Emotional intelligence is the ability to know your own emotions as well as those of other people, evaluate them and manage them. Emotional intelligence rests in various personal characteristics like perseverance, self-control and interpersonal skills that enable you to get along with others.
Emotional Intelligence in the Workplace
In the workplace, principles of emotional intelligence can help employees navigate workplace conditions, work together with others, and generally perform better. The following characteristics represent the five pillars of emotional intelligence, which some hiring teams have begun to interview for and companies have begun to encourage in their current employees.
Self-awareness involves understanding your strengths and weaknesses as well as the impact your actions have on other people. Self-aware people are often able to accept constructive criticism better than others.
Self-regulation is the ability to express emotions appropriately, without revealing too much or repressing too much. Restraint and self-control characterize this trait and help employees have positive interactions with others.
Motivation is another trait those with emotional intelligence possess. Instead of being motivated by external rewards or threats of punishment, an inner ambition and sense of right and wrong motivate those who are highly emotionally intelligent.
Empathy means being able to identify with the feelings of others and understand human nature. Empathy is evident in those who care about the feelings of others and try to help them when they are going through hard times.
People skills include the ability to meet the needs of others when interacting and build trust and rapport. Those with emotional intelligence avoid power struggles and backstabbing, and they usually enjoy being with other people.
Why Emotional Intelligence is Important in the Workplace
According to the Future of Jobs Report by the World Economic Forum, emotional intelligence will be a top job skill by 2020. Some employers are beginning to use assessments during the hiring process to measure the emotional intelligence of candidates. Emotionally intelligent candidates are attractive to employers because they handle the normal stresses of the job in healthier ways, and they often make better decisions than those with lower emotional intelligence.
Cooperation and teamwork have taken on the utmost importance in many workplaces—teams that can’t work well together are a drag on the organization and negatively impact the bottom line with lowered productivity and poor decision-making. Emotionally intelligent employees also react better to constructive feedback and are better listeners.
Emotionally intelligent workers are resilient; they can make adjustments when things don’t work out the way they expect. They can overcome irritations and people generally respect them and seek to emulate them. In time, emotionally intelligent people can often pass their traits and skills on to others, which can benefit the entire organization.
While some say that emotionally intelligent people are born with those personality traits, others say emotional intelligence can be learned like other skills. Either way, employers are going to be actively looking for signs of emotional intelligence in candidates for some time to come.
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