Why You Should Care About Emotional Intelligence
Nov 09, 2022 · 12 mins read ·Employee Wellbeing, People Management
As the world progresses, it reveals a situation where the Intelligence Quotient (IQ) or simply the human intelligence is merely not enough to achieve personal or even professional goals – this is where Emotional Intelligence (EI) comes into the picture.
As Sun Tzu wrote, “Treat your men as you would your own beloved sons. And they will follow you into the deepest valley.” Become the leader who cares! It’s 2022 – don’t bottle up your feelings, learn to identify, accept, express (responsibly, of course), and communicate! (Also, teach your employees to do so too.)
What is emotion?
First of all, let’s talk about emotions. (Come on, don’t be shy!) What are emotions? The Greek philosopher Aristotle defined emotions as “all those feelings that so change men as to affect their judgments, and that are also attended by pain or pleasure…” To put it simply, emotions are what drive a person to act based on what they are feeling towards a certain situation.
Don’t act like you don’t have emotions – every single human being on this planet can feel. Whether you see something that reminds you of your childhood or when a browser page takes too long to load and you’re way past your deadline – emotions are there responding to the situation.
Emotions are commonly divided into two categories: The positive and the negative. It’s simple, really – positive emotions typically make you feel good while negative emotions make you feel the opposite.
For example, a number of people don’t like adapting to change whether in the workplace or in their lives and that results in negative emotions. Luckily, here are our tips to help you handle those situations.
We all know the workload that managers and HR employees have, so you might think that you have too much on your plate to prioritize your employees’ or even your own emotions – but here’s the thing, emotions play a significant role in your company’s productivity.
The Britannica defines emotion as a “complex experience of consciousness, bodily sensation, and behavior that reflects the personal significance of a thing, an event, or a state of affairs.” Emotions are connected to the human senses.
Whatever we see, hear, taste, touch, and smell, we respond through our emotions. Now, let’s get on with how to manage them.
What is emotional intelligence?
Since humans are emotional beings – feelings are part of our everyday lives – many of us have a hard time controlling, expressing, and even identifying emotions. Emotional Intelligence is commonly known as the set of skills on how you handle and manage your emotion as well as awareness of others’ emotions.
According to the dictionary, it is the ability to understand the way people feel and react and to use this skill to make good judgments and to avoid or solve problems. EI can be used for better relationships both at home and at the workplace.
As a manager, if you have this ability to understand your employees’ emotions, you can help them achieve their career, and even company, goals by influencing them to do something they didn’t think they were capable of doing.
Also, you can help them tap into their better selves by inspiring them just because you made them feel seen and heard.
Plus, you can use this to maintain and develop relationships within the workplace. You can help form a workplace where almost everyone is comfortable with speaking their mind (Imagine all the ideas a working team can create and execute!)
In a 2019 interview with an Emotional Intelligence in Leadership instructor Margaret Andrews, she implied that EI is “critical” in building and maintaining relationships as well as influencing others. Andrews emphasized that these are the “key skills” that help people develop their career.
In addition to this, research also suggested that people with higher Emotional Quotient (EQ) are more innovative and have a higher job satisfaction.
Why should you care about emotional intelligence?
In this fast-paced world, it’s very easy to see past different emotions, positive or negative, as we go on about our lives – but if we do this, we’re simply not aware of the negative effects it can have on everyone around us.
How does caring about EI change your perspective even if the situation calls for the contribution of the IQ? Well, let’s tackle the four components of Emotional Intelligence that will definitely help in building a more compassionate workplace for you and your employees.
Read more: How to Create a More Compassionate Workplace
According to a blog post by Harvard, self-awareness is the “core of everything.” It is one's ability to recognize emotions and the effect they have on you and the people around you. With this, you can also identify your triggers, strengths, and limitations.
When you are self-aware, you recognize your own patterns of behaviors and motives through peer feedback and self-assessment – which can greatly contribute to the improvement of your performance in the workplace.
In a lot of scenarios, a self-aware leader can lead a team to greatness. Why? Because you know when it’s time to continue or when it’s time to stop. You recognize your strengths and weaknesses, you know where to put yourself accordingly, and you’re not afraid to be called out by your employees or peers because you know that you are also a human being – not a robot.
Word for self-awareness: Reflect
Self-management is the ability to manage your emotions, especially in stressful situations, while still maintaining a positive attitude despite the problems that have occurred. This is where response instead of reaction takes place.
Many of us are used to reacting quickly to a stressful situation, but when we know how to manage ourselves, this reaction is replaced by response. Self-management also gives you the ability to think before you act.
As a manager or someone who works in HR, you need to know when to react and when to respond. As workplace conflicts arise in your company, many leaders are drawn to reacting to the problems immediately, but if you develop self-management, fires can be easily put out by thinking before acting. (Remember, being stressed out also takes energy, so be sure to put it to good use!)
Word for self-management: Control
Relationship management is the ability to develop and maintain good relationships, communicate clearly and effectively, influence and inspire others, cooperate and resolve conflict effectively.
When conflict arises in the workplace, many managers and employees tend to avoid it – but there are consequences when a conflict is not properly addressed. It can even lead to poor performance and resignation. This is where tough conversations are placed in the picture.
Don’t be afraid to reach out to employees involved in a conflict; you can help them develop their relationship management skills by teaching them to communicate effectively. However, as a manager, you should also know how to be cooperative, how to clearly communicate what you need, and influence others to do the same.
Keep in mind that it is better for your employees to speak their mind than to just sweep it under the rug (this also involves you) – a better and more comfortable workplace can be achieved by just maintaining good working relationships.
Don’t forget this ever-lasting quote: Communication is key!
Word for relationship management: Communicate
According to Margaret Andrews, social skills are “what separate a great manager from a good one.” These skills build and maintain healthy relationships in your life. If you have strong social skills, you understand other people and use those skills to move them towards a common goal.
A leader knows how to motivate a team to work towards a target and with great social skills, this can be more easily achieved. Look at it this way – how can you push your employees towards an end result if you don’t talk to them or even know their last names? Make them feel like they’re part of a team, inspire them!
Use your social skills to learn more about them, build a healthy relationship with them and maintain it.
As human beings, our time alone is limited – we are always communicating with one another. A strong social skill set can lead to positive developments not only in the workplace but also in one’s personal life.
If you want to help employees attain better work-life balance, read this.
Words for social skills: Inspire/influence
Why you should care about EI: conclusion
Emotional Intelligence plays an important role in the workplace and understanding it plays an even bigger role. As someone working in HR, if you begin to develop these skills, apply them, and inspire others to do so, then you’re on your way
Employees and you (their manager) are human beings and human beings are very complex. It takes time to develop and understand these skills especially when being able to say what you feel is still new to you – but remember that a small step is still a step!
To summarize: Emotional Intelligence or EI is an overlooked set of skills that can make you, your employees, and your workplace better. By putting EI in your list of skills to develop, you can lead your team or company to greater heights. (And even greater heights if you influence your employees to also develop their EI!)
As a manager, you are expected to lead your employees – remember that leading is different than just instructing them to do something. By developing EI you can be the role model your employees need to see for your organization to progress.
So, don’t forget to Reflect, Control, Communicate, and Inspire!