In a recent survey conducted among hiring managers, a staggering 75% highlighted the importance of an employee’s emotional intelligence (EI or EQ) over their IQ. The reason? Emotional intelligence directly correlates with higher productivity and increased job satisfaction—ultimately playing a pivotal role in retaining valuable talent within organizations.
Emotional intelligence revolves around perceiving and effectively managing emotions, a skill that can be honed and integrated into various facets of life, particularly in the workplace.
However, embedding emotional intelligence into the workplace isn’t as simple as hosting a Friday afternoon workshop accompanied by acai bowls (though, we wouldn’t oppose that idea!). Developing EQ involves cultivating and consciously maintaining healthy habits—an ongoing process that demands effort and dedication.
Here are some actionable strategies for refining and nurturing these invaluable skills within the professional sphere.
What is Emotional Intelligence?
First things first, what is emotional intelligence? EQ can be broken into four different levels:
- Perceiving emotions
- Reasoning with emotions
- Understanding emotions, and
- Managing emotions
What are the Best Practices for Developing Emotional Intelligence?
Reflection and Assessment: Encourage individuals to introspect, so they understand their emotions, strengths, and areas for improvement.
Mindfulness Practices: Promote techniques that encourage reflection, such as debriefs, meditation, or journaling, to foster self-awareness and emotional regulation.
2. Social Influence
Empathy Cultivation: Foster understanding and empathy towards colleagues’ emotions and perspectives, promoting a collaborative and inclusive environment and diversity of thought.
Effective Communication: Encourage clear, empathetic communication to bridge emotional gaps to build stronger relationships.
3. Solutions Management
Conflict Resolution Skills: Equip employees with the ability to navigate conflicts constructively, focusing on resolution rather than escalation.
Stress Management Techniques: Provide resources and strategies to manage stress, fostering a conducive and healthy work environment.
How to Develop Emotional Intelligence in the Workplace
Now that we’ve reviewed what emotional intelligence is and how it leads to success let’s dive into how you can bring it into your company culture.
Educate Your Team on EQ
How can employees practice emotional intelligence if they don’t know what it is? We suggest educating your team on what EQ is, how they can practice and strengthen their EQ skill set, and how these skills can contribute to their success.
Consider presentations, workshops, or classes. Read on to learn more about our culture operations packages!.
Assess Your Team’s Needs
Leaders can focus efforts by investing time in reviewing where the company culture excels and where it can be improved. For instance, leaders may notice that the giving and receiving of feedback can be improved in their workplace, and implementing the right methods can positively impact company culture by meeting the needs of their team.
Read on to find more information about our wellness resources.
Prioritize Active Listening
Simply put, active listening is the practice of making a cognizant effort to pay attention and fully engage in a conversation. This can take the form of paraphrasing to show understanding, using nonverbal cues such as nodding and eye contact, as well as practicing curiosity to guarantee alignment in communication.
Provide Purposeful Feedback
Feedback is an essential part of improving a company and company culture, but can get tricky. To provide feedback using a high level of emotional intelligence, we recommend being in a mindset that the feedback is an opportunity to feed forward. Leaders and teams can get better together, collectively, if they lean into this mindset by using some of the following tips.
By opening with a question, those who are giving feedback encourage a discussion rather than starting with a negative statement. This can help those who are receiving feedback feel heard and that they can participate in the conversation instead of simply being told they’re doing something wrong.
Describe a Specific Behavior
When giving feedback, leaders should discuss specific behaviors or examples to pinpoint where an employee’s opportunity to learn and grow is. If the feedback given is too vague, the employee may not know what to improve or how to improve.
Those providing feedback should explain the full context of the situation, including the impact it has on the business or their team. This gives the individual receiving feedback an understanding of why they are receiving these notes and how they can adjust their behavior.
For example, if an employee doesn’t understand the context or impact of a particular behavior, they may feel surprised or that they are being nit-picked. When provided with context, an employee can understand why the behavior may not be beneficial and, therefore, be more open to adjusting.
Try To Understand Their Perspective
Feedback should be a discussion. By asking questions and stepping into the employee’s shoes, those providing feedback can understand why the other person made specific choices.
Further, those receiving feedback would likely appreciate the opportunity to explain themselves in an open, safe space, so as to not feel attacked.
Leaders Should Model Behaviors
Leaders can inspire the rest of the team by actively sharpening their own EQ skills. For instance, management can use active listening skills and make an effort to accept criticism themselves and respond accordingly. In addition, leaders who can provide clear direction and articulate the needs and expectations inspire and encourage teams to identify and commit to the needs and wants so collective change can happen.
Want Help Bringing Emotional Intelligence Into the Workplace? We Got You!
At Culture Works, we provide the processes to operationalize the culture and EQ you want in your company. Our services include culture, talent and HR assessments, culture operations, recruiting, and consulting.