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Emotional Intelligence in the Workplace

Having the correct skills for a job is a crucial part of any hiring process. You have to be able to navigate numerous programs and the tech to make your job as efficient as possible. A new type of skillset that’s gaining traction in the professional realm is ensuring that employees have emotional intelligence. Emotional intelligence (also referred to as EI or EQ for emotional quotient) is defined as the capacity to be aware of, control, and express one’s emotions, and to handle interpersonal relationships judiciously and empathetically.

While possessing the correct experience for the position is still a major factor, employers are increasingly taking into account the emotional intelligence capacity of applicants as well as their current staff, for many reasons.

Emotionally intelligent people know their limits.

A part of being emotionally intelligent, by definition, is to be aware of and control your emotions. Everyone has been in a work environment where there was a lack of self-awareness and perhaps, in some cases, a lack of control. Working with a team where even one member is easily frustrated or offended and takes out their emotions on others can drastically change the group dynamic. A team that has two or more members lacking these skills can be detrimental.

Emotionally intelligent people know their limits, and while they may still experience difficult emotions, they are aware of the limits and take time to step away. Likewise, if they begin to feel too strained or overwhelmed, they have the self-awareness to take a mental health day, or enjoy some of their vacation time. This is essential for maintaining a true work-life balance.

Emotionally intelligent people understand others’ limits.

Having the aptitude to take a step back and gain insight into someone’s intentions, evaluate any existing communicative strengths and weaknesses, and communicate effectively and honestly is a crucial part of being in a position of leadership.

Emotional intelligence requires you to behave empathetically. Empathy is rarely talked about in the context of the workplace, but it is still key. It is vital understand that you may not know the extent of their lives outside of work that may be impacting their mood, concentration abilities or overall productivity from day to day can inform a productive conversation about work quality and how to improve the situation.

Emotionally intelligence in coworkers minimizes internal stress.

The growing popularity in EI is largely due to the positive impact it has on the workplace. EI cultivates a culture of understanding, true teamwork, trust and responsibility. It eliminates internal stress and even when there are interpersonal differences, they are handled quickly and respectfully. This eliminates passive aggressive post-it notes, messages or strategically placed smiley-faces in emails. It eliminates work-place gossip. It drastically reduces the pressures that many have reported feeling from corporate leadership. This removal of stress lets employees do their work at their best.

Emotionally intelligent leaders make for a healthier workplace and happier employees.

It’s no surprise that having empathetic, self-aware coworkers and leaders in the office make for a happier workplace dynamic. Emotional intelligence is becoming seen as a skillset of its own. It’s being considered more and more valuable, as you can teach an employee how to learn programs and procedures, but it is far more difficult to teach emotional intelligence.

It’s not hard to see the many benefits of not only practicing emotional intelligence for yourself, but how powerful it can be in a workplace. We all strive to better ourselves and add value to our teams – developing your EI is a great way to start.

By Lauren Howe