[This is part two of an excerpt from my new book Emotional Intelligence in the Workplace, which is available at Amazon and wherever you buy books.]
Raising your level of emotional intelligence enables you to better manage the stress you may experience in workplace relationships. This is because EQ helps you adapt to change, be flexible and more resilient while working with others. You are better able to be a cooperative teammate and enhance your leadership capacity.
It’s especially important in a VUCA environment. VUCA stands for volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity. In today’s workplace, organizational complexity is rapidly increasing as we work across time zones and international borders as well as with multiple languages and cultures. The pace of change is accelerating with greater focus on optimizing productivity. We need to make faster decisions without complete information. Leaders are increasingly looking to motivate others to do more with fewer resources. All of these can greatly impact your level of stress and demand the ability to work well with colleagues. A high level of emotional intelligence is of great importance whether you are in a leadership position, simply working with others in teams, or managing others.
Jeannine Acantilado, principal of Elan Consulting Services, has deployed more than 600 emotional intelligence assessments to healthcare professionals. She’s found that the more she focuses her clients on building their individual self-awareness, the more they become aware of how others view the world differently. Simply focusing on your own understanding of who you are enables you to see and understand others in contrast to yourself.
Acantilado also reports that clients who focus on increasing their EQ benefit significantly not only professionally, but also in their personal lives. That’s the power of emotional intelligence in that it applies both inside and outside of the workplace. The work you do developing your EQ competencies will strengthen all your relationships. When Acantilado first deployed EQ assessments in a healthcare facility, she says she deliberately asked for 12 people who measured particularly low on workplace engagement. After debriefing the assessments and coaching these individuals monthly over the course of an entire year, two had left the organization for unrelated reasons and all 10 of the others dramatically improved not only their own engagement scores but also those of their teams.
Engagement is an important indicator for how satisfied employees are with their jobs and workplace. And engagement can directly impact levels of productivity, innovation, and turnover. According to a 2018 Gallup study of workplace engagement in the United States, 34 percent of employees reported themselves as “engaged” at work. These employees said they were involved in, enthusiastic about, and committed to their work and workplace. Additionally, 13 percent were “actively disengaged” or claimed miserable work experiences. That was actually the best ratio of engaged to actively disengaged since Gallup began polling in the year 2000. The remaining 54 percent were in the “not engaged” category, which means they were generally satisfied, but not connected to the work either cognitively or emotionally.
When only a third of employees are considered engaged, there is a problem; part of the responsibility for this problem is the employer’s and part of it belongs to employees. This lack of engagement is also an opportunity for raising emotional intelligence because it can help encourage people to connect who they are with what they do. When people feel engaged at work, they report feeling passion for the work and more collegiality, and they express loyalty to the company. Their engagement is linked directly to emotions based on their personal values aligning with the organization’s values.
“Engaged employees are more attentive and vigilant,” according to Jim Harter of the Gallup Research Center. “They look out for the needs of their coworkers and the overall enterprise, because they personally ‘own’ the result of their work and that of the organization.”
[You can read more in my new book Emotional Intelligence in the Workplace, which is available at Amazon and wherever you buy books.]