Five ways you can improve your employees’ emotional intelligence

Want to increase the happiness of your workforce – and the success of your business? Find out how you can improve your employees’ emotional intelligence.

Think that good grades and intelligence are the only two prerequisites for success? You might be surprised to lean that today’s corporate world also demands emotional intelligence.

So what does ’emotional intelligence’ mean, especially in the context of work? It is more than just having and expressing empathy. It’s the ability to understand and manage your own and other people’s feelings.

An emotionally intelligent person has a better understanding of how certain feelings may have led someone (or themselves) to react a particular way.

Possessing a strong emotional intelligence (EQ) is proven to help people succeed in their professional lives and impact the organisation’s growth. So it is worth investing in the emotional intelligence of your workforce.

How hiring people with high EQ can help your business

One the past few years, awareness of the importance of emotional intelligence has increased, and more companies are searching for emotionally competent candidates.

Daniel Goleman, in his book Emotional Intelligence even went as far to state that emotional intelligence was more important than academic intelligence when it came to success. He observed that that while our IQ might help us land a job, our EQ often determines how quickly we are promoted.

So it makes sense for a company to hire emotionally intelligent people, and to boost the EQ of their existing staff.

We know that an emotionally intelligent team enjoys better relationships and helps create a more positive work culture. They are better able to manage their feels and act with consideration and thought – benefiting your company, your customers and your bottom line. It’s easier to hire and retain good staff if your workplace possess a higher level of emotional intelligence, too.

Five ways you can improve your employee’s emotional intelligence

So, aside from making sure you hire the right people, how can you improve the EQ your workplace. One way is to improve the emotional intelligence of your existing employees. Here are five ways you can do this.

1) Build self-awareness

Emotional intelligence begins when we recognise and understand our emotions. It starts with self-awareness, where you identify your feelings and understand how they impact you and your surroundings.

The awareness stage helps us not let our feelings overpower their thinking abilities. This is especially important in a workplace setting where employees need to make decisions that positively influence their work and the company’s future.

You can encourage employees to become self-aware by encouraging them to ask questions like:

  • How is my current mood affecting how I think and make decisions?
  • What are my emotional strengths and weaknesses?
  • Are my emotions influencing what I say or do?

These questions can help your employees to evaluate their feelings, rather than just feel and act on them without insight, and develop their interpersonal skills.

2) Help your employees see criticism as a learning opportunity

It’s common for employees to feel bad if they receive criticism – and understandable. But by changing how criticism is delivered, received and interpreted can have a big impact on how your staff feel, and what they do with the information.

Rather than seeing criticism as a ‘telling off’, reframe it as an opportunity for constructive feedback and to improve. The key is to be able to manage any feelings when receiving feedback and work out how to deal with a similar situation in the future.

To become an emotionally intelligent person and take criticism positively, your employees can question the following:

  • Why did it upset me?
  • How did I react to it?
  • Besides blaming someone else, how can I take responsibility and focus on improving myself?

3) Help your employees to manage their stress

Working under a high degree of stress can negatively impact the way anyone thinks. So your employees can really benefit from some solid mechanisms to cope with job-related stress.

Stress management leads to improved emotional intelligence, uplifting job performance, and avoiding job burnout.

So what can you do? As a leader, you should be aware of your employee’s workload, significant deadlines and other personal life factors that can heighten their stress levels. Find ways to reduce their pressure when you see your employees feel burdened. This can include reducing their workload or giving them a leave to care for their mental health.

4) Encourage open conversations

An important part of emotional intelligence involves speaking your emotions instead of letting them build up until they lead to an emotional outburst. So creating an environment where employees freely communicate and share their feelings is beneficial to your organisation.

If you don’t create an environment where employees feel comfortable sharing their feelings, they will feel frustrated and dissatisfied with their work.

For example, if a team member is not satisfied with how a project is being led and if they are not given the opportunity to express their feelings, it could leave them frustrated, angry and unhappy with how they are treated. This can generate resentment and reduce their engagement.

This is why it is crucial to encourage open conversations. You can do it by conducting regular team-building events and check-ins to ensure your employee is happy working.

5) Arrange emotional intelligence training sessions

Improving your workforce’s emotional intelligence will result in better job performance. So holding emotional intelligence training sessions at your workplace could be a wise investment. These sessions can help to increase your employees’ value and enable them to handle greater responsibilities.

You can find several talented soft skills trainers who teach corporate employees the importance of emotional intelligence and ways to develop them.

If your company needs to conduct regular soft skills training sessions to develop your employees’ emotional intelligence, you can assign a manager to take up the role and become a soft skills trainer.