Emotional Intelligence In The Workplace

Although emotions can be hard to control in our day-to-day lives, it is not impossible. In fact, it is critical to understand and practice emotional intelligence for various reasons – especially in the workplace. What exactly is emotional intelligence, why is it important to practice, why is it becoming a fast-growing topic of discussion?

Emotional intelligence can broadly be defined as the ability to identify and manage one’s emotions and the emotions of others. The process of emotional intelligence is important as it promotes strong communication with employees, allows for productive teamwork, and encourages an overall healthier and more focused work environment.

The concept and process of emotional intelligence has been emphasized in recent years. In a 2011 national study by Career Builder, data provided that 71% of hiring managers valued emotional intelligence over IQ. Stressing the importance of EI, 59% of employers mentioned that they would not hire someone with a high IQ but with low EI. As far as the comparison between IQ and EI, an astonishing 75% of hiring managers said they would choose the candidate with high EI over IQ.

So how can an employer identify individuals with high emotional intelligence? Below are some common characteristics of an individual with strong EI:

1. UNDERSTANDING AND COOPERATIVE — It is incredibly important for individuals to be able to work with others and contribute to a strong teamwork environment. People with strong emotional intelligence are more likely to be able to work with a diverse range of people, which is highly beneficial in our ever-changing, global society.

2. ABILITY TO HANDLE STRESS – The workplace can often be a high-pressure environment, which can often heighten our emotions and can decrease our ability to perform our jobs successfully. EI individuals tend to be able to handle stress more effectively and generally possess developed coping mechanisms to manage situations and obstacles in the workplace.

3. EMPATHETIC – EI individuals are more likely to focus on the task at hand, rather than letting their own emotions hinder their goals. Emotional intelligence permits people to be sensitive to other’s emotions, which in turn leads to trust and cohesion.

4. LISTENERS & OPEN TO FEEDBACK – EI people have the ability to control their emotions appropriately and they are typically more inclined to actively listen to feedback. They also possess the skill to accept feedback to improve oneself, rather than letting their emotions take center stage.

5. POSITIVE INFLUENCE TO FOLLOW – Emotionally intelligent people are thought to be good influences in the workplace for their fellow staff, due to their calm and professional nature. Undoubtedly, the ability to remain focused certainly gains respect and admiration from the others.

It is no wonder why so many companies are placing such an emphasis on staffing individuals with high EI. The above factors are not only positive attributes individually, but also in turn, are just as strong when working as part of a team. Emotions are more than feelings that we experience on a daily basis, but are essential to our happiness, our work performance, our relationships, and our overall well-being.