July 21st, 2021

The power of emotional intelligence in the workplace

"Emotions can lead to our worst decisions or our best ones; the difference is emotional intelligence"

Emotional intelligence has twice the power of IQ to predict performance.  Emotional intelligence is also a more powerful predictor than employee skills, knowledge or expertise. 

So what exactly is emotional intelligence?  It's the ability to use emotions effectively.  A lot of organisations are using tools to select and promote employees who are emotionally intelligent as it's a powerful means of competitive advantage.  Emotional intelligence competencies are measurable and learnable and can be improved with training and coaching.

Many companies have proved that recruiting emotionally intelligent people in areas such as customer services, sales and executive leadership have provided competitive edge and success.  They have also proved the ability to reduce costs through lower employee turnover, reduced absenteeism and low performance. There is clear evidence that emotionally intelligent leaders are more successful. At PepsiCo for example, leaders selected for emotional intelligence competencies generated 10% more productivity. High emotionally intelligent sales staff at L'Oreal brought in additional $2.5M sales.   An emotional intelligent initiative at Sheraton helped increase market share by 24%.  The bottom line is that emotionally intelligent leaders foster a workplace climate that is conducive to higher productivity. 

Emotional intelligence assists with engaging people, interacting and influencing across functional and geographical boundaries and cultures, being proactive, caring for customers, building enduring relationships and creating workplaces that excel.

There are five key elements to emotional intelligence:

1. Self awareness

2. Self-regulation

3. Motivation

4. Empathy

5. Social skills

So as a leader how can you improve some of these elements?

1. Self awareness

  • When you feel angry or other strong emotions, slow down and examine why you feel this way.  Remember no matter how difficult or challenging the situation, you can always choose how you react to it. 
  • Keep a journal - it can be a useful way to record thoughts and emotions that come up throughout the day and help you become more aware of them and how you react to them.

2. Self-regulation

  • Know your values - if you know what is important to you, then you won't have to think twice when you face a moral or ethical decision. You will make the right decision. 
  • Hold yourself accountable - if you tend to blame others when things go wrong, then stop.  Acknowledge your mistakes and help identify ways to resolve the situation. People will like and respect you more if you take this approach.
  • Keep calm - the next time you are in a challenging situation monitor how you react. Instead of shouting at people, breathe deeply as this will help you relax and give you time to think about the most appropriate response.

3. Motivation

  • Be clear on why you are doing your role - what makes you happy with it and gives you satisfaction in the role.  Too often we forget the good things and only focus on the challenges we face and issues on our plate.   
  • If you need help with motivation, seek out the appropriate resources that will support you.  This could be in the form of training, a good mentor or coach, or building appropriate networks that support you in what you are trying to achieve.
  • Adopt a mindset that is optimistic.  This may be hard at times but there is always something positive in every challenge faced e.g. a key learning or longer term benefit

4. Empathy

  • Put yourself in other's shoes.  This is a critical skill in leadership. Looking at situations from other people's perspectives helps broaden thinking and opportunities to develop effective solutions to problems.
  • Recognise and respond to others feelings.  Being able to see how others are responding to situations and being able to empathise with them will make them feel better and more understood.  

5. Social skills

  • Develop your conflict resolution skills as this will improve communications and help resolve challenges and issues that pop up.  
  • Do you know how well you communicate?  Look at opportunities to improve communication within and outside the team.
  • Be inspiring - give praise and recognise good work when it is done. This will help generate loyalty and trust and make people feel good about working for you.

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By Mary Murray | Posted in: Leadership , Leadership , Leadership , Leadership , Effective Teams , Effective Teams , Effective Teams , Effective Teams | 0 Comments

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