This shift has been motivated by changing attitudes towards IQ testing, as well as research that has found a strong positive correlation between EQ and work performance (90% of top workers were found to have high EQ, compared to only 20% of bottom workers). When considered in conjunction with research showing that workers with ‘average IQs’ performed better in the workplace than those with high IQs 70% of the time, it’s no surprise that EQ testing has become such a pillar of the employee selection process.
DEFINING ‘EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE’
But what is ‘emotional intelligence’? Broadly speaking, your level of emotional intelligence will be determined by your ability to recognise both your own emotions and the emotions of others, combined with the extent to which you are able to manage these in an appropriate and positive manner. This doesn’t mean that someone with high EQ is happy all the time, but that if they are feeling negative emotions, such as sadness or anger, they are able to respond to them constructively, rather than lashing out in a reactive manner.
At a more granular level, EQ can be assessed with reference to the following attributes:
- Self-awareness: you’re able to identify and understand your emotions, as well as the way they may influence your thoughts and behaviour, and know your strengths and weaknesses
- Self-management: not only are you aware of your emotions, but you’re also in control of how you respond to them, avoiding impulsive or reactive behaviour in favour of calm consideration
- Motivation: you can harness your emotions to help you achieve your goals, particularly in situations where you may be facing challenges or adversity
- Social awareness: similar to self-awareness, you’re able to identify and understand other people’s emotions, and pick up on social cues
- Empathy: you’re able to apply your understanding of other people’s emotions to relate to them in a sensitive and appropriate manner.
BENEFITS OF CREATING A WORKPLACE THAT PROMOTES EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE
IMPROVED COMMUNICATION, COLLABORATION AND EMPATHY
By fostering an environment where workers are encouraged to pay attention to both their own emotions and those of the people around them, a foundation is laid for a stronger, more productive communication style that is informed by empathy and understanding. This in turn leads to higher levels of collaboration and teamwork, as colleagues are more in sync with each other and better equipped to handle conflict and resolve disagreements in an appropriate manner.
ENHANCED LEADERSHIP, DECISION-MAKING AND ORGANISATIONAL CULTURE
Leaders who embody EQ are better positioned to inspire and motivate their team towards success. This is because these leaders adapt their communication style to suit their audience and demonstrate an awareness and understanding of their needs, whether it be a room full of people or a one-on-one conversation with an employee. By leading with EQ, they are also setting the standard for the rest of their organisation, thereby fostering a positive organisational culture.
This focus on EQ-informed leadership is also conducive to more balanced and rational decision-making processes, with decisions less likely to be made on impulse or out of bias. Instead, leaders who maintain their EQ are able to consider the wider implications of their decisions before making them and use this insight to inform their choice.
BETTER PERFORMANCE AND TEAM WELL-BEING
When employees and leaders embrace EQ, it tends to correlate with increased performance and productivity because team members are better able to manage their emotions and maintain their motivation. This also leads to a reduction in burnout and workplace stress because workers feel more prepared to handle challenging situations without being overwhelmed by feelings of anxiety or worry.
Leading a healthy lifestyle also contributes to EQ and overall well-being.
Central Park offers a range of world-class facilities that support you to do this every day.
WAYS TO CREATE A WORKPLACE THAT NURTURES EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE
LEADING WITH EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE
For EQ to be taken seriously in the workplace, management needs to lead by example. This sets the tone for the rest of the organisation and makes it clear to employees that building emotional intelligence is a company-wide imperative that all team members are committed to. Enshrining this standard across the board, from new starter to CEO, ensures an equitable work environment where everyone is accountable to the same expectations around EQ.
PROMOTE ACTIVE LISTENING AND TEAM SPIRIT
Active listening, which is the process of showing a speaker that you are paying attention to them through verbal and non-verbal cues, is essentially EQ in practice. It’s also not that hard to learn, even if you’re not an EQ master yet, and is a great way to practise relating to others and building up your own emotional strength and empathy while also building team cohesion. This makes it a great skill to introduce in the early stages of EQ development and is well paired with more holistic discussions around respect and inclusion.
ESTABLISH FEEDBACK AND CONFLICT RESOLUTION PROCESSES
Constructive feedback, both upwards and downwards, plays an important role in fostering EQ because it allows team members to learn and improve in a supportive setting while also receiving recognition for the things they are already doing well. By the same token, providing guidance to employees on conflict resolution best practices, such as seeking common ground or win-win solutions, helps to ensure they are equipped to approach disagreements in a calm and measured manner.
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