The impact of Emotional Intelligence at work

With hybrid working opening employers up to a wider candidate pool, it’s more important than ever that employees – at all levels of seniority – develop traits that go beyond the “required skills” that you’ll see in a job spec.

One of these skills is Emotional Intelligence.

In fact, reports suggest that whether a person has a decent level of emotional intelligence can often be linked to how much they will earn throughout their career.

But don’t worry, we’re not expecting you to go out and start weeping into your colleague’s cornflakes just yet. In this article we just want to talk you through the key elements:

  • What is Emotional Intelligence?

  • How does it impact your workplace?

  • As a manager or employer, how can you assess for Emotional Intelligence?

What Is Emotional Intelligence?

Picture emotional intelligence as the love child of Sherlock Holmes and Oprah Winfrey. Simply put, it’s our innate ability to truly understand, navigate, and then harness our own emotions and those of others.

Sometimes referred to as EL or EQ, people develop emotional intelligence throughout their entire lives and it can often be the difference between that caring teacher you treasure from your schooldays, and the demonic ex-boss you couldn’t wait to hand your notice in to.

The term was first coined by American psychologist Daniel Goleman, who’s theory comprises of five components that make up someone’s level of emotional intelligence:

  1. Empathy = “It must be hard for Robert to juggle all of those tasks everyday…”
    Understanding and recognising how colleagues may be feeling due to their experiences is a key trait of a great team-player. This allows you to respond with kindness and compassion.
  2. Social Skills = “I should tell Diane that I’m behind schedule so she can adjust her workflow…”
    Think of social skills more as your ability to communicate. Effective communication is key to any successful team, and ensuring you keep your colleagues in the loop never hurt anyone. Just be careful to apply the next three pillars of EQ to avoid becoming an “over-sharer”.
  3. Self-awareness = “Maybe I shouldn’t have called Greg a bumbling buffoon in our catch-up.”
    We’d never recommend calling colleagues buffoons no matter how called for it feels. Instead, have some self-awareness. This is the ability to be aware of your own actions, as well as how they can impact people around you. Instead, next time just give Greg some constructive feedback.
  4. Self-regulation = “I’ll quietly take Michael to one-side to discuss his constant foot-tapping.”
    It can be difficult to regulate yourself and your actions. In fact, it’s often this control over our base emotions and ‘lizard-brain’ that causes the most friction in the workplace. Learning self-regulation allows you to keep your emotions in check and choose the perfect moment to express them. Because, let’s face it, nobody needs a dramatic emotional explosion in the office.
  5. Self-motivation“I feel much more confident after watching all 3 Bridget Jones movies last night.”
    Emotionally intelligent people find motivation from their inner most desires and goals. It’s important that you understand what drives you, and what will help keep you in the right frame of mind to achieve success (whether that’s studying the FTSE 100 or binge-watching romcoms).

Now you know the five key components, the next step is taking a good hard look in the mirror and figuring out how you can put it into practice. – Look at you, showing self-awareness already!

If you’re looking for ways to improve your own emotional intelligence, take a look at these 50 quick tips from RocheMartin.

How Does Emotional Intelligence Impact a Company or Workplace?

At Recruitment South East, we know that emotional intelligence is the secret sauce that can add that extra pizzaz to a workplace. It’s the key to how employees interact, handle stress, and perform their work.

Although it can be tricky to assess and train, here are just a few of the benefits of ensuring emotional intelligence is rife throughout your workforce, which will have you facing this challenge with a “Bring it on!” attitude:

  1. Overcoming Obstacles: Employees with high EQ are unstoppable when it comes to achieving the organisation’s goals. No matter what obstacles or setbacks come their way, they will have the resilience and determination to push through and succeed.
  2. Motivation Booster: When staff members understand their own emotions and those of their colleagues, the motivation levels skyrocket. It creates a sense of unity and a shared drive to achieve common goals.
  3. Social Harmony: With emotional intelligence, good communication becomes a part of the company’s culture. It produces clear and effective communication channels, ensuring that everyone is on the same page and working towards a shared vision or objective.
  4. Positive Outlook: A workforce with high EQ often radiates positivity. Even in the face of challenges, employees maintain an optimistic mindset, which fuels productivity and innovation. This is often down to employees supporting each other and ensuring no team member is every left behind or in the dark.
  5. Stronger Working Relationships: Emotional intelligence fosters deep connections and positive relationships among employees. It creates an environment where collaboration and teamwork thrive.
  6. Flexible Powerhouses: Change is inevitable, but high EQ senior employees are masters at being flexible, as well as preparing their teams for change. They embrace adaptation with open arms, effectively managing any additional stress that comes along with it.
  7. Empathetic Decision-Making: With empathy at the forefront, decisions are made with the best interests of everyone involved. This leads to improved efficiencies, fewer matters being escalated to HR, and a more harmonious work environment.
  8. Leadership Excellence: Staff members with high levels of emotional intelligence are the leaders of tomorrow. Their EQ sets them apart, allowing them to excel in leadership positions and inspire others to reach new heights.

But wait, there’s more! Like a chart-topping smash hit, emotional intelligence is rather catchy. When you bring in emotionally intelligent individuals or nurture EQ skills in your existing team, the harmony spreads. Just like a choir, other team members catch the tune, learning to understand and manage their own emotions, and becoming extraordinary team players. The impact resonates throughout the organisation, creating a symphony of success.

As a manager or employer, how can you assess for Emotional Intelligence?

As a manager or employer, you might be wondering how to assess for emotional intelligence in potential candidates. While it’s not as straightforward as evaluating technical skills, there are effective strategies you can employ.

Firstly, consider working with an experienced recruitment agency like Recruitment South East. We have developed processes that help us figure out just how emotionally intelligent candidates are before placing them into roles where it’s a key part of the culture.

If you want to embed it into your own recruitment process, consider incorporating the following approaches:

  1. Behavioural Interview Questions: Craft interview questions that delve into situations where emotional intelligence is crucial. Ask candidates to provide specific examples of how they handled challenging situations, resolved conflicts, or demonstrated empathy and self-awareness.
  2. Role-Play Exercises: Incorporate role-playing scenarios that simulate real-life workplace situations. Observe how candidates navigate through these scenarios, demonstrating their ability to understand and respond to emotions effectively.
  3. Reference Checks: Reach out to the candidate’s references, including previous supervisors and colleagues, to gain insights into their emotional intelligence. Ask about their interpersonal skills, ability to collaborate, and how they manage their emotions in various work environments.
  4. Assessment Tools: Utilise validated assessment tools specifically designed to measure emotional intelligence. These tools can provide valuable insights into a candidate’s emotional competencies, helping you make informed decisions during the hiring process.

Note: If you’re a senior team leader, Insights Discovery is a fantastic tool that allows you to gain insight into your own Emotional Intelligence.

Remember, emotional intelligence is not a fixed trait, and individuals can continue to develop and enhance it over time. Look for candidates who show a willingness to learn and grow in this area, as they are more likely to contribute to a positive and harmonious work environment.

By incorporating these assessment strategies, you can identify candidates who possess the emotional intelligence necessary for effective leadership, teamwork, and overall success within your organisation.

After all that, what have we learnt?
Emotional Intelligence is the skill that takes employees from “meh” to “marvellous”. And when embedded in a company culture, it can be a source of both positivity and productivity.

So, if you’re ready to recruit top emotionally intelligent talent, build cohesive teams, and unlock the power of skills that aren’t on a CV, don’t waste another moment. Contact Recruitment South East today and let us guide you on the path to team-building success.

Trust us, we’ve got the EQ to make it happen!