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Emotional Intelligence at Workplace (Part 1)

Updated on May 24, 2011

All organizations are made up of people and people are by nature, emotional beings. Increasingly, management has sought to harness emotion to increase work motivation, enhance customer service and work performance. This has brought about the focus on “Emotional Intelligence” at workplace.Emotional intelligence improves team working, customer service and the managing of diversity. When people in the workplace do not act with emotional intelligence the costs can be great. Low morale, bitter conflict and stress, all limit business effectiveness. Fortunately this critical personal resource can be learned or even improved through appropriate coaching and training.However, psychoanalyst argues that management of emotion takes more than mere emotional intelligence - it requires a deeper understanding of the unconscious dimensions of organizations.

Introduction

Emotional intelligence (EI) has its roots in the studies of "social intelligence" by Thorndike in the 1920s. It was “rediscovered” by Salovey and Mayer (1990) who first called it "emotional intelligence", and EI represents interpersonal and intrapersonal intelligences. Daniel Goleman popularized the EI concept in his 1996 book, “Emotional Intelligence” (1996) as well as the notion that EI matters more than IQ.

Goleman defines emotional intelligence as “the capacity for recognizing our own feelings and those of others, for motivating ourselves, and for managing emotions well, in ourselves and in our relationships". People with high EI cope well with their own emotions., They also notice and respond appropriately to the emotions of other people. This makes it easier to harness their potential, and thereby the potential of the organization.

The emotionally intelligent persons are aware that emotions plays a vital part in their lives. They are not constantly thinking about how they feel, nor do they go to the extremes of letting it all hang out, or hiding everything, but they express their feelings appropriately, so that molehills do not grow into mountains. Making judgments on the fine line between empathy and sympathy, between self-awareness and self-obsession, between confronting uncomfortable differences and nit picking are part of their emotional intelligence.

Self-awareness (being smart about what we feel) is the most crucial ability that allows us to exercise some self-control. The idea is not to repress feelings but can be summarized below:

Anyone can become angry - that is easy, but to be angry with the right person, to the right degree, at the right time, for the right purpose, and in the right way - this is not easy (Gibbs, 1995).

In addition, emotional intelligence is "good old street smarts" which includes knowing when to share sensitive information with colleagues, laugh at the bosses’ jokes or speak up in a meeting. In more scientific terms, emotional intelligence can be defined as an array of non-cognitive skills, capabilities, and competencies that influence a person's ability to cope with environmental demands and pressures.

Building the skills of emotional intelligence has lifelong impact. In the workplace, inclusion of emotional intelligence in training departments helps employees to cooperate better, increase motivation, increase productivity, and hence increase profits.

To raise the emotional intelligence, some of the requirements are:

  • a desire to change;
  • self-reflection (if a person does not know what is going on inside him/herself, it is unlikely he/she knows what is going on inside of others);
  • listen to the internal script that plays continuously;
  • develop emotional control;
  • practice empathy and practice active listening skills; and
  • Validate the emotions of others.

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