Angela has taught middle and high school English, Business English and Speech for nine years. She has a bachelor's degree in psychology and has earned her teaching license.
Importance of Emotional Intelligence
Intelligence is a multifaceted concept, constantly affected by various internal and external factors. Within the workplace, intelligence can play a vital role in the success of a business. A major part of one's intelligence is emotional intelligence, which consists of understanding one's own emotions as well as those of other people. Learn more in the lesson entitled How to Promote Emotional Intelligence at Work.
Emotional intelligence has a significant role in the social aspects of any type of business. Here, you will read about a fictional company and how emotional intelligence affected the business.
AutoBag Inc. is a company that produces airbags for cars. The company consists of a warehouse where the airbags are manufactured, as well as offices with various departments (such as sales, finances, and HR). AutoBag Inc. produces the product and sells it to various auto manufacturers.
The departments have to work together in order to achieve the production, sales, and profit goals of the company. However, there have been issues with the relationships between the departments. The financial department, in particular, seems to have negative relationships with the workers in the other departments. They often put the blame on others for wasting time or money. When an accident occurs on the warehouse floor, or a delivery didn't go out on time, or a big sales opportunity does not come to fruition, the workers in the financial department focus on putting the blame on those in other departments.
Imagine you are the CEO of AutoBag Inc. Look at the following questions to see how you can begin to identify and analyze the emotional intelligence of your company.
- How does the financial department view the other workers?
- How do the workers in each of the other departments view those working in finance?
- When do the tensions seem to be at the highest? What could reduce the issues of using blame?
- On a scale of 1-5, rate the emotional intelligence of the employees in finance. Rate the other departments. Are there differences? Why?
Write your answers to these questions to try to identify possible emotional weaknesses.
Now that you have a general analysis of the issues facing AutoBag Inc., let's look at the first strategy for improving emotional intelligence: promoting self-awareness. Self-awareness is the ability to understand the emotions of the self and of others. How can you help those in your company be more self-aware?
One way is to conduct a 360-degree self-assessment. This type of assessment asks employees to rate themselves first before having coworkers and managers rate the employee using the same questions. The original employee can then compare the different assessments of his or her performance. Basically, this allows a person to compare how they think they are doing to how others feel they are doing.
Write down 3-5 statements that could be used in a 360-degree assessment for the employees at AutoBag Inc. Here are two examples.
- On a scale of 1-5, how would you rate your ability to work with others? Write one sentence to explain your response.
- True or false: I go out of my way to make sure my coworkers feel like I care about them.
Once you come up with your own statements for the assessment, write 3-5 sentences on what you will do once every employee at AutoBag Inc. has the results. How will you make sure this ends in a positive way, with everyone open to feedback?
A second strategy for improving emotional intelligence in the workplace focuses on the personal values of your employees. Basically, what do your employees think is important? If that aligns with what the company values, then employees will be satisfied and content in their work, which in turn leads to better emotional intelligence. As CEO of AutoBag Inc., what can you do to play into personal values?
First, look at the company goal or mission statement. Here is the current goal of AutoBag Inc.: To produce quality airbags that will be sold and used in the majority of cars in the United States.
This is a logical and straightforward goal for this company. It focuses on selling airbags and growing the business. But does it align with what the employees value?
Let's say you conducted a survey to determine employee values and found that nearly all the employees truly care about the lives saved with your airbags. For them, it's not about the number of airbags sold, but the number of lives saved.
These personal goals do not align with the company goal of selling more airbags, which means your employees might not care to meet the company goal. How can you get them to buy in to the company's purpose?
Write down a new company goal that focuses more on the lives that can be saved and not on the number of airbags sold.
A last strategy you can use to promote emotional intelligence in the workplace is providing employee training on empathy and gratitude. Many managers look for opportunities for outside training for their employees. However, you can also develop your own activities to promote team building.
For example, some companies have special weekly, monthly, bi-monthly, or even yearly events where employees have a chance to interact in different ways beyond the day to day business dealings. As CEO of AutoBag Inc., come up with 2-3 ideas for some sort of team building activities you can incorporate into the business.
Here is one example. Have a crossover day where several employees can shadow another person from a different department. The first week maybe 5 of the accountants will shadow the warehouse workers and help do their job for a day. Then the next week, 5 of the warehouse workers will shadow the accountants. In this way, each department learns to appreciate the other's body of work.
Think about your own workplace. Observe how you and the other employees treat each other. What is the status of your coworkers' emotional intelligence? Are you self-aware? Are they? Incorporate your own 360-degree assessment. Come up with statements and rate yourself as honestly as you can. Then ask a few peers and your manager to do the same. Compare the results. Are you performing as well as you think you are? What can you do to encourage your own emotional intelligence?
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