This article first appeared on TalentTalks.net.
Today’s workplace is marked by technology, globalisation, uncertainty, and change. This complicated work landscape poses huge challenges to organisations – especially to the people in the organisation. To cope with these challenges in an effective way, people have to be flexible, adaptable, and resilient. They must trust themselves and others, have good problem-solving skills, and know how to cope with the stressors that accompany these challenges. Furthermore, success on employee and business level hinges on effective personal performance and favourable relationships with customers, suppliers, colleagues, subordinates, and stakeholders. Productivity usually suffers when employees face aspects of their work they don’t enjoy or people with whom they disagree. Emotional Intelligence provides the tools required to become more productive, cope better with work stress, resolve differences, and work effectively in teams.
When going to work, one does not necessarily consider the emotional aspect of it and the significant role our emotions play in our productivity and success. We are after all emotionally driven creatures, whether we want to be or not. Being aware of our emotions and regulating them effectively are crucial elements of Emotional Intelligence. More specifically, Emotional Intelligence refers to the ability to recognise specific emotions in oneself and others, acknowledge their effect on one’s goals and relationships, and either minimise negative effects or actively elicit emotions that are more appropriate to the situation.
A recent study by JVR Psychometrics1 has confirmed the positive relationship between various elements of work performance and emotional intelligence. Employees with higher levels of Emotional Intelligence received more favourable ratings from their managers on each factor of a scale that provides a review of individual work performance. These factors are organised into five broad categories:
1.) In-role performance
refers to the effectiveness and efficiency with which employees perform core activities required by the job. These include working accurately, achieving and exceeding work-related goals, championing the organisation’s principles, and demonstrating technical expertise at work;
2.) Extra-role performance
reflects voluntary acts that benefit colleagues and the team that are not part of existing work responsibilities, such as a willingness to assist colleagues with tasks, being proactive, taking charge of own learning and development, spotting opportunities, and generating new ideas;
(3) Adaptive performance
indicates resiliency to perform when dealing with crises or uncertainty. It also reflects employees’ interpersonal flexibility when working with colleagues that may have different viewpoints;
(4) Counterproductive performance
refers to intentional acts by an employee that could undermine the effectiveness of teams, such as rudeness, being inconsiderate, lack of motivation, being opposed to constructive feedback, and unwillingness to learn new skills.
(5) Leadership performance
reflects the effectiveness with which an employee can influence colleagues to achieve collective goals.
To drive employee engagement and performance, companies play an important role in fostering Emotional Intelligence (or EQ as called by its metric) among employees, one of which is to make it part of their corporate culture. When companies make the language of Emotional Intelligence part of the everyday work experience, they create an environment in which employees naturally embrace and start living the concept. This can lead to lasting results and a bigger payoff in increased engagement and productivity.
Apart from creating a culture that speaks of Emotional Intelligence, exposure to appropriate development opportunities can help employees and leaders to achieve their own professional goals, as well as the organisation’s goals in a sustainable way. As a first step, it should be determined where improvements are required. Professionally administered self-report assessments, completed by employees, will highlight areas of concern and provide a guide for coaching and/or skills development. With this self-information, employers can plot the best course for Emotional Intelligence improvements in their workforce.
Emotional Intelligence can then be increased through appropriate employee development that focuses on practical capabilities that deliver immediate results. Programmes should be customised to address the specific competencies required. They are typically offered as workshops stretching over one or more days and delivered as face-to-face or virtual sessions with an experienced facilitator. Learning must be cemented through repetition. For example, JVR Academy uses a blended approach that includes online and video components to be referenced after face-to-face workshops
Ultimately, if companies can truly appreciate the fact that their employees are emotional beings they can find effective ways of managing this aspect so that it can be the x-factor that sets the organisation apart from its competition, instead of hampering its growth and success.
1. Case study: Emotional Quotient Inventory 2.0 (EQ-i 2.0) and Individual Work Performance, available on request: email@example.com
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