Emotional intelligence in the workplace is one of the most valuable assets in company culture. Here’s how to find employees who possess it.
EQ, also known as emotional quotient or emotional intelligence, is an incredibly valuable skill for leadership teams. Maintaining a high level of emotional intelligence in the workplace can help strengthen company culture and other essential values. EQ will bring your business more committed, engaged, and sharp employees. And that spells success.
How do you define emotional intelligence?
Emotional intelligence, or EQ, is an individual’s ability to be aware of, control, and express their own emotions. It’s also a measure of how they manage interpersonal relationships wisely and empathetically. This soft skill is becoming more sought after by employers. With today’s focus on company culture and teamwork, emotional intelligence is a critical component to building high performing teams.
Before the term was first defined in the 1990s, HR professionals and business leadership didn’t give the concept much thought. They had a limited view of intelligence in the workplace. They did not consider personal emotions and intelligence as compatible cognitive functions. Today, emotional intelligence in the workplace is a highly studied concept by psychologists and HR experts.
How will emotional intelligence at work help my team?
This soft skill is so important that 75% of hiring managers surveyed reported valuing EQ over IQ.
Workplace emotional intelligence in the workplace is a valued skill concerning business decisions, high-pressure situations, workplace stress, conflict resolution, interpersonal relationships, constructive criticism, and more. Emotionally intelligent managers will be able to handle these situations most effectively. Understanding and reasoning with coworkers, supervisors, and customers requires more than logic alone.
This soft skill is so important that 75% of hiring managers surveyed reported valuing EQ over IQ. Studies also show that high emotional intelligence in the workplace directly relates to better job satisfaction and performance. These studies also indicate that high EQ equals better stress management and leadership abilities.
How do I increase the emotional intelligence of my leadership team?
Can emotional intelligence be trained? Research says yes. Although social skills and personality traits are key factors in EQ, practicing emotional competencies can increase this valuable skill set.
Self-awareness is a critical skill when it comes to EQ. Self-awareness involves recognizing your own emotions. Once you can effectively identify your own feelings of happiness, anger, frustration, etc., you’ll be able to better pick up on emotional cues from others.
Strong social skills are also linked to high emotional intelligence in the workplace. For example, they help you with active listening, recognizing nonverbal cues (body language and facial expressions), and communication with others. Put yourself in more social situations to develop this characteristic.
Becoming more empathetic and understanding the core motivators of coworkers and team members is another part of the EQuation. Understanding other points of view can have a big impact on the way others respect and listen to leaders. Taking steps to identify intrinsic motivations is very helpful in understanding the emotions of others.
Managers can help their leaders increase their emotional intelligence in the workplace through education and emotional intelligence training. Help your employees understand these different components of EQ. It’s beneficial to create situations and cooperative tasks that test the emotional intelligence of your leaders and project managers.
Mock social situations and conflict resolution scenarios will help with improving emotional intelligence skills and encourage self-regulation. This will ultimately help you build a positive work environment with happier employees.
How can I identify candidates with high emotional intelligence?
During the hiring process, it’s beneficial to choose candidates with a high EQ. This is especially true when filling managerial or human resources roles. Daniel Goleman, an emotional intelligence expert, explains there are 5 categories of EQ.
A person with a healthy sense of self-awareness understands their own strengths and weaknesses and how their actions affect others. A self-aware person is usually able to handle and learn from constructive criticism. To gauge self-awareness, ask them to think of someone at work they consistently didn’t agree with. Ask them how that person would describe them.
A person with a high EQ can share their emotions appropriately and exercise restraint when needed. Instead of suppressing or ignoring their emotional triggers, they practice self-management and regulation. One example of a question to ask is, “How do you manage negative feedback about your workplace performance?”
A person with a high EQ can share their emotions appropriately and exercise restraint when needed. Instead of suppressing or ignoring their emotional triggers, they practice self-management and regulation.
Emotionally intelligent people are self-motivated rather than driven by money or titles. They are usually resilient and have an optimistic attitude when they encounter setbacks or disappointments. For example, ask them to tell you about a time where they went above and beyond their role and expectations.
A person who has empathy and compassion allows them to emotionally connect with other people. The ability to empathize helps a person provide great service with a positive attitude and respond genuinely to others’ concerns. To gauge this, ask them about a time they had to deliver difficult news and how they went about it.
People who are emotionally intelligent use their social skills to build rapport and trust quickly with others on their teams. They avoid power struggles, backstabbing, and petty drama. They usually enjoy other people and have the respect of those around them. To gauge their people skills, ask them about a time when they experienced effective teamwork.
Looking for the highest EQ
When screening new candidates for high EQ, test for these qualities. Hiring managers can gauge their level of competency by asking scenario questions during the interview. Pick questions that test their knowledge of each trait to determine if they will be a good fit for your organization.