Emotional intelligence is a phrase that is often used in the corporate world, without actually realizing its meaning and the impact that it has on the effectiveness of the organizations. Unlike professional qualifications it is an ‘intangible skill’ that does not come with a certificate or a transcript that endorses, validates or quantifies the presence or absence of the Emotional Intelligence competencies. Therefore, despite the role Emotional Intelligence plays, and the impact it has on individual and group performance, it remains unnoticed and neglected.
Emotional intelligence at the most general level refers to abilities to recognize & regulate emotions in self & others. Though theories pertaining to Emotional intelligence have evolved multifold, this basic definition of Emotional intelligence suggests Four Emotional intelligence domains, namely: Self-awareness, Self-Management, Social-Awareness, & Social-Management. Enormous work has been done in the area. Emotional Intelligence has progressed through cross-functional studies in areas such as, evolutionary biology, Brain science, molecular biology, genetics, Physical Science, and Quantum Physics.
Emotional intelligence in the workplace is about the function of people and the relationships they manage. Workplace relationships are the lifeblood of business. These relationships can be within the organization or with the external stakeholders that include the customers, partners, competitors, suppliers, and other network that interacts with them. The health, strength and resiliency of these relationships are a powerful economic engine. Without solid skills in emotional self-management, arduous and energy draining emotional entanglements can derail even the smartest teams. Often, these issues are disguised as garden-variety conflicts and personality issues, and remain as the ‘Elephants in the room’. This brings the topic of ‘Group Emotional Intelligence’ to the fore. Group EI is “the ability of a group to generate a shared set of norms that manage the emotional process in such a way that builds trust, group identity, and group efficacy” ( Daniel Goleman & Cary Cherniss, 2001).
To gauge the role that Emotional Intelligence plays at the workplace, look at any factor that impacts Organizational effectiveness, you will find that Emotional Intelligence plays a role in it.
Consider following facts:
82 Percent Of People Don't Trust Their Bosses To Tell The Truth. (Reported by Forbes)
65 percent of the American workers would choose a better boss over a pay raise. (Jobsite)
Retaining talented employees is a huge a problem that organizations are facing today. PsychTests did an interesting ‘Turnover Probability Test’ recently. Researchers focused on people who intend to leave their position in the immediate future and are proactively searching for jobs. When asked what role management played in their decision to leave, the study revealed interesting results:
" 24% of soon-to-be quitters report that they don't have a good relationship with their manager.
53% claim that management fails to acknowledge or recognize hard work/achievements.
53% indicate that any concerns or issue that are brought to management tend to fall on deaf ears and go unresolved.
24% indicate that their manager does not respect employees."(Source PsychTest)
Emotional Intelligence is at the core of all the issues mentioned above.
Individual and collective Emotional Intelligence have a direct effect on the workplace environment and the bottom line of the organization. People having high emotional intelligence can cope with the organizational problems more effectively than those having low emotional intelligence, as they are:
Self-aware. They know their strengths and weaknesses and manage them well. They can anticipate where & when they can go wrong and prepare accordingly.
Good at managing themselves. Uncertainties cannot derail them for long as they know how bounce back, rather quickly.
Stay motivated. Even on the face of adversities they continue to stay optimistic and perform
Understand others better. Have empathy for others, appreciate other’s perspectives, and dare receptive to their ideas.
Foster good relationships. Respect social & cultural sensitivities, do not loose emotional control easily, like to help others & work collaboratively.
Create an environment of trust. Care for others. Know how to communicate sensitive and tough issues in effective and congenial manner.
Better leaders. They are able to influence & unite disparate teams behind a common vision. Possess interpersonal skills to engage people, not just rationally but emotionally.
The impact of individual high scores of employees in emotional intelligence can be seen in their ability to regulate their behavior in a way that promotes the well being, job satisfaction, motivation level, interpersonal relationships, quality of work life and retention time in an organization. Employees with low emotional intelligence exhibit behaviors such as angry outbursts, rude comments, incivility, moodiness, unnecessary stress, burnout, and have anxious work environments. Individual low scores of employees negatively impact a workplace and their team members, leading to poor morale. Thus, it is no surprise that workplaces that are high in Emotional Intelligence experience high employee engagement, while workplaces low in Emotional Intelligence experience high turnover, burnout, low productivity, and declining sales.
Ignorance is not bliss, especially if it has such serious implications. It’s time to keep a check on the Emotional Intelligence Quotient of your organization.
Some Red flags to identify the organizations that should focus on Emotional Intelligent development are as below:
High employee turnover – Employee ready to jump the ship, at first opportunity
Low employee morale – Employees not excited to come to work.
Growing Customers’ Complains – Customers unhappy with the way the sales and after sales service are handled.
Missing Sales Targets – Sales performance below the industry norms and organizational targets.
Lack of accountability – Employees do not take ownership of their actions, show lack of commitment towards achievement goals and KPIs and constantly look for excuses for inability to perform.
Do as I say style of management – Lack of empathy and lack of consideration for others ideas. It is always the case of ‘my way or high way’. Definitely no room for whistleblowers!
More internal, than external competition – Everyone is on a look out for his/her slice of pie, to earn extra brownie points in terms of attention and recognition. Self is more important than team, and personal agenda’s take priority over corporate goals.
Information hoarding – Employees hold on to information instead of sharing actively in order to gain importance, stay significantly relevant and become expensively irreplaceable.
The Blame Game – People try to cover mistakes, do not offer support to others and the focus is on ‘passing the buck’, ‘putting the blame on another’ & not on ‘fixing the issues’.
No room for mistakes – Zero tolerance for errors, risk takers strictly penalized. Forget about creative solutions and innovation.
Cubicle mongers – No one has time to meet with others, there is little camaraderie between colleagues. Meeting others is considered a waste of time. Focus is entirely on own-work & personal targets. Lack of knowledge sharing, bond building, and support for each other.
Power Politics – In such companies compliance and adherence to one of the power groups is a necessary skill for survival. Internal politics kills enthusiasm and passion to perform.
Unhappy Employees – People are unhappy and it shows!
Over contentment with the status quo – ‘This is how things are done here’ is the mantra that rules. Such an attitude can be immensely threatening to the survival of an organization, especially as ‘Change’ is the most stable ‘constant’ these days!
With a highly emotionally intelligent workforce, your company has the potential to meet and surpass its objectives. It is therefore important to pay due attention and check if your organization is an “Emotionally Intelligent Workplace”. The good news is that Emotional Intelligence competencies can be measured and developed through a focused and structured approach.
Preeti Dubey Founder, Director
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