Employers are increasingly searching for employees who can manage their relationships at work in addition to completing job obligations.
Employees are taught to highlight their technical expertise and individual accomplishments on their resumes and during job interviews. However, a completely different skill set is emerging as being necessary to succeed at work, whether on your own or as a member of a team.
Leaders are more and more interested in “emotional intelligence,” or “EQ.” This set of skills entails our capacity to comprehend and control both our own and other people’s emotions, as well as how to apply this understanding to forge rewarding relationships.
Fundamentally, the caliber of our connections at work is important. People carry out work, and if you can’t manage your own and other people’s emotions, it will be very challenging to carry out job sustainably and productively.
Emotional intelligence is influenced by how you handle disagreements and failures, how you uplift others when they’re down, how you negotiate or accomplish goals. Your EQ is what enables you to succeed at work, get promoted, and be effective in your role.
Generally speaking, working in an emotionally intelligent way may entail adopting a new strategy; rather than focusing on to-do lists or productivity targets, it may entail prioritizing human relationships and our own and others’ feelings. Although it could be difficult to change one’s thinking, doing so can have tremendous advantages by raising morale, productivity, wellbeing, and personal influence—all qualities that employers today more than ever want.
What exactly is Emotional IQ?
Even though it may not be a perfectly realistic expectation, workers have historically been expected to keep their emotions under control at work.
Simply by virtue of being human, we are all emotional beings, and we cannot separate from that while working. Our work duties, coworkers, and even life outside of work can act as triggers for a variety of moods throughout working hours, from aggravation and discomfort to fulfillment and delight.
Simply by virtue of being human, we are all emotional beings, and we cannot separate from that while working. The Yale psychologists Peter Salovey and John D. Mayer created the hypothesis of emotional intelligence (EI) in 1990 in response to this. The competencies required for a high EQ were later separated into four domains by psychologist Daniel Goleman: self-awareness, self-regulation, social awareness, and relationship management.
The first two traits are personal; they have to do with our capacity to comprehend and control our own feelings. For instance, a self-aware employee can realize that they become agitated and upset whenever a meeting goes beyond schedule. When these negative emotions come, if this individual is also capable of self-regulation, they will maintain control over their demeanor rather than expressing impatience that can offend coworkers or harm their own reputation.
The third and fourth domains—social awareness and relationship management—define how well we understand the emotions of our coworkers and apply this understanding to forge beneficial, encouraging interactions with them. Here, sympathy is essential. It’s about understanding what makes people tick and being able to support others because you can put yourself in their position and consider things from their point of view.
The Pandemic’s Effect
Being emotionally intelligent has always been a valuable professional ability. For instance, studies have indicated that employees with lower levels of emotional intelligence are more likely to experience poorer wellbeing at work, as well as lower levels of commitment, job satisfaction, performance, and greater stress related to their jobs.
However, the epidemic has made it clear why having EQ is now essential.
The need for emotional cohesion was at its height during Covid-19, and managers couldn’t afford to be caught off guard if they wanted to assist their staff sympathetically and maintain strong morale and productivity. Employees immediately discovered that they were more vulnerable to burnout if they failed to negotiate the new workplace in an emotionally savvy way. High degrees of emotional self-awareness and self-control enable workers to better care for their personal welfare. They can recognize when they are worn out and know it’s time to take a break from the computer rather than just keep going.
The epidemic also demonstrated how a company might fall apart if its employees don’t develop their emotional intelligence. According to a 2022 Gallup study, employees believed managers’ empathy had dramatically decreased since the pandemic’s start. In May 2020, over half of US employees said they felt their employer cared about their well-being; that proportion has since decreased by half. The lack of emotional understanding between managers and employees has also had a negative effect: employees who said their bosses didn’t care about them were 69% more likely to look for a new job or say they were burnt out.
Emotional intelligence has become more crucial with the shift to remote working. This new manner of working can make it more challenging to read emotional cues, such as body language and tone of voice, as digital spaces diminish spontaneous human connection. Emotionally intelligent people are better able to adjust to these changes in the remote job and preserve solid connections despite the lack of in-person engagement.
How to Develop Emotional Intelligence
The good news is that emotional intelligence is a trait that everyone possesses equally.
EQ is a trait that you might develop through time. He advises beginning with self-awareness to achieve EQ. It’s difficult for you to move on from there if you can’t identify what you are now thinking, feeling, and seeking.
Managing your emotions may be simpler once you have a better knowledge of how they change throughout the course of the workday. When feeling strongly, remember to breathe, keep in mind that you don’t have to react right away, and give yourself time to control yourself.
High degrees of emotional self-awareness and self-control enable workers to better care for their personal welfare. Because we can be ignorant to how we express and read the emotional components of our interactions, start with the self by resolving any discrepancies between how you view yourself at work and how others see you. Feedback is needed for this. Working with a trusted colleague who also wants to develop their EQ, you may ask for input on what you are doing well and where you can make improvements in your communication. This will allow for continuing, reciprocal feedback.
One warning is to be ready for feedback and to take it as a gift rather than a chance to justify your behavior. Nothing is worse than asking for input, getting an honest response, and then getting defensive.
In other words, if your coworker claims you are not a good listener but you disagree, give them the benefit of the doubt. Then, at work, at home, and with friends, begin proactively attempting to improve your listening abilities. Your brain will quickly form the necessary new neural connections, and it will come naturally.
All aspects of emotional intelligence require a willingness to grow along with others, which is crucial. You can learn about it from every book in existence, but you cannot become emotionally sophisticated on your own. It’s how you act around other people.