Emotional Intelligence: Why is it Crucial in the Workplace?
By April Rose Cañete on 10 September 2018
Are you easily demotivated by challenges at work? Can you lose yourself in the midst of work stress and pressure? Do you have trouble optimizing your strengths and learning from your weaknesses? Do you find it hard to manage your emotions?
Emotional intelligence – a term created by researchers Peter Salavoy and John Mayer – refers to one’s ability to recognise, understand and manage our own emotions as well as those of others.
So, how does emotional intelligence play a role in the workplace?
It develops self-awareness
Self-awareness may be one of the most underrated and undeveloped skills in the workplace. But, it can be extremely beneficial to reflect on how you behave at work and interact with your colleagues around you. A moment of self-evaluation can enable you to learn from past mistakes and begin taking steps to better your interactions with colleagues and clients alike. People with higher emotional intelligence tend to be better at looking within when a complicated issue arises and using it as a chance for self-improvement instead of pointing the finger.
It builds stronger leadership skills
Leadership skills and emotional intelligence go hand in hand. Truly knowing your colleagues’ preferences and recognising their strengths allows you to lead employees more efficiently. A leader with a high EQ can be a positive influence as they tend to lead by example instead of fear, inciting respect and loyalty. They are also less inclined to discriminate based on personal bias or opinions which helps them to be impartial when delegating tasks.
It improves your level of resilience
Industries are fast evolving in this age of technology which inevitably leads to change in the workplace. Emotionally intelligent people are capable of recognising the need for change and adapting quickly. They are also affected less by pressure and can detach from personal issues during work hours. Maintaining balance between your work and personal life occurs naturally if you are able to build your resilience and not sweat the small stuff. It should also clear your head, which allows you to focus and remain more motivated at work.
It allows you to make sound decisions
Emotional intelligence encompasses various traits such as sensitivity, empathy and authenticity. These are all beneficial in making decisions in today’s diverse and multicultural society. The ability to consider the desires, needs, and capabilities of all parties involved before making a judgement call is invaluable in order to achieve equality and efficiency in the workplace. In contrast, those who lack these skills may make decisions based on personal bias or their emotions which can lead to discrimination and inequality in a business.
Emotional intelligence is considered a crucial soft skill. It makes sense, considering many workplace conflicts can arise due to cultural differences, misunderstandings and a lack of empathy. Companies are starting to seek cultural fits rather than putting a high emphasis on past experience, so your intellect will only get you so far.
If you think about it, you have nothing to lose by learning to co-exist and be more compassionate at work, but so much to gain.