Emotional intelligence in the workplace


The term “emotional intelligence” was coined in 1990 by scholars, however, business leaders soon adopted this concept and term and made it their own.

Emotional intelligence definition:

Emotional intelligence (EQ) is a person’s ability to perceive, comprehend and manage their own feelings and emotions. EQ consists of five core skills, namely:

  1. Self-awareness: the ability to recognise and comprehend one’s own mood and emotions, as well as how they affect others
  2. Self-regulation: the ability to think before we act
  3. Internal motivation: the drive to pursue and achieve one’s goals without expecting a reward
  4. Empathy: the ability to recognise and comprehend others’ motivations and emotions
  5. Social skills: the ability to socialise and manage relationships

Humans are inherently emotionally intelligent; however, we do need to take some time to assess and work on our own emotions. It’s important to note, that when it comes to increasing our emotional intelligence, practice makes perfect. We can increase and improve our emotional competencies one step at a time, and a little bit every day. The leaders of the most successful companies in the world demonstrate high levels of emotional intelligence, and rightfully so.

The importance of emotional intelligence in the workplace:

The decisions we make at work, and in our personal lives are emotionally charged and we often make choices based on intuition, or our gut feelings. In a work environment, where we work in teams, it’s important to understand the origin of these emotions that we base our decisions on, because then we can be more attuned to each other and each other’s emotions, leading to better decision-making within the team and business.

The globalisation of business has caused the significance of emotional intelligence to increase because we are working with people from different backgrounds and cultures. This increases the complexity of interactions dramatically, which means we must be more in touch with the emotions of others as well as our own emotions.

In a nutshell, emotional intelligence in the workplace comes down to understanding, communicating, managing emotions, building good relationships, and solving problems under pressure together, as a team. By having high levels of emotional intelligence in the workplace, employees and management alike can experience increased productivity, higher morale and excellent problem-solving abilities.

This article is a general information sheet and should not be used or relied on as legal or other professional advice. No liability can be accepted for any errors or omissions nor for any loss or damage arising from reliance upon any information herein. Always contact your adviser for specific and detailed advice. Errors and omissions excepted (E&OE)




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