Emotional Intelligence

Posted in : HR Updates ROI on 25 July 2022
Caroline Reidy
The HR Suite
Issues covered: Emotional Intelligence; Employee Relations

Emotional Intelligence was coined by psychologists Peter Salovey and John Mayer (1990) and is described 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 refers to the capacity to recognise and manage our own feelings and to recognise and respond effectively to those of others. In business it has been linked to how well employees interact with their colleagues, how they manage stress or conflict, contributes to job satisfaction and also to overall performance. While cognitive intelligence has long been associated with success, it is now thought that it must be paired with emotional intelligence to create good leadership in business.  Emotional intelligence is now recognised for its success in both our work lives and personal lives for motivation and overall wellbeing.

The Components of Emotional Intelligence

There are four components of emotional intelligence: Self-Awareness, Self-Management, Social Awareness, and Relationship Management.

  • Self-Awareness refers to how aware we are and how precisely we can assess our emotions, our tendencies and how we behave in certain circumstances. It is also recognising how others respond to us, many find this uncomfortable and tend to only see what they want to see. Self-Management is our ability to control our emotions.
  • Self-Management also includes our transparency, adaptability, achievement, and optimism. A crucial factor of Self-Management is whether we respond or react to situations.
  • Social Awareness is the ability to recognise other people's emotions and inner thoughts. This helps with Relationship Management.
  • Relationship Management refers to the ability of individuals to use our awareness of our own emotions and those of others to manage interactions successfully.

Emotional Intelligence is considered a vital ingredient for leading employees. Within an organisation employees are able to work better together when there is an element of high emotional intelligence. Employees are likely to trust their co-workers and value their ideas and input. Employees are more likely to be 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.

Improving our Emotional Intelligence

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 skillset to manage people.

The following are ways of how to increase our Emotional intelligence:

  • Observing how we react to people and trying to see things from others’ perspectives and walking in their shoes.
  • Pausing before we speak, act or respond which allows for initial reactions to fade and for logical thinking to intervene.
  • Actively listening to others which allows us to better understand their needs and emotions.
  • Attempting to control our thoughts. We cannot control what happens to us or the emotions we feel in a moment, but we can control how we respond to them if we practice how we direct our thoughts.
  • Showing appreciation, as praising others on a habitual basis, trains our brains to focus on the good in others. This then encourages empathy and allows for a deeper understanding of people’s needs and motivations.
  • Reflecting on criticism and searching for ways to grow from it is vital. Criticism can sometimes be hurtful, but it can always be helpful. In the face of criticism, we should ask ourselves: How can I improve and grow from this?
  • Much of our communication is non-verbal, so paying attention to body language is important. If we only listen with our ears, we could be missing out on how a person really feels.
  • Apologising shows compassion and encourages us to better understand one another while building trust and respect.

Building on our Emotional Intelligence

In order to foster those relationships within teams, emotional intelligence needs to be built on. It’s important to never forget the direct impact management has on employees and colleagues. Managers must juggle changing priorities all the time but if they don’t adequately engage with and encourage teams, they may not be able to retain them. In business and leadership, it is understandable why emotional intelligence is so important. Emotionally intelligent people easily build trust and respect with others. They are good at managing relationships and building networks and they avoid power struggles.

Ensuring equality in our workplace will illustrate and promote emotional intelligence. It is essential that all employers have a robust equality recruitment policy. Ensuring that equality permeates an organisation to its core will greatly help with how employees treat each other. In the increasingly diverse world we live in, emotional intelligence is a useful tool for engaging in a more meaningful way with people of vastly different backgrounds and needs.

This article is correct at 25/07/2022

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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