How Important is Emotional Intelligence in the Workplace?

Jun 26, 2020

Elizabeth Houghton

Sutton Full Potential Founder

Emotional intelligence (EQ) refers to one’s ability to know, understand, anticipate, and appropriately manage one’s emotions and the emotions of others as well. People with high EQ are able to manage emotions in a positive and effective manner, and it allows them to reduce their stress levels, improve their communication skills, better their relationships, and combat challenges. The major skills possessed by people with high EQ include social skills, self-awareness, social awareness, and self-management.

Emotional intelligence affects our ability to make everyday decisions in the workplace. During interviews, it is not uncommon for hiring managers to ask questions designed to understand what a prospective employee’s EQ is like. High EQ will allow you to move up the corporate ladder and ensure that you are suitable for a leadership position.

EQ can improve workplace flexibility

Flexibility in this context does not solely refer to timing flexibility but rather it refers to how employees deal with constant change in the workplace. If you are working in a firm that undergoes periodic change, you will need to constantly adapt to a new working environment or reality. The same is true for employees who are shuffled around teams in relatively stable companies. Employees with high levels of EQ are often able to adjust to change and be flexible with ease rather than fixating about what used to be. If this quality is contagious throughout teams and the entire firm, it is beneficial for the organisation as a whole.

EQ will allow you to handle difficult situations appropriately

Workplace conversations and situations can often become uncomfortable, tough, and just plain awkward. This is normal in any business, and employees need to be prepared for it. In most instances, lashing out petulantly or displaying passive aggressive behaviour is never the solution, you will need to stay rational and positive. You may need to deliver a client some bad news, fire or discipline a subordinate or pass on bad news to your superiors. Good EQ will allow employees to act in a controlled manner and remain calm, understanding and sensible when facing a difficult situation. It will allow you to navigate difficult situations with ease no matter what your internal feeling may be.

EQ can dramatically improve the office environment

Numerous studies have consistently shown us that employees are at their happiest working for leaders who display good emotional intelligence skills. Leaders and employees with good EQ are good at raising the morale of other workers as they are more likely to know what is appropriate to say in a particular situation. This is why emotional intelligence training should be one of the key tenets of any workplace, especially a workplace full of recent college graduates. When you have staff members that actually get along with each other, it improves the sense of shared belongingness and creates a robust company culture. It improves teamwork and commitment to the organisation. In addition, it is more likely to lead to positive customer service.

EQ can better one’s empathy and interpersonal skills

Employees need to interact with a varied bunch of other people in an organisation on a day to day basis, and for leaders, the level of people-to-people interaction is often far higher. An empathetic employee or leader is someone who is able to connect with other employees on an emotional level and high empathy is often one of the highest markers of good EQ. Leaders with good empathy are better at dealing with unruly employees and difficult bosses. Soft or interpersonal skills do not primarily indicate that a particular employee is a social butterfly but rather that he/she is capable of commanding the respect of others in the workplace.

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