It is very important to understand that emotional intelligence is not the opposite of intelligence, it is not the triumph of heart over head–it is the unique intersection of both. -David Caruso
Emotion can be a two edged sword in the workplace.
Of course there are all the positive emotions that you can feel in the workplace: friendship, achievement and happiness in your work.
Then there is the downside: jealousy, self-deprecation and sadness for feeling like you’re in the wrong job.
Emotion is a hard thing to define, and to quantify.
You can turn people’s performance into so many figures on a spreadsheet, but you can’t chart out what their emotional reaction or investment in any given situation will be.
Your intelligence can be tested, and you can receive a figure for your IQ.
People have tried to do the same for an EQ, but there hasn’t been much success.
Just because it can’t be measured doesn’t make it less important.
If anything, it makes it more important: because people can’t quantify it they don’t properly respond to it.
A workplace that has emotional intelligence can be a happy place to work, which will help to provide better social and business relationships and have positive benefits for achievement.
A workplace with poor emotional intelligence can become toxic, leading to unproductive rivalry and bickering.
Here are ten things you can do to make sure your workplace is Emotionally Intelligent.
1. Perceive Emotions
- The first thing you need to be able to do is read people’s emotions. Their work may be fine, they may say they are fine – but they may not be fine.
- Reading emotions in people’s faces and voices is fine, but you also need to know their normal behaviour – and what it means when that behaviour changes.
- To be able to understand the emotions of other people in your workplace, you need to get to know them – even if they work in a call center.
2. Use Emotions
- The prevailing mindset seems to be that it’s unprofessional to be emotional at work. If that emotion manifests itself as outbursts or work avoidance, then it is unprofessional, but emotion is a tool to be used.
- Successful professionals don’t repress their emotions: they channel them. We’ve all had work situations where we have felt ‘really in the mood to do this right now.’ Someone with emotional intelligence will recognise their moods, and use them to help solve problems.
- Something as simple as working out a daily or weekly schedule where you know the time of day that you are best at accomplishing different tasks can have a hugely positive outcome.
3. Understand Emotions
- Understanding emotions isn’t the same as perceiving them. You can see that someone is upset, but understanding why is more difficult.
- Someone could be upset because they have problems at home, health issues, feel frustration at the task they’ve been set or even feel undervalued. Sending someone home because they’re ill is fine, sending someone home because they feel undervalued could be disastrous.
- Emotions change and evolve, and are linked to a huge number of other emotions. Sensitivity to those emotions can help to solve problems in the workplace, rather than just exacerbating them or making them worse.
4. Manage Emotions
- Managing people’s emotions is like managing their expectations. Things are often never as good as they would like or as bad as they fear they will be.
- Emotions shouldn’t be repressed, but they do need to be regulated in a professional environment. Excitement needs to be regulated just as much as apprehension does.
- In a workplace, you don’t only need to manage other people’s emotions, you need to manage your own. Know when your emotions are about to get the better of you, and harness those emotions to help you achieve your goals rather than letting them overwhelm you.
5. Be Self Aware
- As important as perceiving, using, understanding and managing emotions in others is – it is even more important to see, manage, understand and use your own emotions.
- If you can identify the strengths, weaknesses, drives, values and goals of others then you need to identify those things within yourself.
- Just as you are aware of how other people’s emotions have an impact on you, assess how your emotions impact others. You might want to run on a gut feeling, but your team might not run with you unless you make your emotional reasoning clear.
- Heraclitus said ‘change is the only constant’ over 2,500 years ago. Change is going to happen – and the emotionally intelligent person adapts to that change rather than simply reacting to it.
- When something unexpected happens, it can either be a crisis or an opportunity. Much of that depends on your emotional reaction to it. If you react as if something that happens is the worst thing ever, people around you will believe it too.
- If you can control and redirect your disruptive emotions and impulses when something unexpected happens, a disaster can be turned into a learning opportunity. If you make a mistake and learn from it, it can often be beneficial and help you avoid bigger mistakes further along the way.
7. Be socially skilled
- Business is built on relationships, whether it’s between business and customer, business and business or even just the relationships between people who work together.
- The best workplaces are the ones where people work towards a common goal and there is a sense of community. Team-building exercises exist to bridge the gap between being just work colleagues and being a cohesive unit.
- Nurturing, managing and understanding relationships that work (and don’t) in the workplace is necessary to move people in the right direction. A seating plan may seem arbitrary, but it can have a huge impact on happiness and productivity.
- Decisions have to be made in business that are not beneficial to everyone. When you are placed into this situation, then it is important that you can empathise with the other person, and how they will feel.
- If you empathise with them, and talk with them, then there is a good chance that they will empathise with you and understand why you made the decision. If you don’t empathise, they will feel unappreciated – and so may other members of staff.
- Thinking about people’s feelings is often hard, because they are so nebulous. Stopping free soft drinks in the office may make financial sense, but depending on the environment, it might cause a huge negative effect on morale and productivity.
- If you understand the people you work with, you can understand what motivates them. If you are self aware then you also know what motivates you. If you are socially skilled, then you can make the same things that motivate you, motivate the people around you.
- People are motivated by things like pride in a job well done, being appreciated, achieving personal goals and having made improvements in their own skills. Those things are a lot cheaper than financial bonuses, and can be much longer lasting.
- People need to be motivated by keeping positive energy up. If you want a positive workplace, then you have to look at a positive attitude up the management structure. The vision for a company needs to be seen clearly at all levels.
10. Be better
- People with better emotional intelligence have better relationships, a better sense of well being, are seen in a more positive light by others and generally have a sense of psychological well-being.
- If you set out to create an emotionally intelligent workplace, then you are setting out to make a better workplace, and for the people in that workplace to become better. You are also seeking to better yourself, and your interactions with others.
- Make a commitment to be better. Be better to yourself. Be better to your colleagues. Be better to your customers. Be honest and make genuine connections and you will see genuine results.
When you properly understand people, you can deliver what they need.
Being intelligent is great, a high IQ means that you can process raw information, collate data and process it.
Without an understanding of people, turning all of that knowledge into even simple relationships like buying and selling can be difficult.
If you have IQ and Emotional Intelligence, then you boost.
About the author
Zachary Jarvis is a Digital Marketer with one thing on his mind: Results.
Uninspired by the never ending talk of ‘vanity metrics’ in the world of digital marketing, Magnate was founded – the ‘Social-First’ marketing agency.
On the very rare occasion he isn’t watching Step Brothers in his spare time – you’ll find Zachary in the thick of social platforms, learning what makes us tick.
This is driven by a fascination (perhaps a slight obsession…) with market trends and consumer behaviours.