What is Emotional intelligence?
It’s defined as the capability of individuals to recognize their own emotions and those of others, discern between different feelings and label them appropriately, use emotional information to guide thinking and behavior, and manage and/or adjust emotions to adapt to environments or achieve one’s goal(s).
Ok. Let’s try it again. Only, this time – a bit simpler. Basically, EI is the ability to be aware of one’s emotions and to be able to control them. To have emotional intelligence is to deal successfully with interpersonal relationships and to handle them with understanding.
There is another term typically associated with EI – it’s the empathy, which relates to a person connecting their own experiences with those of others.
So, let’s cut to the chase – with so many people in the project management industry, how do you pick the best and where is the emotional intelligence in that process?
To sum up, a good PM must be able to build relationships at work, deal with conflict, manage a team, and deliver on a strategy to achieve tangible benefits for the business.
Is business getting more humane?
It’s the fact that the workplace has changed a lot in the last five to ten years. And we can definitely name emotional intelligence as one of the biggest reasons things are moving in this humane-all-warm-fuzzy-and-politically-correct direction. How does it fit in this somewhat harsh environment?
EI’s roles in business today
First of all, the EI is crucial when it comes to the HR department. Especially, during the process of hiring and promotions. Hiring managers are now looking for people with high EQ more than ever. Skills like playing nice and fair with others, solving conflict within workplace relationships, effectively handling work-related stress, and learning from their interpersonal mistakes – are on the top of required-competence-list.
The same goes for promotions. It’s a fact that fewer people with low EQ are being promoted to C levels.
Being a good leader does not imply excellent results only. Employees are keen to work with somebody who demonstrates a high level of EI. Good leaders are expected to be self-aware, but to understand team members and to be able to connect with them emotionally. Only then, an inspiring and trustworthy working atmosphere will blossom. Likewise, leaders are looking for employees with the same qualities and abilities.
Emotional intelligence is also changing work culture.
A job is not just a job anymore, people want to work in a stimulating environment that is bringing the best in them. Employees want to feel needed and cared for – and that can be done only if leaders know who they are, not just as employees, but also as people.
Productivity is just another element of the business world that has been affected by this ever-growing trend of acknowledging the importance of EI. Back in the “old days”, productivity used to be measured only by results; but now, companies are seeing it differently – when employees are happy and emotionally healthy, that leads to better productivity. This is where the work environment gets on stage: if it’s inviting, positive, and respectful – that equals productivity. Employees are now more valued, understood, and appreciated.
Why is Developing EQ in the Workplace so Important?
The answer is simple and short, we’ll give you two reasons:
- EI is linked to higher job satisfaction for those with high EI/EQ as well as employees who work with or are managed by those with high EI/EQ.
- It is strongly associated with job performance
How does emotional intelligence have such an impact on job performance?
- Emotional stability (greater ability to manage their own emotions and tolerate stress)
- Conscientiousness (tendency to be diligent, hardworking, control impulses)
- Extraversion (a personality trait that makes people more open and better at establishing relationships with others)
- Ability EI (individuals’ ability to perform emotion-related behaviors, like expressing emotions, empathizing with others, and combine emotion with reasoning)
- Cognitive ability (IQ; studies suggest there is at least some overlap between the IQ and EQ)
- General self-efficacy (confidence in the ability to cope with the demands of our job)
- Self-rated job performance (Bailey, 2015).
How to nurture and use better EI?
Encourage the atmosphere where people listen to each other in meetings (or anywhere else for that matter). Having in mind that not all meetings are productive and with a positive and constructive outcome – make sure that everyone at the table has its time to speak and express their opinion or suggest an idea. And when the time comes, listen to that person. And listen carefully.
Allow people to express themselves openly. Make them feel comfortable about commenting on important issues, as well as listening to others expressing their own opinion.
Another thing that EI enriches is the way your company embraces changes. Change initiatives should be taken seriously and carried out in earnest. When the level of EI in your organization is low, it is resistant to changes, failing to put in the effort necessary to make change initiatives succeed. Also, high EI always brings so much needed flexibility and the opportunity to face any difficulties with optimism. On top of all this, EI will help your co-workers unleash their creativity.
Benefits of an EI in Business
Let’s talk some more of benefits a strong EI atmosphere. What does it bring to your company?
- Better control of our motivation!
- A sharp skill to understand others effectively and communicate with them.
- Smart stress, uncertainty, and anxiety handling.
Emotional Intelligence for Project Managers
Having a high level of EI, project managers are more able to…
- Perceive emotion: ability to recognize, attend to, and understand one’s own emotions and others’ emotions.
- Manage emotion: the ability to effectively manage, control, and express emotions.
- Decision-making: ability to appropriately apply emotion to manage and solve problems.
- Achieve: the best motivation to achieve is inner or intrinsic motivation.
- Influence: the ability to recognize, manage, and evoke emotions in others.
A few tips for applying EI in the workplace
It’s simple and pretty much general. However, by working on these skills, your EI will only rise and the results will be visible – from your workplace atmosphere, communication between team members, all the way to a successfully executed project.
As a plus, your private life will thrive as well. And that is a big thing, wouldn’t you agree?