Leadership - Communication

Emotional Intelligence At The Workplace

Emotional intelligence is crucial in and out of the workplace. It begins with the capacity to notice all of our thoughts and emotions without getting stuck in them and turn toward each other with empathy and compassion.

Sep 28 2020

  • In the workplace, emotional intelligence comes down to understanding, expressing and managing good labour-relationships and solving problems under pressure.

  • Developing EQ at the office can bring efficient benefits such as better collaboration among employees, greater happiness and employee satisfaction, boosting productivity and job performance of our staff.

The concept of Emotional Intelligence was introduced to the world by psychologist and science journalist Daniel Goleman by 1995.

Since then it has always been considered an essential skill. Today, in this volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous world, loaded by intense emotions, stress, isolation and disconnection, it has become a necessity to build a well-balanced personal and work-life.

What is emotional intelligence?

Emotional intelligence -or emotional quotient, or EQ- is the ability to be aware, understand and manage our own emotions and internal experiences, and turn towards our relationships with empathy and compassion.

It has five components which include:

Self-awareness: understanding yourself, knowing your weaknesses, strengths, drivers, values, and the impact you have on others.

Self-management or self-regulation: controlling your reactions, emotions, and behaviours.

Motivation: our drive, our passion, optimism and energy to improve.

Empathy: understanding others' feelings.

Social skills: genuinely building relationships with others, managing relations between people and groups, and moving them in desired directions.

12 actions to enhance and improve emotional intelligence

  1. Think of and recognize your feelings. Be aware of your thoughts, emotions and their impact in yourself and others.
  2. Make a pause, take a moment to stop and think before you act or speak.
  3. Endeavour to control your thoughts and acts. We cannot control our emotions and feelings, but we can govern our reactions, avoid becoming a slave of our emotions and live in harmony with our goals and values.
  4. Learn from negative feedback. It is a chance to ask ourselves: How can this make me better? What can I improve?
  5. Show authenticity by saying what you mean and meaning what you say. Stick to your principles and values above all.
  6. Demonstrate empathy by understanding others' thoughts and feelings, connecting with them, and trying to see things through their eyes.
  7. Tell compliments, appreciate and focus on the good in others.
  8. Listen and help others.
  9. Provide helpful feedback and avoid hurting others. Reframe criticism as constructive instead of harmful.
  10. Apologize and say "I'm sorry"; it demonstrates humility and how we value relationships more than our ego.
  11. Heal, forgive and forget will allow you to move forward.
  12. Keep your word and make it a habit.

Benefits of developing EQ at the workplace

Emotional intelligence is useful, valuable and constructive in and out of the workplace. At the workplace, it comes down to understanding, expressing and managing good labour-relationships and solving problems under pressure.

It can bring efficient benefits such as better collaboration among employees, greater happiness and employee satisfaction, and it contributes to better job performance.

EQ training can also boost employee productivity and achieve better evaluations from managers.

Employees with high emotional intelligence and employees managed by high EQ leaders are associated with higher job satisfaction.

Some examples of emotional intelligence at the office are:

  1. An upset employee having a bay day finds compassion and support among the manager and coworkers.
  2. Attendees actively listen to each other during meetings, without interruptions and allowing others to participate and express themselves.
  3. Staff feels free to express their emotions and share them with colleagues.
  4. Change initiatives are taken seriously and succeed. There is no resistance to change.
  5. Managers and executives offer flexibility to their teams, understanding workers needs, and helping them to find the right work-life balance.
  6. Managers who allow their employees to "think outside the box", being innovative and creative.

Any of these examples and situations allow employees to increase focus and calm, manage their emotions and make deliberate and skilful decisions. Also, to increase resilience and avoid burnout, enhance creativity and innovation, and build connection and collaboration among their teams.

"Everyone is about as smart as everyone else, and how people manage themselves and their relationships gives the best and edge."(Goleman, 2012).

What distinguishes true leaders is mostly their level of emotional intelligence and how they help to develop a more effective workplace.

For emotional intelligence to be productive, it has to start with ourselves. We should understand and be conscientious of the impact we have on others, and how our actions may affect and rebound among our stakeholders (colleagues, directors, suppliers, etc.).

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