Is emotional intelligence important in the workplace.

You bet! And if you are in any type of management or supervisory position, having emotional intelligence is absolutely critical. Being emotionally intelligent is not about ‘being nice,’ and it doesn’t mean you can let all your feelings ‘hang out.’ What it does mean is that you’re able to manage your feelings in such a way that they are appropriately and effectively expressed. This results in people being able to work together without major issues or conflicts.

As quoted by Heather Uczynski in the Lifestyle section of the Reading Eagle (2/16/09), in an article entitled The Power of EQ:

“It’s a huge mistake not to consider employees’ emotions as a part of the workplace. There are plenty of highly skilled and intelligent managers who ultimately fail because they are not able to cooperate well with other people.”

Emotional intelligence in the workplace can be gained by:

  1. Increasing your own self-awareness, self-control and ability to empathize with others.

    a. Self-awareness involves knowing your own emotional states, your preferences and intuitions. People who are unaware of their feelings are handicapping themselves.

    b. Self-control involves managing your emotions, your impulses and resources. Out-of-control emotions can make a smart person really dumb.

    c. Empathy involves an awareness of others’ feelings, needs and concerns. Empathy can be used as an emotional guidance system to help us know how to respond to others.

  2. Delivering praise to employees; owning your own mistakes and avoiding blame.

    a. These skills are essential in creating an environment of trust. Employees cannot be lead by people they do not trust.

  3. Understanding the importance of being assertive in interactions with employees, rather than engaging in passive, aggressive or passive/aggressive behavior.

    a. Passivity means avoiding the issue and aggression involves dealing with the issue in an attacking way. Assertiveness, however; is a way of dealing with an issue, while still maintaining respect for the other person.

    b. Passive/aggressive behavior occurs when you are being aggressive, but use a passive style. For ex., you give an employee the day off she requests, but then punish her for asking, by making the day of her return completely miserable.

  4. Recognizing signs and symptoms of personal stress in yourself and others.

    a. Stress symptoms can include: aggression, hostility, headaches, indigestion, sleep disorders, defensiveness, poor judgment, nervousness, high blood pressure, ulcers, fatigue, anxiety, depression, memory loss, inability to concentrate and mood swings.

    b. Any one of these symptoms can indicate a stress problem, but the longer your list of symptoms, the greater damage being done to your mind and body.

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