- Nicky Webster-Hart
Why emotional intelligence is a sign of future workplace potential
You know who we mean, those people who are just cool and seem to handle everything with grace. The ones that get where you’re coming from, without you having to say a lot. This is because they may possess a certain skill set in spades, emotional intelligence (EQ). Put simply, it’s the ability to learn about yourself and apply that wisdom to the world around you.
Emotional intelligence also enables you to relieve stress, empathise with others, communicate effectively, manage conflict, and overcome problems. As a leader in a pressured workplace, stress of projects and the angst of your colleagues can sometimes reach uncomfortable levels which is why someone with a strong EQ has potential to succeed.
EQ is also essential to conflict management, which involves having the ability to help others through tense situations, tactfully bringing disagreements into the open, and defining solutions that everyone can endorse. Additionally, this emotional intelligence helps us analyse and think creatively while engaging our emotions to resolve problems. Using your emotional intelligence in the workplace can help you be a more productive and effective employee, leading you to greater professional success.
Harvard Business Review agrees, .. “when managers ignore emotional culture, they’re glossing over a vital part of what makes people—and organizations—tick. They may understand its importance in theory but can still shy away from emotions at work. Leaders expect to influence how people think and behave on the job, but they may feel ill equipped to understand and actively manage how employees feel and express their emotions at work. Or they may regard doing so as irrelevant, not part of their job, or unprofessional.”
Research suggests that a high EQ is associated with an array of benefits from improved and generally speaking has 5 elements:
If you are self-aware you can recognise your triggers, identify your strengths, and see your own limitations. Being self-aware can also mean you’re humble — we’re all only human, after all. One of the first steps toward utilising emotional intelligence skills in the workplace is to practise recognizing your own emotions. Self-awareness involves being aware of different aspects of yourself, including your emotions and feelings.
If you can self-regulate, your emotional reactions are in proportion to the given circumstances. You know how to pause, as needed, and control your impulses. You think before you act and consider the consequences.It also means you know how to ease tension, manage conflict, cope with difficult scenarios, and adapt to changes in your environment.
People who possess good self-regulation are able to adapt well to changing situations. They don't bottle things up; they wait for appropriate ways to express their emotions rather than reacting impulsively.
Research on emotion psychology suggests that people with high EQs also have strong social skills. Because they are adept at recognising other people's emotions, they are able to respond appropriately to the situation. Social skills are also highly valued in the workplace because they lead to better communication and a more positive company culture.
Employees and leaders with great social skills are able to build rapport with colleagues and communicate their ideas effectively. People with good social skills are not only great team players, but they are also able to take on leadership roles when needed.
If you’ve developed your social skills, you’re adept at working in teams. You’re aware of others and their needs in a conversation or conflict resolution. You’re welcoming in conversation, using eye contact, verbal communication skills, and open body language. You know how to develop a rapport with others or express leadership, if the occasion calls for it.
If you’re intrinsically motivated, you have a thirst for personal development. You’re highly driven to succeed, whatever your version of success looks like. You’re inspired to accomplish goals because it helps you grow as a person, rather than doing it for outside rewards like money, fame, status, or recognition.
Money, status, and acclaim are great, but people who are highly successful in the workplace are usually motivated by something more than that. They are passionate about what they do. They have a commitment to their work, they love taking on new challenges, and their enthusiasm can seem contagious. They don't give up in the face of obstacles and they are able to inspire others to work hard and persist in order to achieve goals.
In conversations, you can understand where someone is coming from. You can “walk a mile in their shoes,” so to speak. Even if the exact scenario hasn’t happened to you, you can draw on your life experience to imagine how it may feel and be compassionate about what they’re going through.
You’re slow to judge others and possess the awareness that we’re all just doing the best we can with the circumstances we’ve been given. When we know better, we do better.
In the workplace, empathy allows you to understand the different dynamics between colleagues and supervisors. It also allows you to recognise who holds power and how it influences the behaviours, feelings, and interactions that flow from such relationships.
Why is emotional intelligence important?
Humans are social animals and we’re wired for connection. The more we can build positive relationships and develop cooperative connections, the more enriching our lives may be.
So why is emotional intelligence a sign of work place potential?
It stands to reason (and I believe there is some research that supports this) that emotional intelligence influences how well employees interact with their colleagues, and EQ is also thought to play a role in how workers manage stress and conflict. It also affects overall performance on the job. Other studies have linked emotional intelligence with job satisfaction.
Studies have shown that employees with higher scores on measures of EQ also tend to be rated higher on measures of interpersonal functioning, leadership abilities, and stress management.
But emotional intelligence is not just for CEOs and senior managers. It's a quality that's important at every level of a person's career, from college students looking for internships to seasoned employees hoping to take on a leadership role. If you want to succeed in the workplace and move up the career ladder, emotional intelligence is critical to your success.
Emotional intelligence is widely recognized as a valuable skill that helps improve communication, management, problem-solving, and relationships within the workplace. It is also a skill that researchers believe can be improved with training and practice. Some people have emotional intelligence naturally, while others need to work a little harder at it. It’s well worth the effort you put in, though, as it can improve many areas of your life.
If you’re ready to take the next step, ask if your workplace has emotional intelligence training. Businesses - your ROI for EQ training with your team is certainly worth it so invest in your future work force talent.
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