Emotional intelligence is a hot topic for conversations regarding HR and workplace wellbeing. No wonder – it is one of the key tools for navigating on a day-to-day basis, being productive and socially involved.
However, there are a lot of misconceptions regarding what emotional intelligence really is and why employees and HR managers should really pay attention to it.
This article intends to explain the basics of emotional intelligence and its impact on the workplace.
What is Workplace Emotional Intelligence?
Emotional Intelligence (aka EQ or EI) is an informal term used to describe various emotion-related interpersonal skills and ways of using them in certain situations.
Overall, it is all about controlling your emotional state, i.e., “keeping your cool” and knowing where it is fitting to let your emotions show themselves.
What makes Workplace EQ important?
- EQ allows identifying and managing the emotional state and its influence on day-to-day work and interpersonal relations.
- It helps avoid hard edges that may occur in the process, i.e., conflicts, challenges, etc.
Five elements comprise Emotional Intelligence skills. These are:
- Self-awareness – ability to understand one’s state and position and act accordingly without inciting conflicts or confusion;
- Self-management – ability to control oneself and one’s workflow without excessive supervision or micromanagement;
- Intrinsic motivation – a set of skills that allows specialists to stay focused on achieving current and overarching goals and moving forward;
- Empathy – i.e., understanding another person’s experiences from within their perspective and providing emotional support;
- Social skills – i.e., all sorts of interactions ranging from water-cooler talks to weekly status updates, negotiations, and public speaking.
The term “Emotional Intelligence” was coined in 1995 by Daniel Goleman in the study of professional interpersonal relations. Since then, it became a staple of human resources practices and an essential quality in considering the vacant positions’ candidates.
Why Does Workplace Emotional Intelligence Matter?
The purpose of emotional intelligence is simple – to keep an individual whole and fully-functional in the specific environment and enable his proper social interaction without causing a commotion of any sort.
- As such, emotional intelligence is a set of self-mediating tools for better task management and teamwork.
- In other words, workplace emotional intelligence is about keeping things cool and reasonable.
Professional communication needs to serve the purpose and present the expected results, i.e., solutions.
However, human beings tend to emote. Sometimes, these emotions stand in the way of productive work.
The reasons may vary:
- Differences in interpretations;
- Shifting priorities;
- Bias towards a subject matter.
These things may result in situations that can be frustrating, demotivating, and, worst-case scenario, conflict-inflicting.
- If gone uncontrolled, these situations can further disrupt the working process and cause serious consequences (up to firing a specialist and restarting the hiring process while experiencing productivity losses).
EQ Impact on Teamwork and Task Management Explained
Let’s look a closer look both at task management and teamwork as handy EQ examples.
- The role of emotions in task management is auxiliary, but it seriously affects the workflow nevertheless.
- For example, some tedious routine tasks require a lot of time but do not involve much creative effort.
- This aspect may be frustrating, but this task enables the realization of other, more fulfilling duties, so it’s a tie.
- The solution is to do the job, acknowledge its benefit to others more creative tasks, and not make the tragedy out of it.
- On the other hand, there is teamwork.
- In one way or another, interaction with other people, often with different mindsets, is one of the prerequisite features for any position. As one of the central elements of professional activity – it requires keeping everyone on the same page.
- The critical requirements for the said interaction are purposefulness and effectiveness.
- If done right – everything’s going smoothly, and you don’t really pay much attention to the manner of interaction. That’s a sign of EQ applied correctly.
- If not – you’re setting grounds for an impending conflict that may disrupt the workflow and cause a variety of consequences. Small signs of it are an annoyance, confusion, miscommunication, and aggressive arguing.
Workplace Emotional Intelligence Benefits Explained
Let’s talk about Workplace Emotional Intelligence benefits in detail. There are two main reasons why HR managers need to keep an eye on employee’s emotional intelligence and invest in its training.
- Fully-developed Emotional Intelligence skills affect employee’s job satisfaction and influence employee motivation and self-regulation skills.
- EQ also greatly helps to deal with work-related “wear and tear” and subsequent burnout.
The other significant benefit of workplace eq is its impact on job performance. Job satisfaction leads to a drastic transformation of job performance. In other words, an employee is more likely to put effort into accomplishing a task.
Let’s take a closer look at how Emotional Intelligence affects job performance:
- Emotional stability – managing emotions, staying reasonable, and tolerating work-related stress;
- Self-awareness – staying diligent, setting priorities properly, and controlling impulses;
- Openness (aka extraversion) – staying open-minded to new ideas and changes and also being open to people, and establishing productive relationships with others;
- Empathy – expressing support and understanding to other people’s causes, etc.;
- Self-efficacy – combining emotions with reasoning, coping with task-related requirements, and comprehending the scope of the job;
- Self-assessment – ability to inspect your job performance, identify its strong and weak points and determine the change strategy to get better;
Emotional intelligence is one of those things that seem like a no big deal. Yet, it manages to affect every aspect of the working process in one way or another.
- This article covers the basic aspects of the concept – what it is and why it matters.
- In our future articles, we will talk about expressing emotional intelligence in interviews and covering different EQ aspects in detail.
If you need a consultation regarding workplace emotional intelligence or need help with assessing one in your company – our HR consultants can help you.