Emotional intelligence (EQ) refers to a person’s ability to understand and manage his or her emotions. Though often difficult to fully understand the cause and impact of emotions, researchers are beginning to recognize the important role they play in employee-employer relationships and work performance. According to Dr. Travis Bradberry, “When emotional intelligence (EQ) first appeared to the masses, it served as the missing link in a peculiar finding: people with average IQs outperform those with the highest IQs 70% of the time.” Why is emotional intelligence important and how can it make a difference in the workplace? Find out what you need to know about emotional intelligence at work and discover six things organizational leaders can do to boost EQ.
What is emotional intelligence?
People who exhibit high levels of emotional intelligence are self-aware, confident, and empathetic. Employment agency Michael Page explains the key elements of emotional intelligence:
Self-awareness. For example, understanding your strengths and weaknesses and managing your time effectively.
Self-management. Maintaining positive emotions in the face of failure, acting with integrity, and exploring solutions productively.
Empathy. Keeping others’ feelings in mind.
Social awareness. The ability to build relationships and influence people.
Recent studies show that more than 95% of HR managers and 99% of employees strongly believe in the importance of emotional intelligence in the workplace. Additionally, more than 1 in 5 employees said that emotional intelligence in the workplace is more valuable than IQ and 65% said they are equally important.
Why you need to hire talent with high EQ
To ensure your business hires the right kind of candidates, it’s important to look for people who already possess the qualities needed to be engaging, open, and transparent. For example, workers with high emotional intelligence are better equipped to collaborate, adapt to change, and listen to feedback. “No matter how many degrees or other on-paper qualifications a person has, if he or she doesn’t have certain emotional qualities, he or she is unlikely to succeed.”
But even workers who naturally have high EQ will need to regularly assess their actions and consciously practice emotionally intelligent behaviors. Encourage employees to take note of how they react to change, challenges, and failures and “be more rewarding to deal with.” In other words, more cooperative, trusting, resilient, positive, and objective.
Six EQ-boosting strategies for managers
Fortunately, there are a number of things organizational leaders can do to embolden emotional intelligence in the workplace. Emotional intelligence begins with open and honest communication and working well with others. According to Dr. Bradberry, here are six practical strategies managers can use to boost EQ:
Don’t ignore the feelings of others. Emotions are powerful and can either help propel—or inhibit—action. Help your team members by listening to their ideas and feelings and help them feel understood.
Monitor your own emotions.Learn how you react in different situations and take note of how your emotions influence your own behaviors.
Let go of grudges and know your stressors.Grudges are a big ball of negative emotions, stress, and energy-tapping worry. Avoid holding a grudge to improve your health and productivity.
Get adequate sleep and rest.It’s hard to be in control of your emotions when you’re tired. Research shows that attention and memory are also negatively impacted when you don’t get enough quality sleep.
Be more positive.Try mindfulness and maintaining a positive outlook in order to solve problems under pressure and maintain good relationships.
Show appreciation.Acknowledge team members when they do a good job. A little praise and recognition goes a long way in building loyalty and happiness.
Embolden emotional intelligence at work
Boosting emotional intelligence in the workplace starts with hiring the right candidates and clearly communicating company values to your workforce. Asure Software’s outsourced HR services assist you through the entire employee lifecycle – from finding and on-boarding the right people, to developing their skills and managing performance.