What is emotional intelligence?
Emotional intelligence, also referred to as EQ ("emotional quotient"), refers to a person's ability to recognize, understand, and manage their own emotions, as well as identify, influence, and adapt to the emotions of others.
The four main components of emotional intelligence are:
- Self-Awareness: the ability to identify and understand your own emotions and the impact you have on others.
- Self-Regulation: the ability to control impulses, moods, and behaviors so that worry, anxiety, fear, and anger do not interfere with what needs to be done.
- Social Awareness: the ability to understand the emotions of others and utilize effective verbal and nonverbal communication with other people to achieve the best results.
- Relationship Management: the ability to connect, negotiate, and interact with others; build positive relationships; diffuse volatile situations; and resolve conflicts in a healthy, productive way.
Why is emotional intelligence important?
EQ helps leaders cultivate high morale through empowerment and engagement between individuals and teams by understanding motivations, fostering fair and digestible methods of conflict resolution, and gaining consensus and support to achieve common goals. People with high emotional intelligence remain calm under pressure, display empathy, utilize active listening, and reflect and react appropriately to the opinions of others, all paramount behaviors that contribute to long-term organizational success.
People with low EQ tend not to take responsibility for mistakes and are typically unable to handle constructive criticism. If a workplace is littered with low EQ across multiple levels, the environment can become fractured, counterproductive, and much more challenging for employees to work together as a team.
Many organizations are weighed down by employees and managers who focus on protecting themselves from real and perceived threats instead of getting the job done. In a fear-based environment, productivity and morale are lost in short-sighted attempts to elevate status, avoid the boss’ wrath, or compete for promotions.
People with high EQ collaborate to better resolve critical issues, are less combative, focus on the bigger picture, and make solid, insightful decisions. When an organization consists of people who are empathic, compassionate, and self-aware, everyone, from stakeholders to support staff to clients, will benefit.
How to Establish a Culture of Emotional Intelligence
- Create a low-stress work environment. Deploying rational thinking and controlling our impulses and reactions creates more positive energy and reduces negative emotional ripple effects.
- Know your team’s strengths and weaknesses. Advancing social awareness skills and relationship management abilities leads to identification, assessment, and maximization of individual skill sets that can increase morale, productivity, and job satisfaction.
- Define purpose and encourage feedback. Set goals, share vision, ask for continuous feedback, nurture open communication, embrace change, and cultivate passion for the process as well as the results.