The Importance Of Emotional Intelligence In the Workplace
Despite individual differences in emotional response, we all experience emotions. But not everyone is good at recognizing, naming, and working with them. And that's how they can sometimes make our lives immensely difficult. And not only our own lives, but also of those around us, in both our personal and professional lives.
As the matter of fact, it doesn't even matter how smart and intelligent we are. Even for people who can crack a complex code in a second, it can be a mystery why and how they or other people behave.
Back in the 20th century, this exact contradiction captivated many scientists and psychologists. They pinned great hopes on the measurement of general intelligence (nowadays known as IQ), with the aim of being able to identify better prerequisites for succeeding in, for example, demanding professions or life in general. However, it turned out that general intelligence expressed in terms of IQ does not guarantee people's real success in life and the workplace alike. Surprisingly, even some people with average IQs were more successful and satisfied than people with high IQs. They were also able to maintain much greater well-being. Why? Because living a productive & fulfilling life has to do not only with our reasoning abilities but additionally with our ability to employ emotions to solve problems.
And so, at the end of the 20th century, a new concept called EQ, or emotional intelligence, emerged. Ever since our understanding of EQ has evolved significantly, shedding light on its key components:
The ability to be aware of, to be able to name and understand own emotions and thus to be able to use them (e.g. in creative thinking) or, on the contrary, to be able to minimize their disturbing influence by being able to manage them.
People with a more developed emotional intelligence, for example, can more easily recognize humor from irony, are able to make fun of themselves, and can better accept their mistakes and imperfections.
The ability to cope with emotionally charged situations, and to keep a cool even under pressure. People with good emotional intelligence keep calm despite pressure, concentrate better and, as a result, act more rationally. They deal with stressful situations more effectively, are more determined, and can easier motivate themselves to overcome obstacles.
Recognizing the emotions of others
The ability to correctly recognize other people's emotions and expressions is based on empathy, i.e. the ability to empathize with others and perceive a situation through their eyes. With emotional intelligence, people are able to act considerately, build good relationships, be interested in others, and also have a good judgment regarding the behavior and experiences of others. People with developed EQ can handle the toxic or aggressive actions of others much better.
The skill of constructively expressing, asserting, and defending one's needs, opinions, attitudes, and beliefs. Assertive people trust themselves, feel respect for themselves, and are not afraid to defend their opinions or needs. They do not back down from them under pressure and know they are entitled to them. They know how to say no. They are not ashamed to voice and explain their opinions out loud, increasing the chances that they will be happier in their lives.
The ability to work with others, to draw them into solutions, to build strong relationships based on mutual constructive feedback. People with developed emotional intelligence do not assume, do not look for one-sided solutions, but rather offer others partnership and co-authorship in solutions. They can more easily develop and maintain good relationships, build a network of contacts and gain supporters. In managerial roles, they are better able to pull others along, motivate them, and act as true leaders. They behave selflessly, with tolerance, thinking of others and their needs.
People with developed emotional intelligence do not assume, do not look for one-sided solutions, but rather offer others partnership and co-authorship in solutions.
As you can see, emotional intelligence is not one clearly defined ability, but rather a set of assumptions that are largely based on our personality setup as well as our experience and acquired skills. And because of this, we can develop it in ourselves.
However, emotional intelligence alone, like IQ, will not guarantee success. Scientists have finally concluded that only about 8% of our success can be explained by it. So at best, you have a little of both.
Interested in the topic of managing emotions? Read also our article Emotional Agility!