In a survey of hiring managers, nearly 75% of respondents stated they value an employee’s emotional intelligence (EI or EQ) over their IQ. Why? Emotional intelligence is linked to more productive and satisfied employees… Hello, retention!
Emotional intelligence refers to the ability to perceive and manage emotions. This skill can be improved and strengthened as well as brought into different aspects of one’s life – like the workplace!
However, bringing emotional intelligence into the workplace isn’t as easy as a Friday afternoon workshop with acai bowls. (Although, we certainly aren’t against that!). EQ is the building and cognizant maintenance of healthy habits. It takes work.
Read on to learn how to sharpen and maintain these skills in the workplace!
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
The term “emotional intelligence” was first coined by psychologists Peter Salovey and John D. Mayer in 1990. Five years later, science journalist Daniel Goleman wrote a best-selling book titled Emotional Intelligence followed by Emotional Intelligence 2.0 in 2019.
In Emotional Intelligence 2.0, Goleman expanded on EQ and broadened the definition of the term. Goleman split emotional intelligence into four crucial areas:
- Relationship Maintanence
- Social Awareness
Let’s take a look at how these skills can contribute to success.
How Can Emotional Intelligence Lead to Success?
EQ can help individuals refine communication, increase problem-solving abilities, build relationships, defuse conflict, and improve productivity. Through these benefits, emotional intelligence helps individuals become successful and satisfied in both their personal lives and in the workplace.
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 through 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.
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 verbally inserting short affirmations.
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 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. 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 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 culture and EQ you want in your company and through its leaders.. Our services include culture, talent and HR assessments, culture operations, recruiting, and consulting.