Mayer and Salovey defined Emotional Intelligence as “the ability to perceive emotions, to access and generate emotions so as to assist thought, to understand emotions and emotional knowledge, and to reflectively regulate emotions so as to promote emotional and intellectual growth.”
According to Daniel Goleman, Emotional Intelligence isn’t about managing the emotions of others; it is about knowing your own emotions, managing your emotions, motivating yourself, recognising emotions in others, and handling relationships.
Emotional intelligence expert Daniel Goleman sharing his view on increased interest on EI in the workplace, stated that;
“The interest in emotional intelligence in the workplace stems from the widespread recognition that these abilities – self-awareness, self-management, empathy and social skill – separate the most successful workers and leaders from the average. This is especially true in roles like the professions and higher level executives, where everyone is about as smart as everyone else, and how people manage themselves and their relationships gives the best and edge.”
Why Emotional Intelligence is important in the workplace
Emotional intelligence in the workplace is crucial in creating an enabling workplace; It is a highly beneficial skill for both employees and employers including managers. There are many reasons why emotional intelligence is vital for every workplace; However, we will be highlighting the most crucial;
- EI is linked to higher job satisfaction: employees with high EI as well as those who work with or are managed by those with high EI are often satisfied with their jobs.
- Job satisfaction on the other hand has been linked with enhanced job performance; therefore, EI is strongly associated with job performance.
Emotional Intelligence and job performance
Emotional intelligence is capable of increasing job performance of employees.
Individuals with high EI have the tendency of being more productive compared to their non-emotional intelligent counterparts; this is because those high in emotional intelligence have the ability to understand and control their emotions; manage stress effectively; accept and incorporate feedback; collaborate effectively with others while striking valuable partnership.
Understand and controlling emotions
Having the ability to control your own emotions, makes you less susceptible to mood swings which is one of the many counterproductive reactions leading to frustrating situations.
Emotional intelligence is also crucial in helping you control negative emotions such as anger and panic. Allowing these emotions to get the better of you forces your mind to race, and prevents you from thinking rationally, or focusing on set objectives; invariably leading to poor performance at work.
Manage workplace stress
Interest in your job, your goals and your organisational goals is crucial in developing other determinant factors of productivity such as high engagement and job satisfaction. However, one major galvanising factor is your level of emotional intelligence.
Giving your best and making sure your work is always top notch can be tasking and demanding; you face tough decisions everyday. Working long hours on a regular basis is another stress hot spot.
However, emotionally intelligent people know their own limits; they recognize when the stress of the job is starting to get the better of them. With this understanding, they take breaks, listen to music or chat with others; as a result, they prevent burnout and get more done in a day.
Accepting and incorporating feedback
Emotionally intelligent employees are those who are able to accept feedback, even when it includes negative or harsh criticism; They take these criticisms without seeing it as a personal attack.
Individuals high in EI are also able to give constructive feedback to their team members; they deliver it with more sensitivity and greater focus on individual needs.
Collaborating with others
When you look at the diverse backgrounds, religion and ethnic orientation of each member of a team, you will agree that emotional intelligence is crucial for an efficient collaboration in teams. Individuals with high EI are much better at collaborating with other people. These people can read the emotions of others easily, recognizing their strengths, weaknesses and reactions for what they are and not as a direct insult on them. They’re also adaptable, empathetic, and more willing to make sacrifices for the good of the team.
Emotional intelligence is not only for employees. It is also crucial that managers are emotionally intelligent. There is a direct association between how employees are handled and how productive they eventually become. When employees feel catered for and respected, they give their best.
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