Enhancing Emotional Intelligence in the Workplace
Emotional intelligence is the individual’s ability to perceive, understand, and manage their own emotions and being able to understand others’ emotions and feelings. The workplace offers a variety of challenges to an individual which vary in their impact and often involve the ways in which people perceive, understand and communicate with each other and the ways in which they work collaboratively towards the goals of their teams and organizations. These aspects make it important to develop and enhance those skills that are at the core of emotional intelligence.
Over the years research has shown that emotionally intelligent employees perform better and have higher job satisfaction as compared to the ones who are low on emotional intelligence. Emotional intelligence also benefits leaders in a variety of ways. An emotionally intelligent leader fosters better communication amongst team members and can tactfully handle workplace conflicts, enhancing the quality of problem solving and decision making. There are, thus, numerous benefits that emotional intelligence offers to the workplace as a whole.
The following are some ways, utilizing which an individual’s emotional intelligence can be enhanced at the workplace:
- The role of the individual
Emotional intelligence is not a fixed ability, it can be developed and the skills that comprise emotional intelligence can be learned by people.
- Self-awareness is a key aspect that influences the emotional intelligence of an individual. People can develop greater self-awareness and encourage others to do the same. This involves developing insight about strengths and weaknesses, qualities or traits, values, and belief systems, all of which can contribute towards helping in creating goals that are aligned to the self and that facilitate both personal and professional growth.
- An additional aspect that contributes to how an individual build their emotional intelligence involves taking feedback from colleagues and seniors regarding work and the personality they bring to the workplace. These inputs can offer significant insight that can otherwise be elusive to a person on their own. Taking feedback as a way of self-assessment and evaluation enables a person to use it in a positive way.
- Empathy is another critical component of emotional intelligence. The first step toward building empathy is by taking the initiative to interact with others from the standpoint of gaining an understanding of their perspective. Increased conversations to listen to others enable the development of an understanding of others’ feelings and concerns.
Building these skills can help shift the approach from talking about their own experiences alone and instead encouraging the exchange of perspectives, being able to receive these in a non-judgmental manner, and communicating in ways where there is sensitivity to the other.
Role of organization in improving emotional intelligence at the workplace
There are significant steps that organizations can take toward enhancing emotional intelligence at the workplace. The following are some of these processes that can be adopted by organizations:
- Create a culture of openness – Leaders can focus on creating a work culture that is supportive. An environment where people are not judged for openly communicating their thoughts and feelings facilitates enhance communication. This will build confidence in the employees and will help them in being more expressive about how they feel.
- Leaders, as being the role model for the employees, can demonstrate core competencies of emotional intelligence such as adaptability and effective communication. They can guide the employees in adapting to new job transitions, new work culture, and job requirements. This will help in building resilience in the employees.
- Sharing ways of effective communication to encourage expression and conversations on what affects employees go a long way in enhancing the overall workplace environment.
- Organizations can take the initiative of encouraging employees to work in collaboration with other team members. When people work in teams, they develop a better understanding of one another. They learn how to resolve difference, problems and conflicts by talking to and listening to each other. Facilitating these processes is crucial from an organizational standpoint
- Leaders themselves can demonstrate core competencies of emotional intelligence such as flexibility, adaptability, collaboration, and effective communication. Use these core competencies while hiring, recruiting, and promoting.
Focusing on building and enhancing emotional intelligence at the workplace is beneficial for both individuals and the organizations. Active measures towards this end go a long way in creating the right workplace culture and environment.
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