Emotional Intelligence as a term is understated and misunderstood. I’m not going to tell you to start each day with a hug for all your employees, but that sentiment really underlines how little most of us understand emotional intelligence. It isn’t about being a really sensitive person, it’s being in-tune with the needs and perspectives of others. As an employer, such skills are immensely valuable.

A conversation on how to demonstrate emotional intelligence in the workplace is a conversation about leadership. A good leader is emotionally intelligent. As you grow your HR department, your ability to assess and respond to the needs of the workplace will grow.

What is Emotional Intelligence

Emotional Intelligence is the pairing of self-awareness and ability- the self-awareness that allows you to recognize and understand your own emotions and the ability to understand and influence the emotions of others.

A high Emotional IQ means you exhibit several qualities;

  • You’re empathetic.

While sympathy often ends with “I feel bad for you”, empathy is the ability to place yourself in another person’s perspective and understand how they might react to such a situation. Also known as caring.

  • You have self-control.

Destructive impulses, as well as the temptation to act based on ego, or dedication to maintaining an image, are all under control. You’re constant- the situation you’re presented with doesn’t change the person you are.

  • You’re proactive.

You see problems coming and prevent them. When you’re surprised, you don’t respond off the cuff or flippantly. A proactive person is prepared and won’t respond to any situation without understanding it and having a plan.

  • You’re patient.

A high EIQ means you understand the stakes and lack thereof. Sometimes, an employee’s ability to correct a mistake, improve, and show you how they respond to setbacks is more valuable than them under-delivering on-time.

  • You have charisma.

Being outgoing or enjoying being the center of attention is not the same as being likable. Even the most socially starved, quiet, introverted person is immensely likable when they make people feel listened to, understand where others are coming from, and make an effort to respect everyone’s point of view. That’s a person people want to be around, and that’s real charisma.

The more you develop your EIQ, you more complete you become as a human being. That’s, honestly, not really the level of advice we get to on this blog but becoming Emotionally Intelligent will help in both your personal and professional life.

Emotional Intelligence in the Workplace

The next step is applying these skills to your business. When a workplace leader has developed their EIQ, it shows in the quality of work they receive from their employees.

Each quality of an Emotionally Intelligence person has a real-world impact on your business.

  • Empathy

Every single employee should have direct, one-on-one time with their manager for at least 30 minutes every week. As a manager, you should know what your people are working on, the result of their most recent projects, what they’re going to be working on, and what, if any, current or potential issues they may be facing in the workplace.

That last one gets overlooked a ton, but we find the best way to improve your workflow and solve potential company crises, is through very simple conversations. Maybe the employee is feeling harassed. Maybe they haven’t done anything about it yet. Maybe your processes could be more streamlined. There is no one better to make insights about an industry or a ground-level issue than someone who deals with it every day.

Furthermore, it’s easier to come to a superior with a problem or a suggestion when that person already has a record of being open to those kinds of things. You’re crafting a reputation. Set a precedent for taking input now.

  • Self-Control

No one should be wary of you, or of what you might do.

You’re setting an example, and as we’ve explored, how seriously you take your company is the upper limit for how seriously your employers can take their work. Keep in mind, any off-color remarks, bad habits, or destructive tendencies will become stories your employees tell each other. You’re the biggest thing they all have in common. Try to keep those break room conversations about the boss as positive as you can.

  • Proactivity

If you’re the owner, or the founder, or just the guy/gal in charge, you know the importance of intrinsic motivation. While you may not have heard the term before, it’s the type of motivation that comes from your own desire to complete a task, rather than an external reward or punishment.

You take pride in your work. You go out and find things to work on. Every effort you make represents your own desire to be the best version of yourself. This is incredibly important in the workplace, where tasks often don’t have immediate consequences, and much of your day may be repetitive work that needs to be done, rather than something inspiring that you enjoy. When you feel good about a job is well done without the need to avoid punishment, or getting a pat on the back, it’s because of your own intrinsic motivation.

Everyone knows what proactivity is, but many lack the motivation to go that extra mile.

  • Patience

Pressure is good. It creates diamonds. It also causes bridges to collapse. As you make demands and set goals for your employees, make sure you’re applying the right kind of pressure.

This goes back to your reputation in the workplace. An employee shouldn’t be afraid to come to you with a problem or feel pressured to put out substandard work because of a deadline you set. If someone begins hiding mistakes from you, it’s A) going to lead to other problems you won’t have a chance to solve, and B) it’s likely because they’re more afraid of your reaction than the problem itself.

Be patient. It allows your employees to improve. Establish yourself as a resource to them rather than a guillotine, always hanging over their heads. Teach them. Show them how to be better. The thing about pressure creating diamonds is that it also takes time. It takes patience.

  • Charisma

Whether you’re making a sale, training a new employee, or having lunch with a client, you want people to like you. You might have all the information, all the experience in the world, but people don’t care what you know until they know that you care.

As it is with Self Control, the level of comfort your employees and customers feel around you is directly tied to your ability to create new business and keep the current business running smoothly. A charismatic person never has to wonder what they’re not being told. A charismatic person always has their finger on the pulse and are answering questions before they’re asked. People buy from people they like. People work for people they like.

Developing your charisma is the surest way to become an employer of choice.

Emotional Intelligence is undervalued. Maybe the word “emotional” makes us feel uncomfortable, but this is simply the ability to relate to and understand others. Apply these skills to your work ethic, and watch your team work together as you’ve never seen. If you have any questions, give a shout. We’d love to help you navigate your HR wasteland.