With a high degree of emotional intelligence, also known as emotional quotient (EQ), in the workplace, a person uses social skills, self-awareness, motivation and self-regulation to acknowledge, comprehend, regulate and reason using the emotions. By incorporating the different human emotions into the workplace, your employees will collaborate better, and the workplace will be a happier environment for everyone.
What is emotional intelligence?
Emotion psychology defines emotional intelligence as recognizing and understanding your emotions and those of others. By using emotional understanding, you can make decisions, solve problems and communicate more effectively. There are four levels of EQ, which include:
- Perception of emotions
- Reasoning with emotions
- Understanding emotions
- Management of emotions
People used to consider intelligence and emotions as opposites. However, the interlocking of the two has been a major area of interest. The ways that thinking and emotions interact influences how people behave and make decisions.
When professionals are unable to understand and handle emotions, it creates problems for businesses. You might be familiar with the longstanding advice that urges professionals to leave emotions at the door when they arrive at work. But that negates appropriate acknowledgment of the fact that people are emotional.
What are the elements of emotional intelligence in the workplace?
Several foundational components of emotional intelligence are essential to understand for better performance in the workplace:
- Social skills: Social skills are necessary to guide people effectively in a specific direction and influence them in any particular way. Social influence is critical to the relationship-building that is necessary for these aims.
- Self-awareness: With self-awareness, you want to know your strengths, weaknesses, values and the impressions you have upon others, which are, in essence, an essential part of good intuition. When you have self-awareness, you may appear confident and receptive to constructive criticism.
- Empathy: Empathy implies having an insight into the emotional state of others. With emotional intelligence, an understanding of emotions is critical when making decisions. Empathy has specific applications in business. These include sensitivity to cross-cultural differences, retaining top talent and hiring outstanding employees and the ability to help people develop professionally.
- Self-management: When you can put self-management into practice, you display an ability to redirect disruptive moods and impulses. Self-regulation means not allowing emotions to get the best of you. With emotional intelligence, you can reframe your feelings with positivity and align them with your passions. For example, in business, when things don’t turn out as you would like or your team makes a mistake, the urge might be to scold the team because of the failure. However, with EQ, you can see the error from an objective stance and look at all the causes. Then, you can make sure your team understands the consequences and consider alternative resolutions with them.
- Motivation: With motivation, there is a sense of accomplishment, and reaching goals is enjoyed for the sake of the achievement alone. A motivated, emotionally-intelligent individual works with passion and portrays an optimistic perspective to management. There is intrinsic energy to continue improving oneself and the business.
Why is emotional intelligence important?
Each day, you must make decisions, and most of them are influenced in some way by your emotions. You may feel that option B is better than option A , and understanding the verb “feel” is critical to understanding how emotions affect the decision-making process. We often make choices based on a gut feeling. If you have a high EQ, you can understand the emotions of others, manage and convey your own, form healthy relationships and solve problems efficiently – even with the weight of deadlines and other pressures.
When there is low EQ in the workplace, people tend to not take responsibility for mistakes. It’s harder for people to work together as a team. When communicating, people are either passive or aggressive and not assertive. Another noticeable characteristic of weak emotional intelligence at work is an inability to accept constructive criticism. However, with high EQ, particularly for employers, they solve problems better and make suitable decisions. People with high emotional intelligence tend to keep a level head under pressure, display greater empathy and listen, reflect and react appropriately to the opinions of others.
Benefits of emotional intelligence at work
Emotional intelligence in the workplace begins with the individual. The first step is to become self-aware. It involves recognizing various aspects of yourself, like your feelings and emotions.
Once you’ve taken stock of your feelings, then you want to regulate the things you are feeling. Outstanding self-management means you can adapt effectively to situations as they change. You don’t hold anything in or bottle up your emotions, but at the same time, you don’t react impulsively. The benefit of emotional intelligence at work is that you can express feelings appropriately in constructive ways.
Since social skills are a critical component of high EQ, the overall company culture improves in the workplace as individual team members focus on developing high emotional intelligence. With excellent social skills, teams work together with more solidarity and better communication.
The benefit of empathy is not solely in perceiving the way others feel, but it is also a way to recognize your reactions to expressions of emotion. Emotional insight reveals dynamics between employees and management. Empathy allows you to see how those power dynamics affect interactions and behaviors within those relationships.
Emotional intelligence is also essential to conflict management in the workplace. The benefit of emotional intelligence in situations of conflict is that you can often establish a middle ground in disagreements. By paying attention to how others respond to one another, you can try to help people feel heard, which in turn, will help them be more willing to compromise.