Emotional Intelligence in the Workplace

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job tipsEmotional intelligence is the “ability to be aware of, name, and manage one’s emotions.” Beyond this, emotional intelligence in the workplace suggests an ability to understand the emotions of others and “relate to others in effective ways both personally and professionally in a wide range of contexts and roles.” Despite the misconception that decisions, particularly in the workplace, are made through reason and logic, it is actually true that “we decide 100 percent of everything emotionally and then spend hours, weeks or months underpinning these decisions with logical justifications.” In the workplace, candidates with a strong level of emotional intelligence are able to maintain a level of professionalism and adapt emotionally to accommodate a wide range of challenges. Emotional intelligence is the driver behind strong business deals, sales and marketing, and partner relationship – among many other professional situations.

Emotional Intelligence impacts the entire company

Strong emotional intelligence can be confused easily with “personality.” A good personality won’t indicate whether or not someone has strong emotional intelligence, though. Employees with emotional intelligence are able to manage their reactions with patience and maturity in most – if not all – presented situations and circumstances. When working with employees who have any type of public-facing impact, a low level of emotional intelligence can significantly harm the image of the company altogether. Nearly all communications professionals, for example, are only successful if they possess a high level of emotional intelligence, which translates into the way the communications strategy functions for the team as a whole. For any employee, though, emotional intelligence translates into stronger teams that function at a higher rate. In fact, emotional intelligence in companies has been linked to higher sales, better customer service, and superior leadership.

Skills associated with Emotional Intelligence

The impact of solid emotional intelligence can be difficult to track, but it is the foundation for countless soft skills in employees, including empathy and intuition, political acumen and social skills, self awareness and regulation, and self motivation and expectations. These traits are invaluable and should be interviewed for before filling any role, whether or not it is public-facing. Employees with emotional intelligence provide a stronger ROI when compared to employees with strong skillsets but who lack emotional intelligence.

Problems that surface from a lack of Emotional Intelligence.

Employees who lack emotional intelligence are often easy to notice. According to research conducted by the University of Washington, behaviors that exhibit this lack include:

  • Blaming others
  • ƒ Victim statements such as “If only he/she would . . .”
  • ƒ Inability to hear critical feedback
  • ƒ Diverse opinions that are not welcomed or valued
  • ƒ Passive, aggressive or passive-aggressive communication
  • ƒ Leaders who do not listen and become out of touch with those they lead

More important than IQ

Most can develop the skills needed to get a job done, but emotional intelligence is something that comes naturally – to a degree – and is far more challenging to develop than technical skills. Emotional intelligence translates into “coachability” and the way that people lead, resolve conflicts, and how they work with others. The business world is saturated with technology, indeed, but business by default is still built on people and relationships – and strong networks are ultimately a result of strong emotional intelligence.

Click here to read about another essential character trait that is often overlooked in the interview process.

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