Emotional Intelligence at Work: What You Need to Know

Emotional Wellbeing

by | Jan 10, 2024

The importance of emotional intelligence in the workplace

As we strive for happiness and success in both personal and professional contexts, it is crucial that we understand how emotional intelligence influences our sense of wellbeing. 

Emotional intelligence (EQ) holds equal importance to intellectual intelligence (IQ) and it is essential that we respect both forms when we are working with others. When we promote emotional intelligence in the workplace we empower employees to build stronger relationships, excel within their roles and achieve their professional goals. 

Emotional intelligence entails the ability to recognise, utilise, understand, and manage emotions in positive ways, leading to stress relief, effective communication, empathy, conflict resolution, and more. It influences various aspects of daily life, including behaviour and our interactions with others.

Those with high emotional intelligence can identify their own emotional state and the emotions of others, enabling them to engage with people in a compelling and conscious manner. Such individuals can form healthier relationships, achieve greater success at work, and lead more purposeful and fulfilling lives.

As leader’s wanting to ensure the long-term success of our businesses, we must implement an awareness of emotional intelligence at work and provide the necessary support and education to our people..

Our number 1 tip to increase EQ for managers: foster a supportive network

Building connections with like-minded individuals, attending professional development courses together, and running mentorship programmes can assist teams in overcoming challenges and provide a strong foundation for genuine professional relationships. 

A sound support network encourages self-reflection, empathetic communication and creative (but conflict-free) disagreement by providing a psychologically safe space in which team members feel they can learn from their mistakes, take calculated risks and openly discuss their concerns, all of which serves the organisation as a whole in the long run. 

Fostering a supportive network instils a positive and collaborative work environment, contributing to improved team EQ  and a more fulfilling workplace experience for both managers and their teams, which is why it’s our number one tip to increase EQ for managers. 

Examples of emotional intelligence at work

1. Self-awareness: recognising one’s emotions and their impact on thoughts and behaviour, understanding strengths and weaknesses, and possessing self-confidence.

Example:

Sarah is a team leader who is aware of her tendency to become stressed during tight deadlines. She recognises the impact of this stress on her communication and decision-making. To address this, she proactively communicates with her team, sets realistic expectations, and ensures that she takes short breaks to manage her stress. Sarah also seeks feedback from her team to understand how her leadership style affects the work environment.

2. Self-management: controlling impulsive feelings and behaviours, managing emotions in healthy ways, demonstrating initiative, fulfilling commitments, and adapting to changing or challenging circumstances.

Example: 

John, a project manager, faces unexpected challenges when a key team member unexpectedly resigns. Instead of reacting impulsively or becoming overwhelmed, John takes a step back to assess the situation. He manages his stress by prioritising tasks, reallocating responsibilities among the team, and communicating transparently with stakeholders about potential delays. John demonstrates emotional intelligence in the workplace through his resilience and adaptability, ensuring the project stays on track despite the unforeseen circumstances.

3. Social awareness: understanding the emotions, needs, and concerns of others, perceiving emotional cues, feeling comfortable in social situations, and recognising power dynamics within groups or organisations.

Example: 

Maria, an HR manager, is attuned to the emotions and concerns of her colleagues. During team meetings, she actively listens to understand the perspectives of team members. She notices when someone seems uneasy or disengaged and takes the time to check in with them privately. Maria’s social awareness allows her to create a positive and inclusive work environment where employees feel heard and supported.

4. Relationship management: developing and maintaining good relationships, communicating effectively, inspiring and influencing others, collaborating effectively in teams, and managing conflicts effectively.

Example: 

Alex, a sales manager, excels in relationship management. He builds strong connections with clients by actively listening to their needs and concerns. Alex collaborates effectively with his team, recognising and appreciating individual strengths. In instances of conflict, he addresses issues promptly, facilitating open communication and finding mutually beneficial solutions. Alex’s ability to inspire and influence both clients and team members contributes to a positive and productive work atmosphere.

Each of these instances exemplify the beneficial applications of promoting, supporting and developing the EQ of your workforce. It goes without saying that being self-aware and considerate of your surroundings make for a conscious, purposeful and sensitive approach to building professional relationships, which is what a successful business needs in its employees.

There are many ways you can build on employee EQ. This can include active listening exercises, practising empathy, meditation etc. Conscious communication is another great method for building on emotional intelligence in the workplace, visit our blog to learn more about how to enhance the way you approach business relationships through conscious communication.

Benefits of emotional intelligence in the workplace

1. Performance at work: 

EQ helps navigate the social complexities of the workplace, enables effective leadership and motivation of others, and contributes to career advancement. Many companies now consider EQ as important as technical ability and incorporate EQ testing in their hiring process.

2. Physical health: 

Inability to manage stress levels could lead to severe health issues, such as increased blood pressure, compromised immune system, heart attacks, strokes, infertility, and accelerated ageing. Implementing effective stress management techniques and training could help to support this area.

3. Mental health: 

Uncontrolled stress can impact mental health, leading to anxiety and depression. Emotional intelligence allows for better understanding and management of emotions, reducing the risk of mood swings and promoting emotional stability.

4. Relationships: 

By understanding and controlling emotions, individuals can express themselves effectively and empathise with others, which results in improved communication and stronger relationships at work and in personal life.

Emotional intelligence is not an inherent gift for everyone; it is a skill that can be learnt and developed over time with the appropriate level of ongoing support and education. We all have the capacity to improve our EQ through conscious effort and practice. 

Research in the field of psychology and neuroscience has shown that the brain is highly adaptable and capable of forming new neural connections throughout life. It means that with consistent and intentional practice, we can reshape our brain’s responses and behaviours, including emotional reactions. 

To cultivate high levels of emotional intelligence at work

…consider implementing workplace wellbeing programmes that aim to train, educate and raise awareness of how your employees can develop their emotional intelligence. 

You may also seek the assistance of wellbeing consultants to help you achieve and implement appropriate practices and procedures to help you maximise the results. These professionals can provide initiatives to enhance emotional literacy, leading to a more emotionally savvy workforce.

Remember, prioritising emotional intelligence will not only benefit individual employees but also contribute to the long-term success and wellbeing of your business. In the context of our modern working world, combining emotional intelligence and the workplace is an undeniably powerful approach to business development. Visit our website to find out more about employee training, workplace wellbeing assessment and our consultancy services. 

Stay informed to unlock the benefits of improved workplace wellbeing.