When it comes to leadership and work effectiveness, emotional intelligence (EQ) can matter as much, if not more, than IQ. It can also matter most when it comes to building relationships and connecting with others.

A tall order for many. Still, when you master being aware of your emotions and the emotions of others, you can connect and empathize with peers and co-workers much more cohesively to reach solutions faster.

Like many things in life, increasing your emotional intelligence and becoming a more effective human being takes practice. You can start by applying these six useful tricks. 

1. Put yourself in the other person's shoes

Good leaders think about their colleagues' circumstances, understand their challenges and frustrations, and know that those emotions are every bit as real as their own. This helps develop perspective and opens team members to helping one another. A true recipe for success.

2. Share a current struggle

The pandemic forced leaders to embrace vulnerability and showcase a new level of humanity in the workforce. By sharing what you're struggling with, asking for help, and being transparent, your team will follow suit -- and together you can work toward creative solutions more effectively and efficiently.

3. Show curiosity

Taking into account all the digital exchanges we have in the course of a workday, what can we as leaders do to humanize our interactions, draw people to us, and build trust? It comes down to one word: curiosity. Research has found that curious people are known for having better relationships, and other people are more easily attracted and feel socially closer to individuals who display curiosity. 

4. Stop judging others

Since judgmental people criticize anything and everything as if it were a hobby, they shouldn't expect anyone to come to them for advice or problem-solving (others know it's a total waste of time to do so). What a judgmental attitude will do is alienate colleagues at work. If this is you, your best plan of action is to stop jumping to conclusions before hearing all the facts and start listening intently to improve your communication skills. Remember this: When we judge, we invite judgment upon ourselves.

5. Never put on a mask that hides your true emotions

Leaders exhibiting high EQ don't wear masks. I say this because a common tendency of people in management roles is to put on a mask that hides who they truly are or what they're currently feeling. This may happen when insecure leaders order people around or forcefully command attention with a false charisma. It could happen when they sweep the truth under the rug as a result of a fear of failure. On the flip side, emotionally intelligent leaders connect with people by showing up with their best selves: with integrity, emotional honesty (vulnerability), and authenticity. 

6. Put patience into practice

Leaders with a high degree of emotional intelligence use their patience to their advantage. They have the learned capacity to process a situation about to go south, get perspective from many voices, listen to someone they disagree with without judgment, and hold back from reacting head-on. By thinking over things with a rational mind, you'll eventually arrive at another, more sane conclusion, which greatly helps you to diffuse conflict and establish better relationships with people.