Emotional intelligence is like a coin. Heads is all about me – my recognition, understanding, and management of my emotions. Tails is all about those around me – my perception of their emotions and what helps me to understand how they feel so I can manage my interpersonal relationships more effectively.
In his 1995 book, the now world-renowned psychologist Daniel Goleman presented his case in favour of emotional intelligence and why it can matter more than IQ. He contended that IQ is no longer sufficient on its own as a determinant of life success and that emotional intelligence also needs to be factored in.
As more and more organisations accept that emotional intelligence is as important to success at the workplace as technical skills and abilities, they are increasingly using it as part of their hiring and training processes.
Studies repeatedly indicate that employees with high emotional intelligence, manifested by a strong sense of empathy, initiative, and self-confidence, manage to persuade more, sell more, have better relationships with others, and also stay longer at their place of work.
So what can we do to acquire it, and how can we use it to make our working lives more successful?
Acquiring emotional intelligence
The good news is that emotional intelligence can be learnt, taught, and developed. Learning about emotional intelligence is being aware of the 5 elements that make it up – self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy, and social skills. Working on the different skills in these 5 areas is one way of identifying where your emotional intelligence strengths and weaknesses lie.
For example, you may discover that your emotional intelligence is high on self-regulation but low on empathy. Your strong self-regulation makes you competent in the skill of thinking before you act. When you are hurt by something that happens at work, your self-regulation skills enable you to control your feelings and avoid conflicts that may later be regretted. But at the same time, if your empathy skills are low, you might not even try or be able to understand the reasoning behind the actions of those who hurt you. Fortunately, for each of the emotional intelligence skills, there are strategies for improvement.
For workers who are interested in learning more about emotional intelligence, there are various courses and books that can enhance professional development in this area. Once you have learnt more about this topic, you can then take action to become more self-aware and improve your awareness of other persons’ emotions.
Benefits of using emotional intelligence
As an employee
You will be able to understand more what you want from your job so that it contributes to your overall well-being but also aligns with the overall aims of the organisation.
You will be able to gauge when you need to speak up and how to do it without hurting yourself or others.
As a co-worker
You will be able to cultivate good working relationships with fellow employees.
You’ll be open to communication, able to listen with empathy, and will try to avoid biases and prejudices, thereby contributing to positive workplace morale.
You’ll be more flexible, more generous, and you’ll offer to help, yet still know when to draw the line.
You will understand that while it’s important to get your own job done, working in a team and fostering a team spirit creates a win-win situation for all, including yourself.
To sum it up, the emotional intelligence coin is never tossed, it is never heads or tails, it is always both. And the most important thing is that we always take it with us when we go to work.
Are you searching for the best workplace for you? Ceek is here! We take a holistic approach to recruitment when matching you with the right employer and vice versa. If you’re looking for your next career opportunity in Malta, or you’re an employer looking for your next star candidate, get in touch with us today to see how Ceek can help…