Get Emotional: Cultivating an Intelligent Workplace [Part 1]

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Young businessman curse at the destiny with blowing necktie and bunch of moneyWe all know that the success of any company depends on the productivity of its workers. And productive workers need to be led by people who understand the who, what, when, where and how-to of customer demand. Entering from stage left —intelligence.

Along with an intelligent management team, productive workers also need leaders who, well…get it. Employees need managers and supervisors who understand their wants and needs not only as workers, but as human beings. They need people who understand and recognize their emotions and who are capable of effectively managing those feelings. Entering from stage right emotional.

Combine the two and what’s left at center stage? Emotional intelligence.

Emotional intelligence is not only important for our careers, but it is beneficial to our personal well-being. From consultants and entrepreneurs to professors and authors, check out what a few industry experts had to say about how you can understand, cultivate and ultimately benefit from emotional intelligence in the workplace:

What is emotional intelligence?

Emotional intelligence is simply the capacity to recognize and understand the emotions of others and oneself and the capability to manage the emotions of others and oneself.

In the workplace, high emotional intelligence is the quickest way to increase revenue and profits. The greater the capacity and capability to demonstrate emotional intelligence, the greater the rewards will flow to your organization.

Leanne Hoagland-Smith, CRO Heurist, ADVANCED SYSTEMS

[Emotional intelligence] is what allows you to influence the people around you. It is the foundation of conflict management, adaptability and teamwork. Clearly there is an expectation that an employee is aware of and in control of their emotions in the workplace, but I think it goes much further as a success factor in the workplace.

To succeed in business these days, most positions require an ability to work with a team—sometimes as a leader and sometimes as a contributor. Knowing how to effectively work in team, manage the conflicts, meet deadlines, keep all members engaged, etc. is critical to success in many organizations.

Lynne Sarikas, Executive Director of the MBA Career Center, D’Amore-McKim School of Busines, Northeastern University

Why is emotional intelligence important in the workplace?

Emotional intelligence is important in the workplace because humans by definition are emotional beings. We all react differently to certain situations, and any effective manager must be cognizant (and be able to deal with) the emotional reactions of his or her staff members. It’s also important that you have your own emotions firmly under control. If not, you’ll lack the credibility you need with your staff in order for them to view you as an effective leader.

David Bakke, Editor, Money Crashers Personal Finance

The workplace is a network of relationships in which purpose is created, commitments are designed and managed, and in which trust is foundational. How we respond to the inevitable disappointments, failures, and achievements along the way is a measure of our emotional intelligence.

Workers at every level need the skills, i.e., emotional intelligence, to manage their reactions to workplace and work-related events. When they do this, they manage their relationships with co-workers at all levels of authority.

Foundational to all this is the ability to cultivate a workplace environment that encourages openness; openness naturally produces productive conversations that lead to better coordination, collaboration and greater trust.

All companies aspire to create the kind of morale that spurs creative ideas and authentic commitments to realize those ideas. And, this is a very attainable goal for those corporate cultures that value and validate authenticity and trust—providing fertile ground for the development of social and emotional intelligence.

In effect, employees with “high social and emotional IQs” are as important to the company’s bottom line as they are to the quality of work-life.

Dr. Peter Yaholkovsky, Business consultant, Coach, LifeScape LLC

How can employers develop and strengthen their emotional intelligence capabilities?

Start with knowing yourself. It is best to use a mentor or coach to do that, since we are terrible students of ourselves. I believe strongly that you cannot adopt new behaviors unless the underlying beliefs are clear, so don’t expect a seminar or workshop to do the work you have to do within yourself to understand what your emotions are saying. Next, pay attention to people who seem to have that “knack” of being comfortable around people and easily draw people to them, and model that style. Last, seek feedback, including from people who you feel may not like you or trust you.

Paul Heagen, Executive Coach and Author of The Leader’s Climb

You cannot lead a progressive, informed life without this. We spend too much time on other people’s business and little on our own growth and development. Emotional intelligence, how you handle your own feelings, how well you empathize and get along with other people — is an essential human proficiency. Children, even small ones, who learn to manage their emotions, do better in all areas including education and their social life. They focus and learn better. It allows them to be smarter. We need to continue to practice these skills into adulthood!

Joyce Mikal-Flynn, Associate Professor, Sacramento State University

Stayed tuned to see what our experts had to say on the benefits of social intelligence in part 2 of this article.

By Shala Marks