The value of Emotional Intelligence in the modern workplace

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Enhancing one's Emotional Intelligence has been shown to have positive impacts on their quality of life. While it helps people become more cognizant of their own emotions and feelings, Emotional Intelligence also helps in building stronger interpersonal relationships and handling social situations better.

Emotional Intelligence (EQ) refers to the capability of a person to notice and understand their own emotions and also the emotions of other people around them. In today's corporate world focused on competitiveness and result-oriented work, it is more important than ever for company leaders, HR managers and employees to understand the value of emotional intelligence and be able to adapt it to their team management style. To do this, managers also need to be aware of the key attributes of a high EQ.

The components of Emotional Intelligence

Company leaders who employ these distinct attributes along with other technical leadership skills and their own past experience are headed toward higher levels of success in their interpersonal interactions. The following five aspects of Emotional Intelligence are the attributes that HR leaders and other industry professionals should focus on to bring out the best in themselves and their teams.

  • Self-awareness - Understanding and knowing oneself is in many ways the core of Emotional Intelligence. Self-awareness allows people to approach their decisions with honesty. It also enables one to learn more about their strengths, weaknesses, needs, and areas of improvement so as to make better decisions in their personal life and professional life. Self-aware leaders are able to notice how their own emotions and decisions affect their teams as well as their own ability to perform their roles and responsibilities.

In high-stress workplaces, self-aware leaders are more easily able to handle the daily stressors and work pressure that come their way. These could present themselves in the form of client requests, deadlines, or any other such demanding situations. Being aware of their own emotional triggers is helpful for managers and leaders to take a step back, take stock of their mental health, and act in a professional, healthy, and effective manner.

  • Self-regulation - The second aspect of Emotional Intelligence is related to self-discipline and self-regulation. Disciplined people are able to consistently control impulsive behaviour, which also means that they are able to remain calm and not overreact to their own mistakes, or the mistakes of their co-workers. Professionals who are able to take a moment to analyze and reflect on difficult situations or missed opportunities are often more adept at realizing where things went wrong and how to go about resolving the situation.

Apart from being able to let go of errors, emotionally intelligent people are able to say ‘no’ both to themselves and to other people when required. Confidence in saying ‘no’ to certain requests or commitments allows leaders to show that their current commitments are important to them, and this also enables them to set healthy boundaries. All these factors combined allow leaders to effectively complete their tasks and honour the commitments that they are working on. Self-regulation and self-discipline is a skill that helps effective leaders adapt to change in a healthy way. Changes often happen suddenly and without warning, so leaders who are able to deal with uncertainty and make relevant changes to their strategies smoothly during times of crisis or sudden change are more likely to be efficient and productive at work.

  • Empathy - Being aware of and considering other people's feelings and situations is called empathy. This aspect of Emotional Intelligence is essential in many aspects of life, even though at first glance it may not seem to fit in the hyper-competitive world of corporate leadership and team management. However, leaders and managers who are empathetic are often able to build better work relationships and are seen as more trustworthy and respectable by clients, colleagues, and subordinates.

Empathy is an important skill when trying to understand different cultures and work environments. It also helps avoid unnecessary conflict or misunderstandings, especially so in an increasingly globalized corporate world. Leaders who are empathetic towards their team members are able to create stronger interpersonal relationships, which helps improve employee loyalty in the long term as well.

  • Motivation - Leaders who possess high emotional intelligence are often passionate about their work and also possess the capability to motivate other people around them. These leaders have an infectious enthusiasm for achieving their goals and are driven by an intrinsic motivation to accomplish what they set out to do, instead of extrinsic rewards such as monetary gain or fame. This intrinsic motivation drives such leaders to work tirelessly regardless of difficulties, to reanalyze and rethink the ways things are done, and to find new methods of improvement for themselves and other members of their team.

The desire to keep learning and take pride in their own work sets the tone for the entire team, and their methods are often emulated by other teams the organization as a whole. This is why self-motivated leaders are able to inspire their colleagues and subordinates to expand their capabilities and succeed.

  • Social skills - Even as Work From Home (WFH) and hybrid work environments become the norm in the post-COVID workplace, social skills remain essential for the development of one's Emotional Intelligence. Developing effective social skills combines all the other aspects of EQ. Effective leaders put their social skills to the test in managing their interpersonal relationships and to help achieve their goals. Most corporate professionals — including the most success-driven and passionate leaders — are unable to accomplish their most crucial tasks on their own.

Having "social skills" does not simply translate to being friendly to other people. It means understanding people's thought processes and needs, developing better relationships, and also motivating team members to reach their goals. Emotionally Intelligent leaders need to communicate their own passion to their teams and their strategies for success in such a manner that the team members are ignited by their passion to do better and reach successful outcomes.

In closing

People with high Emotional Intelligence are better able to manage their own emotions and handle social interactions with grace. Leaders who are emotionally intelligent are able to make others feel comfortable, are better able to understand others' emotions and communicate with them effectively. It allows people to understand themselves on a deeper level, and managing their emotions in an effective manner also allows leaders to better control their stress levels and emotions on a regular basis.

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