Why is Emotional Intelligence Important?

Posted in : HR Updates ROI on 12 February 2020
Caroline Reidy
The HR Suite
Issues covered:

Emotional Intelligence has been coined by psychologists Peter Salovey and John Mayer (1990) as “the ability to monitor one’s own and others emotions to discriminate between different emotions and label them appropriately and use emotional information to guide thinking and behaviour.”

Emotional intelligence has been in practise since the early 1930’s, it is seen as the ability to get along with other people. It is important in today’s society to have a high level of emotional intelligence in the workplace for employees of all levels within the organisation structure, as it will benefit employees to interact and communicate with others more productivity and improve professional relationships. 

When emotional intelligence is discussed it is usually connected with leadership and ultimately charisma. There are very well know leaders across the business world that are well known for their emotional intelligence such as Jeff Bezos CEO, Amazon.  For example; Amazon centres have been criticised for difficult working conditions. Mr. Bezos has responded by saying that the stories “don’t describe the Amazon I know or the caring Amazonians I work with every day. But if you know of any stories like those reported, I want you to escalate to HR. You can also email me directly at jeff@amazon.com. Even if it's rare or isolated, our tolerance for any such lack of empathy needs to be zero.”  This statement illustrates emotional intelligence at its finest.

Recent reports have shown that people would rather do business with a likeable personality even if the service quality is not the highest or most well regarded. Therefore, the same can be said about employees wanting to work with Companies who have a high emotional intelligence.   There are four components of emotional intelligence, Self-Awareness, Self-Management, Social Awareness, and Relationship Management.

Self-Awareness is how aware you are and how precisely you can assess your emotions, your tendencies and how you behave in certain circumstances. It is also recognising how others respond to you, many find this uncomfortable and tend to only see what we want to see.

Self-Management is your ability to control your emotions. Self- management also includes your transparency, adaptability, achievement, and optimism. A crucial factor of self-management is whether you respond or react to situations.

Social awareness is the ability to recognise other people's emotions and inner thoughts. This helps with relationship management. Self-management is the ability to be flexible in our responses and being aware of our emotional state so as to ensure proactive behaviour. 

Emotional intelligence is considered a vital ingredient in leading your employees. Within the organisation employees are able to work better together when there is an element of emotional intelligence.   Employees are likely to trust their co-workers and value their ideas and input.  Employees are respectful and thoughtful as the group works together. This is an ideal situation for an employer. In turn it allows employees to express themselves more clearly and creates effective communication in the workplace environment.

According to Brighton School of Business and Management 67% of all competencies that are determined as being absolutely essential for high performance in the workplace are related to emotional intelligence.   Heightened emotional intelligence can additionally promote trust and integrity in the workplace and could assist the organisation in retaining talent in the long-term, which is a core issue many organisations are struggling with given the new full employment status in Ireland. 

It is vital in today’s society that we ensure that managers within organizations have received people management training.  It is understood that managers have been made manager’s within organisations as they have the skillset for their specific area of work, however this does not necessarily mean that they have the skill set to manage people, these are a specific skill set.

Ensuring equality in your workplace will illustrate and promote emotional intelligence. It is essential that all employers have a robust equality recruitment policy. Ensuring that equality permeates your organisation to its core will greatly help in how employees treat each other.

Being emotionally intelligent means always being ready to manage responsibility. Your management team should be ready to take responsibility of actions whenever things are not going right. For example, in the case of a customer complaint the Manager in a store does not place blame on the employee in the presence of the customer as this is an internal reaction. Best practise would be to apologise to the customer, offer a voucher of some sort and confirm we appreciate it was brought to our attention and give assurances it will not happen in the future. This addresses erroneous actions by employees while at the same time accepting responsibility. 

It is recommended that Management participate in a communication session to help exercise control over non-verbal communication. Successful non-verbal communication will rely on the capabilities you and your management team have for managing stress. Again, this ties into the people management/skills training that is advisable for your people managers. 

For more information on any of the above please contact The HR Suite on 066 7102887 or email on info@thehrsuite.com


This article is correct at 12/02/2020

The information in this article is provided as part of Legal-Island's Employment Law Hub. We regret we are not able to respond to requests for specific legal or HR queries and recommend that professional advice is obtained before relying on information supplied anywhere within this article.

Caroline Reidy
The HR Suite

The main content of this article was provided by Caroline Reidy. Contact telephone number is +353 66 710 2887 / +353 86 775 2064 or email info@thehrsuite.com

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