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Emotional Intelligence at work

Emotional Intelligence at work

Emotional intelligence can greatly enhance an organization’s performance in the workplace. Studies have indicated that one can enhance their emotional intelligence by practicing the following strategies:

  • aware of your emotions and those of others
  • able to manage your emotions and those of others
  • able to use those emotions to make decisions and get things done (Foroux 2017)

Why does it matter in business?

Numerous strategies have been employed to effectively incorporate emotional intelligence (EQ) in various aspects, such as leadership and culture development, as well as selection and retention processes. The competencies related to emotional intelligence are quantifiable and can be acquired through training and coaching, presenting opportunities for growth and improvement.

The implementation strategies that yield the highest effectiveness aim to integrate emotional intelligence (EQ) into the fabric of the organizational culture. The case at hand includes well-documented research on the practical application of EQ in various contexts.

• By hiring and providing training to salespeople with higher emotional intelligence, there is an opportunity to enhance sales performance. This approach focuses on recruiting individuals who possess strong emotional intelligence skills and equipping them with the necessary training to excel in their sales roles, thereby leading to improved sales outcomes.

•Enhancing customer service can be achieved by recruiting customer service representatives with higher emotional intelligence (EQ). By selecting individuals who possess strong EQ skills for these roles, it becomes possible to provide superior customer service. The focus is on hiring representatives who can effectively understand and empathize with customers, leading to an improved overall customer service experience.

• Developing and recruiting executives with high emotional intelligence (EQ) can significantly contribute to superior leadership performance. The emphasis lies in cultivating and selecting individuals who possess strong EQ competencies for executive roles. This approach aims to enhance leadership effectiveness by focusing on qualities such as self-awareness, empathy, and the ability to build strong relationships, ultimately leading to improved leadership performance within the organization.

• Enhancing team performance can result in increased productivity and profit growth. By improving team dynamics, fostering collaboration, and encouraging effective communication, organizations can experience better overall team performance. This improvement can lead to higher productivity levels and contribute to the growth of profits within the organization.

With “emotional intelligence” gaining widespread recognition and becoming a commonly used term (with approximately 60 million hits on Google and 664,000 results on Google’s book search), leaders are now giving more thought to the value that this concept brings. The growing prevalence of emotional intelligence in discussions and resources has prompted leaders to contemplate its significance and impact in various contexts.

According to a recent study, leaders were asked about the main challenges they face at work, and the results revealed that 76% of these challenges were related to people and relationships, while only 24% were associated with finance and technical aspects. In another study involving 775 respondents, primarily consisting of managers and senior managers, a significant 89% acknowledged the high importance or essential nature of emotional intelligence (EQ) in overcoming their organizations’ top challenges. These findings highlight the widespread recognition and significance of EQ in addressing the most critical issues faced by leaders in various professional settings.

How the development of emotional intelligence at work can increase performance

We are on the verge of presenting a compelling case study that illustrates how fostering emotional intelligence in the workplace can lead to enhanced performance, increased productivity, and notable advancements in leadership development. This case study serves as a testament to the positive impact of emotional intelligence on various aspects of professional growth and organizational success.

Real-life case:

In the upcoming interview, Katy shares her personal experiences regarding the practical implementation of emotional intelligence in the workplace. Through her insights, we gain valuable perspectives on how emotional intelligence can be effectively applied in professional settings.

What role did emotional intelligence play in your workplace?

“In my past role in the automotive industry, I encountered several instances where managers exhibited commendable emotional intelligence. These managers actively fostered a nurturing environment for their teams, displaying a deep understanding of the business challenges and recognizing the potential impact on their staff. They collaborated closely with their teams to address and stabilize challenging situations. It was truly inspiring to witness the growth and success of these teams, both on a professional and personal level, as individuals and as cohesive groups.”

Regrettably, such positive instances were not always the norm. Certain managers, despite their technical competence, demonstrated a lack of emotional intelligence, resulting in poor decision-making influenced by their emotions when it came to their teams. Consequently, these teams became disorganized and lacked cohesion, frequently engaging in conflicts with one another. In the absence of proper guidance, they struggled to support each other and often exhibited “fight or flight” mentalities in challenging situations.

Can you tell me an episode when you thought emotional intelligence was helpful in your organisation?

Several instances come to mind where staff members exhibited behavior that appeared out of character or made apparent mistakes within a process. However, by employing emotional intelligence to understand the unique circumstances of these individuals, the response to such situations could have been markedly different.

To illustrate, I recall a specific situation where a staff member received a process document from her manager and was expected to read and adhere to it. Unfortunately, the manager exhibited a lack of emotional intelligence, resulting in strained communication between the staff member and her peers. As a consequence, over the course of several weeks, the staff member repeatedly made the same error, albeit a minor one, which was duly noticed by the quality assessment team.

Upon receiving the report, the manager, in turn, informed the staff member that unless she rectified the mistake, disciplinary measures would be taken. However, the staff member attempted to explain her lack of comprehension regarding the error. Despite being referred back to the process document, two weeks later, she was summoned to a meeting where she was informed that her mistakes had not been resolved, leading to her placement on a performance improvement plan.

Feeling distressed and disillusioned, the staff member approached me, expressing her dismay over the lack of adequate training and coaching she felt she deserved. She struggled to comprehend the process document and raised concerns about its misalignment with her peers’ working methods. Together, we carefully reviewed the document and discovered that it had not been updated. Furthermore, we realized that her peers had also neglected to adapt the process to improve the overall service provided to customers, despite its introduction three months prior.

Through effective communication, empathy, and investing time, we successfully determined that there was no deficiency in the staff member’s performance. Instead, it became apparent that there had been a miscommunication regarding the process and a lack of confidence on the part of the staff member to address this with her manager. As a result, we collaborated to update the process document collectively. Additionally, a conversation was facilitated between the manager and the staff member to provide a comprehensive explanation regarding the multiple shortcomings from a quality assurance (QA) standpoint.

In this particular situation, if the manager had displayed approachability and respect towards the staff member’s concerns, it would have prevented the need for placing the staff member on an improvement plan. The staff member would have felt comfortable addressing the issue directly with her manager and proactively updating the documents through a simple conversation. This would have resulted in more efficient working methods and a more favorable working environment for future trainees.

Emotional Intelligence at Work

Applying emotional intelligence in the workplace

Within the realm of emotional intelligence, Reuven Bar-On, one of the authors, contributed to the development of a mixed model. In their study, the authors delve into the exploration of introducing and implementing emotional intelligence interventions in a workplace context. Their research sheds light on the practical application and impact of emotional intelligence interventions within professional environments.

As a new employee involved in a significant company launch, the atmosphere is filled with tension due to the close collaboration required between the marketing and manufacturing departments. When you approach Nick, the Marketing Manager, with some project-related questions, he responds sharply. However, he promptly provides you with a comprehensive to-do list and guides you through it in a methodical and logical manner, addressing all of your inquiries.

Subsequently, you cautiously approach Sarah, the Production Manager, with some additional queries, expecting a similar snappy response. To your surprise, she calmly responds to your questions and even assigns you to work alongside one of her most trusted team members.

In a conversation with your team member John, he shares his observation that while Sarah excels at utilizing her emotions to provide support to her team, it is Nick’s logical and swift decision-making approach that is swiftly bringing the project back on track. It highlights the stark contrast in the management styles of these two individuals, each approaching the same situation in a distinct manner.

While many of us prefer working with warm, empathetic, and emotionally intelligent leaders, it raises the question of whether these qualities alone are always sufficient. Effective leadership encompasses a blend of emotional intelligence and the ability to make sound, logical decisions. Striking the right balance between emotional support and practical decision-making can be crucial in achieving optimal outcomes in challenging situations.

Drawing upon my expertise as a qualified psychologist and psychometric practitioner, it is important to acknowledge that there is seldom a definitive answer to such inquiries. Nevertheless, this is precisely what makes the field of business psychology both challenging and rewarding. The intricacies of human behavior and the dynamics within organizational settings make it a complex yet fascinating discipline to navigate. It requires a comprehensive understanding of various factors, including individual differences, organizational culture, and the interplay between emotions, cognition, and behavior. As professionals in this field, we continuously strive to unravel these complexities and provide valuable insights that contribute to the success of businesses and the well-being of individuals within them.

Our comprehension of emotional intelligence is a constantly evolving field, and ongoing psychological research plays a pivotal role in refining our understanding of how it should be effectively applied in workplace environments. This emotional intelligence course offered by Coventry University will encourage you to critically examine the relevance of emotions in the business world and explore the potential of emotional intelligence in fostering organizational success and enhancing personal performance. Through this course, you will be prompted to reflect on the integration of emotional intelligence principles into your professional endeavors and gain insights into the practical implications it holds for both individuals and organizations.

During this course, you will explore various theoretical perspectives on emotional intelligence, providing you with a comprehensive understanding of the subject. Engaging in thought-provoking discussions, you will delve into significant inquiries such as the innate nature of emotional intelligence versus its learnability. Furthermore, you will contemplate whether emotions or logic should serve as the guiding principle for workplace behavior. Additionally, the course will delve into the measurement of emotional intelligence, allowing you to explore methodologies and tools used to assess an individual’s level of emotional intelligence. These thought-provoking topics will challenge your perspectives and encourage critical thinking as you delve into the intricacies of emotional intelligence within professional settings.

Throughout the course, we will extensively explore scenarios where emotional intelligence (EI) can be misapplied and the potential repercussions it can have on individuals within organizations. As you advance in the course, it is essential to reflect on the contrasting examples of Nick and Sarah. Consider which of them you would prefer to work for and the rationale behind your preference. Additionally, assess their respective strengths and areas of vulnerability. Furthermore, contemplate who you believe will be more likely to successfully complete the project and the reasons behind your choice. These reflections will contribute to a deeper understanding of the complexities of emotional intelligence and its implications in real-world situations, helping you develop informed perspectives on effective leadership and project management.

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