The amount of talk has greatly increased about the need for emotional intelligence (or EQ) in the workplace. Many are saying that it is even better to have high EQ than high IQ – which is probably correct. Having greater amounts of stress in today’s organization makes it essential for business leaders especially to have a high EQ.
Understanding Emotional Intelligence
Emotional intelligence, in its simplest form, understands your own emotions as they appear. You recognize them within yourself, learn to manage them, which helps you understand how other people feel. Recent studies reveal that being successful at both life and work requires having a high EQ – which is even better than having a high IQ.
How High EQ Is Revealed
People that have high EQ are going to be noticeably different than those with a low EQ. Some of the more easily detected evidence will be that those with a high EQ will:
- Think about their words before speaking.
- Control or limit their reaction to their emotions (by seeking to control their thoughts).
- Seek to be authentic (able to express their real feelings and thoughts clearly – letting personal values govern their words)
- Able to motivate themselves (they do not depend on others for it – which leads to greater satisfaction and happiness)
- Able to feel empathy (they can understand what others are experiencing even if they have never experienced a similar situation – helping them to be slower to judge)
- Have better social skills than most (they show this by listening actively, having good eye contact and body language, and are friendly – but can still provide leadership as needed).
- Know how to apologize when wrong.
In today’s workplace, current situations can easily lead to discomfort and dissatisfaction. COVID-19 has caused a lot of it, but so have other factors. A shortage of employees means that some are likely working harder than before and possibly spending longer hours at work – which causes increased tension. Racial problems have also increased.
When leaders have a higher EQ, they can help to defuse these tensions much of the time (but not always). Leaders with a low EQ may only add to the tension if they are prejudiced, impatient, cannot see another person’s point of view, react with anger, or cannot consider criticism as possibly being helpful.
Advantages of EQ in the Workplace
In addition to using emotional intelligence to defuse situations, there are also several powerful advantages of having it. When leadership has a good amount of EQ, they can also help take your business forward in several ways:
- They set a better model of self-control – controlling wrong or hurtful emotions, which enables them to control their words – even under pressure.
- They recognize discouraging or angry thoughts within themselves (and others) but they can control them and even replace them with better ones.
- They know how to develop strong relationships, which enables them to work well on a team and provide a positive influence through good communication skills.
- They can praise others freely when earned.
Tips to Improving EQ in the Workplace
People can learn to develop emotional intelligence but they will first have to see a need for it. One of the best ways to do this is to encourage your managers and employees to ask questions that help them to evaluate their feelings and reactions through the day that influences what they say or do. They also need to consider whether or not they are genuinely trying to understand what others are saying – even if it is critical.