Emotional intelligence is an individual’s ability to recognise their own emotions and feelings, manage their own behaviour in response to these emotions and make balanced decisions in emotional situations (not an easy thing to do!).
It is also an individual’s ability to recognise the emotions and feelings of others and interact with them in a way that shapes their behaviour and relationships with others.
Emotional intelligence is important in management and leadership which is why it features in many of our courses at TrainSmart Australia.
How to identify the impact of our own emotions on others
Your emotional strength is your mental ability and resilience to pressures and stresses. Some pressures may affect you more than others, and often in our personal lives, we react differently to how we would in the workplace.
The first step in developing emotional intelligence is to acknowledge and understand your own emotions and behaviours. There are not many working environments in which pressures to perform do not exist, and there are always unforeseen circumstances to contend with. In a management or leadership role the pressures generally increase as you rise up the hierarchy.
It is quite likely that there is more than one thing that causes you stress and anxiety or evokes other emotions such as annoyance or anger. Recognising what causes your own personal stress will help you to understand that of others.
We all have different emotional triggers and some can be very specific to the individual. The emotion is a reaction to an action or situation that compromises something that is very important to you. That compromise is the trigger.
By identifying and understanding the reasons for your emotional responses you become more aware of the issue. This consciousness should enable you to recognise the trigger and stop the emotional reaction before it occurs.
You can use self-reflection and feedback from others to further improve the development of your own emotional intelligence.
How to recognise and appreciate the emotional strengths and weaknesses in others
Your emotional responses will differ to those of your colleagues because we all have different personalities and emotional strengths and weaknesses. You need to be able to recognise the emotional strengths and weaknesses of others.
Australia is a huge multi-cultural nation with many different cultures that have varying ways of expressing emotions and it is important that you understand these emotional cues in order to respond appropriately and sensitively. The ‘display rules’ of each culture determine how much emotion individuals are allowed to convey in a given situation. The important thing to remember when dealing with others is to treat them as individuals and vary your approach as appropriate.
In his book, Leadership: The Power of Emotional Intelligence, Daniel Goleman states that the most successful leadership is that of managing the emotions of their team in order to keep motivation and morale high. The better the leader understands the members of their team, the more successful they can be in stimulating and motivating others to achieve desired goals.
(Develop and Use Emotional Intelligence is a key unit in TrainSmart’s Diploma of Leadership and Management course).
Emotional intelligence gives you the ability to show empathy and understanding of other people’s feelings. When making decisions that will affect the emotions of others, you need the ability to understand how they are likely to feel about the decisions you make.
How to promote the development of emotional intelligence in others
It can be quite daunting for people with whom you work to express their thoughts and feelings. One benefit of developing emotional intelligence in others is that if they are able to manage their own emotions, you don’t have to try and do it for them. This enables everyone to get on with the task in hand without having to spend time dealing with issues and incidents of an emotional nature.
Providing your workforce with safe opportunities to express their feelings and emotions away from the ‘shop floor’ will encourage them, as individuals and as a group, to start taking responsibility for their own emotions.
Encouraging your workforce to develop their own emotional intelligence helps them to build productive relationships not only in the workplace but enhances their personal relationships as well. Whilst you are supporting their personal development, you are also maximising workplace outcomes.
How to use emotional intelligence to get the best outcomes
It is well known that the emotional state of people engaging in a social interaction will determine whether the outcome is positive or negative. Since we work with other people, there will inevitably be social interactions.
Positive emotions breed positive social interactions and the more positive social interactions that take place within an organisation the better. Building a positive community within the organisation encourages workers to join together to work collaboratively on projects.
When team members have strong relationships, they are more likely to sustain positive emotions and a positive mind set. The maintenance of positive energy then breeds ideas and creativity which results in innovation and increased productivity.
(We learn the skills to do our jobs, but often the problems we face are relationship issues. Learn how to communicate effectively with TrainSmart’s Diploma of Counselling).
The satisfaction the team members enjoy from their success increases motivation for further success and a further increase in productivity. As the positive mood and emotions continue, the members of the team then seek to take on new challenges.
The more the workers collaborate and share success and satisfaction as a whole, the less competition there is for allocation of resources as it becomes a shared ownership for the benefit of the whole organisation.
The positive environment creates a work place that is fun, supportive, satisfying, productive and innovative.