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When you think about emotional intelligence, it’s easy to think “it’s just common sense”, or “understanding emotions is easy”. This could not be further from the truth.

Emotional intelligence (EI) has been around for many years, yet misconceptions with regard to the concept still exist. In this blog we are going to clarify what it is, what it means for the workplace and why it is more important now than ever in this time of crisis.

What is emotional intelligence?

“Emotional intelligence is the ability to understand, use, and manage your own emotions in positive ways to relieve stress, communicate effectively, empathise with others, overcome challenges and defuse conflict.” [HelpGuide: Your trusted guide to mental health & wellness]

Why is emotional intelligence important in the workplace?

Emotional intelligence is always crucial in the workplace. It helps improve communication, management and relationships, and the upside is that it can be improved through training and practice. The responsibility lies with strong emotionally intelligent leaders, to provide the foundation for an emotionally intelligent workspace that gives people the freedom to express themselves, while being empathetic of others.

Emotional intelligence is commonly defined by four attributes:

  1. Self-management –the ability to control impulsive feelings and behaviour and manage them in healthy ways.
  2. Self-awareness – recognising one’s own thoughts and behaviour as well as strengths and weaknesses.
  3. Social awareness – empathy, empathy, empathy. Understanding the emotions and needs of others understanding emotional cues.
  4. Relationship management – the ability to develop and maintain healthy relationships, communicate clearly, inspire others, and manage conflict effectively.

What this means for the management of an organisation

The upside to an organisation that lacks emotional intelligence is that it can be improved through training and practice. This is where leadership steps in and makes it all possible. What distinguishes leaders is usually their level of emotional intelligence and it is those skills which help to develop a more effective workplace. For emotional intelligence to be effective, is has to start with the leader themselves, because an emotionally intelligent leader will grow emotionally intelligent employees. A leader’s ability to both recognise and control their own emotions in order to achieve the optimum results in any situation is a major contributing factor the success of a workplace. It is certainly a huge contributing factor to a workplace that has been thrust into remote working without any preparation ahead of time.

To learn more about managing a remote team, read our next blog here: https://afritraining.co.za/2020/04/24/5-tips-to-effectively-manage-remote-employees/

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