Emotional intelligence is a somewhat new term, having been coined in 1990 by Peter Salovey and John. D Mayer and defined as: “a form of social intelligence that involves the ability to monitor one’s own and others’ feelings and emotions, to discriminate among them, and to use this information to guide one’s thinking and action”.
After this term was created, people began to question whether emotional intelligence (EQ) had more to do with achieving a happy and successful life than IQ did. It was science writer Daniel Goleman who expanded on this idea to say that it was actually emotional intelligence that contributed directly to business success, not straight cognitive intelligence.
It’s therefore vital that you foster emotional intelligence in your employees, because there are multiple benefits:
1. Emotionally intelligent people know themselves better
People with a high EQ are better at perceiving their own emotions. They can realise how they are feeling and know that they’re angry right now, or disappointed, and this then means that they’re able to react in a more measured way. This may stop them behaving aggressively when criticised, or it may encourage them to examine why they’re feeling threatened by someone else being promoted, for example.
2. They are more empathetic to others
Empathy is the ability to put yourself in another’s shoes and consider how they may be feeling, even though it can be different to your own response. People with a high EQ may predict that the person they manage could feel overwhelmed if they’re not guided step-by-step through a big project, even though they themselves are more assertive and prefer not to be micro-managed. Knowing what emotionally drives other people can be hugely valuable, specifically in situations where you need to motivate staff members: one person’s motivating factor may be more family time, while another may respond better to recognition in front of other employees.
3. They respond better to change
Change is inevitable in any organisation, whether it’s a project that’s come up against a hiccup, a working process that needs to be adapted or a larger organisational change such as restructuring. People with high emotional intelligence are more likely to remain optimistic when faced with disappointment or disruption, and their flexibility can be a key asset to an organisation because of this.
4. They work well in teams
People who have high emotional intelligence tend to work well with others, and are able to build rapport and get on well with a wide variety of people. They generally try to avoid drama, gossiping or teaming up against others, knowing that each employee has their individual part to play, and respecting them for their contribution. Because of these social skills, people with a high EQ can also make very strong leaders.
There are many personality tests that organisations can use to determine a person’s EQ, and it can be worth doing these throughout the company, or asking potential new recruits to complete one as well.
Provided by emotional intelligence.