How To Promote Emotional Intelligence In The Workplace
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Over the past few years, emotional intelligence (“EI”) has become one of the most popular workplace strategies. While it was once considered a trait only certain people had, it is now being actively studied and practiced across all career levels.
Many employers actually require employees with high EI as part of their employment. Companies that value empathy over efficiency are not uncommon anymore!
Given its growing popularity, it seems like more and more companies are offering training in emotional literacy or even replacing traditional leadership courses with ones focused on emotional skills.
While this is great for those who want to learn about EI, there can be challenges when trying to promote it at the organization level. What happens when you try to get others to practice what they preach?
In this article, we will discuss some ways to promote emotional intelligence at the organizational level. We will also talk about how to make it easier for individuals in your organization to develop their own EQ.
Make people feel important
As mentioned before, emotional intelligence (or EI for short) is your ability to identify and manage your emotions and those of others. However investing in someone’s well-being isn’t only kind, it’s also smart business.
A few years ago, we would have said that being emotionally intelligent was an advantage you had as a person. Today though, there are many ways to develop your EQ – not just for yourself but for other people too.
This article will discuss some easy ways to promote emotional literacy at work by helping individuals find their sense of importance.
It’s hard to get through life without feeling like part of something bigger than oneself. We all need to feel that we matter — or even that we matter especially to somebody else or to a group of people. This can be difficult when people around us seem to care more about themselves than others.
It is worth noting that although this article focuses on how to help employees gain a greater sense of self-importance at work, these strategies could equally be used to boost anyone’s confidence including leaders.
How to Help Employees Feel More Important At The Office
No one truly knows his or her job very well so asking questions and giving feedback to colleagues and superiors is essential to ensure they are performing their roles adequately.
By offering your own expertise where appropriate, you show off your knowledge and increase their perception of competence.
Make people aware of their emotions
A large part of emotional intelligence is being able to recognize your own feelings and those of others. You’d probably agree that it can be difficult at times.
When you're trying to do something, like reach an agreement with someone or motivate them to perform a task, they may not seem very motivated.
You also might find yourself feeling angry or hurt when you're around them because you feel neglected or let down.
That's why it is so important to be aware of your own feelings. If you get into a rhythm of staying busy, then you may forget how much you care about what happens to others.
It takes a lot of effort to keep up these skills but there are ways to help you strengthen your emotional IQ.
A lot of programs that are marketed as teaching emotional intelligence (EI) do not work and can even be harmful. Programs that claim they will make you feel better by learning about your own emotions are particularly concerning.
There is some research which suggests that people who learn about emotion may actually become more likely to suffer from mental health conditions like anxiety or depression.
So, before investing time and money in such courses, try talking to yourself -- asking what’s got me worried or excited lately and why? Then figure out how to address those issues properly.
Furthermore, look at examples of leadership skills outside of work and apply them towards your job.
As mentioned earlier, emotional intelligence (or EQ as it is commonly referred to) can make or break your workplace relationships. If you are not able to control your own emotions then that will hurt productivity and harmony within the team.
And we have seen before how detrimental this can be. By being aware of what is going on for others, they will feel more comfortable coming to you with their problems which will help them work through anything underlying issues may be.
That said, it’s also important to be clear about things and understand where other people are coming from.
If there is something happening that is making someone else uncomfortable, ask why. Try to find out whether they are putting up false walls to hide an inner problem or if this is really an issue for them.
Sometimes, just like when you deal with kids, people need some time to process things and come to terms with things so don’t push them into doing so immediately.
Be willing to walk away sometimes- you would expect no such thing from children but unfortunately, some adults act and behave like teenagers at times.
Learn to take criticism
As mentioned before, your success as a person will depend heavily on your emotional intelligence (EI). If you cannot handle being criticized, or worse, avoid it when it comes from others, then chances are you won’t be able to lead anyone else into good places.
Avoid giving too much importance to what other people say about you, but instead focus more on how you feel about them and what they mean to you.
However, if you have a knack for listening to what others have to say and responding with something meaningful, then that is another way to boost your EI.
You can even use the things others say about you to improve yourself.
As mentioned earlier, one of the biggest reasons that emotional intelligence (EI) is so heavily emphasized today is because people are seeking help for it. A growing number of employers actually require employees to take an EQ test as part of their job applications or even during employment.
If you’re already somewhat emotionally aware, then promoting those skills can only benefit yourself and the organization. If you never use social skills, for example, you will need to work on that.
And while some might consider being socially conscious a good thing, others could see it as a liability unless you have clearly defined parameters around your emotions.
That’s why it’s important to be pro-active about developing your emotional literacy.
A recent study found that employees who perceive their leader as having high emotional intelligence are one step ahead when it comes to avoiding workplace conflicts. As such, leadership experts recommend developing an internal perception of EA as a key success factor for your career.
By this we mean acting with empathy and understanding towards yourself and others, showing self-awareness or knowledge of what makes you feel good about yourself and how other people make you feel, and knowing when to take control and lead versus being led.
This is called “leader effectiveness” and it can be practiced at any level — executive, manager, supervisor, team member. It doesn’t matter whether you're leading one person or a group, only important things need to be focused on, so thinking before you speak and recognizing potential conflict early can help mitigate problems.
In fact, research shows that higher scores on measures of EI predict lower levels of turnover, job dissatisfaction, absenteeism, and stress related health symptoms like anxiety and depression.
Consistency is one of the biggest factors in promoting EI in your workplace. If you never see it being promoted, use those resources, or hear about it being used, then don’t expect people to understand what it means nor how to use it.
Consistently promote emotional literacy and understanding by asking questions, talking about examples and experiences, and using direct statements. Make sure everyone knows what emotional literacy is so they can refer back to it when needed.
At the same time, make sure employees know what their personal limitations are with regard to emotional literacy. Some individuals may feel that they do not have enough skills in recognizing and responding to emotions, so they avoid doing things like acknowledging someone’s hard day or helping them deal with their feelings.
This can create an environment where only certain people feel comfortable addressing anything related to emotion, which decreases collaboration and productivity. An organization that wants to foster an emotionally intelligent culture should be aware of this problem and take steps to fix it.