Emotional intelligence in the workplace: why you need it, how to get it
An interesting thing is happening in the 21st century workplace: The more technology we have in this digital age, the more we automate tasks and trust machines to take over duties, the more we realize the importance of emotions.
Why EQ is needed in the workplace
These days, we are allowing emotions at work and recognizing the benefits of doing so. And emotional intelligence matters more than it used to because the workplace has changed.
Today we work largely in teams, not isolation, for one thing, and savvy companies are realizing that recognizing emotions exist can lead to healthier environments. This doesn’t mean it’s an emotional free-for-all by any means, but it does mean people are more likely to be aware of their own and others’ emotions and act accordingly.
People with higher emotional intelligence are also more adaptable to change—a must in our fast-changing digital age. In addition, leaders with higher emotional intelligence tend to have happier employees who then stay longer, reducing the costs of attrition, and try harder, increasing productivity.
Companies that are hiring want to make sure they choose job candidates who will mesh well with existing teams. As a result, about 20 percent of organizations are now testing for emotional intelligence as part of their hiring processes. Even the smartest person needs good people skills to succeed these days. A high IQ alone is no longer enough.
How to improve your emotional intelligence
A high IQ is also something we tend to be born with while emotional intelligence is something we can work to improve. To a large degree, our emotional intelligence starts in childhood with how we’re raised, but as adults, we can take steps to get emotionally “smarter”.
Justin Bariso offers seven ways to improve emotional intelligence:
1) Reflect on your emotions. This is where self-awareness begins. To grow in emotional intelligence, think about your own emotions and how you typically react to negative situations. When you’re more aware of your emotions and typical reactions, you can start to control them.
2) Ask for perspective. What we perceive to be reality is often quite different from what those around us are seeing. Start getting input from others to understand how you come across in emotionally charged situations.
3) Observe. Once you’ve increased your self-awareness, pay more attention to your emotions.
4) Pause for a moment. Stop and think before you act or speak. Keep working at it and it will become habit.
5) Become more empathetic. Try to understand another person’s feelings or emotions.
6) Choose to learn from criticism.When we choose to learn from criticism rather than simply defend our behaviors, we can grow in emotional intelligence.
7) Practice, practice, practice. Becoming more emotionally intelligent won’t happen overnight, but it can happen—with effort, patience, and a lot of practice.
We live in an age when we can earn a certification in any number of topics to boost our careers, but sadly we can’t earn one in emotional intelligence. That’s something we have to address as individuals, to recognize it as important, choose to improve it and continue to work on it—probably for the rest of our lives. But the payoffs are worth it as we become better employees, better spouses, and all around better people.
Original article “Emotional Intelligence in the Workplace: Why You Need It, How to Get It” (Simplilearn)