Emotional Intelligence. It’s a hot topic, a skillset much revered, and some have gone so far as to say it’s the holy grail of being successful in the workplace.
So, what is it? Its official definition is, as most definitions are, a touch over-wordy. To wit: ‘the capacity to be aware of, control, and express one’s emotions and to handle interpersonal relationships judiciously and empathetically.’
It’s hardwired within us
You could be forgiven for thinking that you have to be a psychological genius or a being of exceptional magnitude to nail this skill. We don’t think so. We believe that all of us have a degree of emotional intelligence hardwired within us and it’s a case of taking the time to refine and hone what we’ve got so it becomes second nature.
Taking the importance of Emotional Intelligence seriously is where the journey starts. Because it sits within the unfortunately-titled ‘Soft Skills’ arena, its significance has been downplayed a fair bit, but make no mistake, Emotional Intelligence is not fluffy or wishy-washy. And it appears that UK employers, leaders and managers could definitely do with taking the time to tune in…
The ADP Research Institute recently revealed the findings of its newest study – The Evolution of Work 2017 – which canvassed 8,500 employees across 13 different countries employed in companies with over 50 people. The results were quite revealing, and highlight that two-thirds of UK employees are actively looking or open to changing jobs while employers are engaged in a battle to find the right people to join their companies.
The report states that possible reasons for this appear to be that nearly two thirds (62%) of UK workers say they do not feel valued at work and just over half (54%) say they do not feel purposeful.
Unfortunately, when asked the same question, employers saw things completely differently, with 56% believing their workforces do feel valued and 61% thinking they also feel purposeful.
That’s a big disconnect!
Inspiring and motivating
It’s now well known that leaders and managers with high Emotional Intelligence are far more successful in inspiring and motivating co-workers to do well, go the extra mile, and retain quality staff.
According to Daniel Goleman who developed Emotional Intelligence as a psychological theory, there are a few core principles involved:
- Self-awareness – This isn’t about constantly questioning yourself to the point of indecision. It’s about understanding how your emotions may impact on others, knowing your own strengths and weaknesses, and having the confidence to act with humility.
- Self-regulation – This doesn’t mean holding back or being a doormat. It’s about remaining in control rather than being controlling. Shouting and blaming people doesn’t work – encouraging and helping people to do better is a more pragmatic approach.
- Motivation – This one is easily misunderstood. It’s not about burning yourself out and ‘proving’ yourself by clocking up 100-hour weeks. It’s about being enthusiastic and positive in your dealings with yourself and motivating others in doing so.
- Empathy – Often mistaken for ‘sympathy’, empathy is quite different and more appropriate in the workplace. Simply put, it’s about being able to put yourself in another’s shoes, try to understand things from their point of view and be authentic about it.
- Social Skills – This doesn’t mean being the life and soul of the party. It means having the ability to listen, understand and be a good communicator. People with good social skills are able to galvanise teams into working together and can handle difficult situations diplomatically.
It’s not rocket science, and there are many easy ways to gain greater Emotional Intelligence. The main thing is to recognise the importance of it, start upping your skillset and get ready to be more successful in the workplace.