Why is emotional intelligence important at work?

Emotional intelligence is important at work so you can perceive, understand and manage both your own emotions and others. Being able to manage emotions gives you the ability to guide and help people, and can help you to be happier and successful.

What is emotional intelligence?

This concept began to spread in 1995 thanks to the American psychologist Daniel Goleman, when he defined it as "the ability to recognize our own feelings and those of others, to motivate us and to manage relationships properly". In 1998 he published the book "Working with Emotional Intelligence", and then he transferred this concept to the corporate world.

Why is emotional intelligence important in the workplace?

Goleman, in his studies, said that, in the future, the Intelligence Quotient (IQ) can be replaced by the emotional quotient (EQ): a high Emotional Quotient helps you build relationships, reduce team stress, calm conflicts and improve job satisfaction. Emotional intelligence, therefore, is important for everyone who wants to be prepared to develop a thriving career.

According to Daniel Goleman, it is not the intellectual quotient or technical skills, but emotional intelligence (and its 5 components) that allows the best leaders to maximize their performance and that of their followers. He affirmed: "The directors are hired for their intellect and business skills but they are fired for their lack of emotional intelligence".

Components of emotional intelligence

Here are the 5 key elements that Daniel Goleman gives to emotional intelligence:

  1. Self-awareness
  2. Self-regulation.
  3. Motivation.
  4. Empathy.
  5. Social skills.

In addition, as he explains, for a leader, the better he handles each of these areas, the greater his emotional intelligence is. So, let’s look at each element in detail and examine how you can grow as a leader.

1. Self-awareness

Being self-aware when you are in a leadership position also means having a clear idea of our strengths and weaknesses, and also behaving with humility.

2. Self-Regulation

Leaders who exhibit good self-regulation rarely have angry outbursts, make snap or emotional decisions, stereotype people, or compromise their values. Self-regulation is about keeping control.

3. Motivation

Self-motivated leaders work toward their goals with determination and have extremely high standards for the quality of their work.

4. Empathy

For leaders, empathy is essential to manage a successful team or organization. Empathetic leaders have the ability to put themselves in someone else’s shoes, help their team members develop, challenge those who act unfairly, offer constructive comments, and listen to those who need them.

If you want to earn the respect and loyalty of your team, show them that you care about them by being empathetic.

5. Social skills

Leaders who do well with the social skills of emotional intelligence are excellent communicators. They are open to hear both bad news and good news. They are also experts at getting their team support and get them excited about every new mission or project.

Leaders with good social skills are also good at managing change and resolving conflicts diplomatically. They are rarely satisfied with leaving things as they are. But don’t sit down and make others do the work: they set an example with their own behavior.

What happens when there is little emotional intelligence at work?

Low emotional intelligence can cause a variety of problems in any area of a company. Some of the most common problems are:

  • Negative emotions: People are overwhelmed and controlled by a wide range of negative emotions: anger, concern, shame, disappointment, fear, and guilt.
  • Negative Perceptions: Those who experience negative emotions often have negative perceptions. They may feel weak, underestimated and/or powerless.
  • Behavioral problems: People become unable to control negative emotions, which causes behavioral problems such as uncontrolled outbursts and impulsive reactions.
  • Poor communication: Effective communication does not exist. Low emotional intelligence often leads to misunderstandings.
  • Reduced Proactivity: Leaders and workers become less proactive when they deal with emotions, decisions, and/or productivity.
  • Lower performance: All of the factors above result in poor individual and teamwork performance. Employees do not work fast and are more likely to make critical errors that slow down production.

Examples of emotional intelligence at work

Leaders have an unwavering vision of what needs to be done and do not need an external impulse to achieve their goals. A great leader is one who is able to outline the place of each team member in the broader scheme of things. And they value the role subordinates play in leading the organization to success.

You can take steps to become a great leader by cultivating qualities such as vision, others' motivation, responsibility, and social skills.

The job of a consultant is to comprehensively capture and evaluate situations, advise companies and thus bring them to economic success. In the consulting industry, interaction with clients requires a high level of understanding and sensitivity to their needs.

In professional life, emotional intelligence plays an increasingly important role and is one of the key competences for professional success.

Are you prepared to foster your company’s emotional intelligence?

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