guide your thinking and understanding of others.

The absence of emotional intelligence or rather low intelligence depicts one’s inability to accurately perceive emotions (in both yourself and others) and to use that information to guide your thinking and actions.

When someone has a low EQ, it can present itself in many ways. Below are a few classic signs of people with low emotional intelligence.

SEE ALSO: 10 Proven Ways to Motivate Yourself for Work even at all Odds

Does Emotional Intelligence Matter In The Workplace?

The importance of emotional intelligence in the workplace can’t be overstretched. Being emotionally intelligent in the workplace allows you to guide and help people even when it contravenes your individual.

According to a report from the American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education, it has been proven that a strong propensity for emotional intelligence in the workplace increases one’s ability to make sound decisions, build and sustain collaborative relationships, deal effectively with stress, and cope with a greater degree with constant change. Succinctly put, it enables an individual not only to perform well in the workplace but also to accomplish various other goals and objectives in his or her life.

Being able to handle emotions gives you the ability to guide and help people. Here are several reasons why emotional intelligence is important in the workplace.

  • Being emotionally intelligent allows you to comprehend nonverbal communication. You have the opportunity to correct an issue before it becomes a problem. For example, if you observe a coworker showing nonverbal symptoms of melancholy, you may pull them aside to find out what’s up.
  • Understanding emotions enables you to be self-aware of your own feelings. You can utilize this ability to modify your conduct before it causes a problem for a customer or coworker. If you know you had a bad night before, you may try to modify your behavior by shifting your attention to more pleasant feelings.
  • Practicing emotional intelligence will help you develop strong interpersonal skills that can help your team and inspire your whole company. Emotions are contagious, and showing explicit motivation, empathy, responsibility, and teamwork could encourage your team to follow along.
  • Having an emotionally intelligent workforce promotes growth. When people are empathetic and understanding of each other’s emotions in the workspace it makes it easier to make decisions and complete tasks more efficiently.
  • Actively displaying emotional inteligence abilities such as patience, active listening, positivity and empathy can help you advance to a leadership role.

READ ALSO: 10 Secrets Of People Who Love Their Jobs

What Are The Signs of Low Emotional Intelligence At Work?

Individuals with low intelligence at work often find it difficult to manage or curtail the signs of low intelligence. Here are a few signs to watch out for in people with low emotional intelligence.

#1 They always want to be right

People with low EQ always strive to prove a point even when they are glaringly wrong. This way, they refuse to listen to what the other person has to say and are ready to argue to the death that what they have in mind is right and yours wrong.

They must win at any cost, and it is difficult for them to “agree to disagree.” This is especially true if others are critical of how the individual does not comprehend how others feel. People who lack EQ form an opinion quickly and then succumb to confirmation bias, meaning they assemble evidence that supports their opinion and disregard any evidence to the contrary.

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#2 They don’t care about the other person’s feelings

Many people with low EQ are unconscious of others’ feelings. They may be genuinely surprised that their partner is angry at them or that their co-workers don’t like them. 

They don’t care to know how the other person feels. All they are concerned about is their satisfaction.

#3 They behave insensitively

For the most part, people with low EQ are insensitive to the plights of others. They always fail to consider the appropriate timing of saying things.

For example, they might say something insensitive in between a serious meetings. If you choose to react to their out-of-line response, they act as if you’re being overly sensitive.

Because of their difficulty in understanding the emotions of others, they are unable to interpret and appropriately respond to the emotional tone and atmosphere.

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#4 They blame others for their problems

People with low emotional intelligence always dread taking responsibility for their bad actions. They always look for a way to pin it on the other person.

When something goes wrong in the workplace, they first blame it on someone else.

For example, if they happen to bump into you in the restroom, they’ll never apologize for not knocking on the door but rather blame you for leaving the door open.

SEE ALSO: Performance Anxiety at Work: How best to Go about it at Work

#5 They have poor coping skills

An obvious inability to cope with emotionally charged situations indicates low EQ. Strong emotions, whether their own or those of others are difficult to comprehend for those with low emotional intelligence.

These individuals will often shy away from these circumstances to avoid dealing with the emotional fallout.

#6 Frequent emotional outbursts and mood swings

The ability to regulate emotions is one of the key components of emotional intelligence. People with poor EQ frequently fail to discern and manage their emotions. They may respond irrationally, not knowing what they are truly experiencing or why they are so unhappy.

A person who lacks emotional intelligence is most likely to experience emotional outbursts at any slightest occurrence. This mood swing can go on to last for minutes, even hours.

#7 They struggle with relationships

People who lack emotional intelligence find it difficult to build and maintain friendships. Close friendships need reciprocal give and take, emotional sharing, compassion, and emotional support, all of which low-EQ persons often lack. People with low EQ, on the other hand, typically come across as harsh and unfeeling.

#8 They always want to dominate the conversation

Emotionally unintelligent people tend to control the conversation. Even if they are asking questions and appear to be listening intently, they always find a way to shift everything back to them. Usually, they claim that whatever you’re experiencing, they’ve had it better or worse.

#9 You often feel misunderstood

When you lack emotional intelligence, it will be difficult to understand how you come across to others. Oftentimes you’ll feel misunderstood because you don’t deliver your message in a way that people can understand.

Even with practice, emotionally intelligent people know that they don’t communicate every idea perfectly. They catch on when people don’t understand what they are saying, modify their approach, and re-communicate their idea in a way that can be understood.

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How Can I Improve My Emotional Intelligence In The Workplace?

While emotional skills may come naturally to some people, there are things you can do to help improve their ability to understand and reason with emotions. This can be practically helpful in the workplace, where relationships and business decisions often rely on the interpersonal understanding, teamwork, and communication.

Here are a few helpful tips that can help you improve your emotional intelligence in the workplace:

#1 Become more self-aware

One of the first steps toward building your emotional intelligence skills in the workplace is to practice recognizing your own emotions. Being self-aware entails being aware of many parts of oneself, such as your emotions and feelings. It is a fundamental component of emotional intelligence. To notice your emotions and comprehend what is generating them, you must first be self-aware.

#2 Practice self-regulation

Next to self-awareness is self-regulation. By practicing self-regulation, you master the art of managing your feelings. Employees who possess good self-regulation can adapt well to changing situations and circumstances. They also adopt the most appropriate ways to express their emotions without undermining the next person.

#3 Improve social skills

Research on emotion psychology suggests that people with high EQs also have strong social skills. Because they can recognize other people’s emotions, they can respond properly to the situation. Social skills are cherished in the workplace because they lead to better communication and more positive company culture.

Employees and leaders with great social skills can build rapport with colleagues and communicate their ideas effectively. People with good social skills are not only exceptional team players, they are also good leaders.

To boost your social skills, you have to learn to listen to what others have to say; pay attention to nonverbal communication, and hone your persuasion skills.

#4 Become more empathetic

Empathy is one of the cores of emotional intelligence. Emotionally intelligent people are good at stepping into the next person’s shoes to understand how the person feels about a certain issue.

This way, you get to see things from the other person’s point of view and also pay attention to how you respond to others.

READ ALSO: How to Accept a Job Offer: Best Tips and Sample Letters

#5 Work on your motivation

Intrinsic motivation is another important aspect of emotional intelligence. People with high EQ are more driven to attain their goals for their own reason. They want to accomplish things because they find them gratifying and they are enthusiastic about what they do, not because they are looking for external benefits.

When your motivation is intrinsic, your commitment to work is unalloyed. Additionally, you’ll derive joy in taking up challenges that will inspire others to work.

FAQs On Emotional Intelligence At Work

What is emotional intelligence?

Emotional intelligence often referred to as EQ refers to a person’s ability to recognize, understand and manage his emotions.

Why do I need emotional intelligence in the workplace?

Being emotionally intelligent in the workplace allows you to guide and help people even when it contravenes your individual.

Does emotional intelligence in the workplace affect productivity?

Being emotionally intelligent in the workplace is useful as it boosts relationships and business decisions that often rely on the interpersonal understanding, teamwork, and communication.


As an emotionally intelligent person, you don’t have to change who you are to communicate with the next person. The key to finding common ground is empathy and flexibility. The more willing you are to listen and understand the next person’s point of view, the more your emotional intelligence level increases.


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Ajah Excel is a team growth and performance expert with over nine years of experience in blogging and personal development.
He leads a team of 36 crazy, restless innovators with an enviable work culture at Silicon Africa Technologies Limited – a fast-rising tech firm from the SouthEast.
Excel is the founder of Kiiky.com and WriterGig.
He is also the co-organizer of TEDx Ikenegbu and convener of Social Media Fest.
He is a vibrant learner who yearns to share his knowledge to educate and inspire young Africans.
He has a B.Tech in Information Management Technology with certifications in growth hacking, effective communication, leadership, team, and personal development, to mention a few.
Ajah Anayochukwu Excel is a passionate public speaker, creative writer, and brand storyteller.

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