Siri, What is Emotional Intelligence at Work?

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Creating the right intelligence system is critical to developing workplace resilience.

Employee well-being expands beyond the importance of cognitive intelligence (IQ). The pandemic has brought mental health and employee well-being to the forefront, highlighting the need for more Emotional Intelligence (EQ) to build a culture of holistic well-being. Now more than ever, leaders must lead with empathy, flexibility and openness.

EQ drives wellness as a key indicator of employee happiness and authentic leadership.

To understand EQ in the workplace, we must first understand its definition: the ability to identify one’s emotions and the control of those emotions while expressing oneself. This also includes being empathetic to others and cultivating successful interpersonal relationships.

In some ways, EQ is far more important and valuable than IQ. Research has found that individuals with strong leadership potential also tend to be more emotionally intelligent, suggesting that a high EQ is an essential quality for business leaders and managers. (source: Industrial Psychiatry Journal)

Emotional intelligence in the workplace has many benefits, not just in getting the job done because of great communication skills and team leadership. Emotional intelligence starts with identifying our own emotions and how we manage these feelings.

Ask yourself these questions to determine signs of low EQ:

  1. Are you a good listener?
  2. Do you have emotional outbursts?
  3. Are you argumentative?
  4. Do you blame others?

I can recall many emotionless leaders throughout my working career and admittedly, at times, I was one of them. Many of us of the Veteran generation, and yes, the Baby Boomer era, believed showing emotion meant weakness. Hiding emotions meant staying in control, that you were strong. And to do this you kept emotions at arm’s length – especially if you were a woman.

In contrast, controlling one’s emotions is no longer coveted. Emotional awareness allows us to have increased social skills to build rapport with others and have empathy for other people.

Look around. People are hugging each other now more than ever. Is it because the pandemic robbed us of social interactions? Or is it because the pandemic made us realize how much we need human connection to survive?

Emotional leaders are the future.

An interesting read by Sunny Bonnell and Ashleigh Hansberger identifies seven reasons why this is true.

Emotional intelligence is distinct from IQ. Your EQ is the level of your ability to understand other people, what motivates them, and how to work cooperatively with them.

Being empathetic toward others is a sought-after trait. Just feeling sorry for another person is not important. Understanding the emotions and feelings of another person, and appreciating their position is important in communication and relationships.

“People may not remember what you said, but they remember the way you made them feel.” – Maya Angelou

Emotions are critical to everything a leader must do to manage the mood of their organization. Having an intelligence system that understands human emotions is “smart” leadership. (Pardon the pun 😉