Training in emotional intelligence has become more important than ever. Changes in traditional work environments, market unpredictability, social and political unrest, and other factors increase tension in a workplace. Having employees with strong emotional intelligence, however, can help teams navigate these times of difficulty. These leaders offer inspiration and encourage others to strive for bigger and better things.
We’ll let you in on a little secret about this type of leader; those skills are often not inborn. In fact, that leader likely spent years honing their leadership styles and building their emotional intelligence. That’s right! It’s a skill that almost anyone can learn with the right training in emotional intelligence.
What is Emotional Intelligence?
Emotional intelligence, often abbreviated as EQ, is about having savvy interpersonal skills and always remaining open to learning new things and sharing new information. It involves flexibility, adaptability, and a habit of listening closely to what people say so you can react appropriately.
In business settings, high-EQ leaders tend to display actions like:
- Acknowledging others’ feelings and concerns
- Actively bringing people together to build camaraderie
- Reassuring people during stressful times
- Communicating and providing feedback
- Being consistent about following through on promises
- Staying transparent about thoughts and plans
- Remaining flexible in fast-changing circumstances
By contrast, people with low emotional intelligence often struggle to bond with other people and have a hard time building productive teams at work. When a situation is challenging or stressful, they might react impulsively or close themselves off from interpersonal interactions.
Proper training in emotional intelligence in the workplace is so important that a lack of it can severely interfere with company-wide productivity, efficiency, retention, morale, and profitability. Hardworking people need emotionally intelligent leadership. When you feel that your leaders don’t care about your feelings or feedback, it erodes your motivation to work.
Consider the following statistics about the connections between EQ and employee performance.
- 90% of top performers have high emotional intelligence, which contributes to an average $1,300 extra in annual salary.
- Emotional intelligence accounts for up to 60% of job performance at the top supervisory and CEO levels.
- 84% of U.S. workers blame bad managers for making them hate their jobs.
- At least 41% of U.S. employees are actively considering changing jobs, and 36% are willing to quit before having another job lined up due to bad management.
Can You Build Emotional Intelligence in the Workplace?
Here’s some good news about boosting emotional intelligence in the workplace. Contrary to popular belief, it’s a skill you can build, rather than an inborn trait. The idea of a “natural born leader” is a myth. To put it another way, leadership is a learned behavior.
Some people naturally have certain leadership skills, but most have to learn how to develop emotionally intelligent leadership qualities. It doesn’t always come naturally to do things like actively listening to others and asking the right questions. These skills take significant education and practice. That’s where training in emotional intelligence comes in.
For example, leadership coaching often teaches emerging leaders about the importance of check-in questions. These gentle questions establish trust and encourage people to let their guards down. A supervisor can periodically ask check-in questions by finding quiet moments to simply inquire how the employee is feeling or handling a certain situation.
- How are you feeling about [situation or challenge]?
- Is there anything I can do to make it easier?
- What are you looking forward to about it?
After asking check-in questions, remember to thank the employee for sharing their feelings and encourage them to always talk to you when there’s a concern. This trust-building process is an integral part of building an emotionally intelligent supervisor-employee relationship.
7 Steps to Improving Emotional Intelligence in the Workplace
Companies that want to build high-EQ leaders should set learning objectives for emotional intelligence training, then follow certain steps to teaching emotional intelligence. Below is a summary of the 7 most important steps.
- Engage with a reputable leadership development program that supports EQ
- Use plans and encouragement to create a systematic approach
- Maintain empathy as people adjust to the process
- Acknowledge feelings and opinions without harsh judgment
- Build accountability and create action plans
- Welcome feedback in a continuous two-way conversational loop
- Celebrate success and adjust as new challenges arise
When it comes to building EQ, Leadership Resources provides the best emotional intelligence training for companies that want to grow and succeed. For superior results, experts recommend engaging with our type of full-service leadership development programs instead of just dabbling with basic training in emotional intelligence.
Leadership Resources is here to help your leaders expand their EQ and reach new levels of success for your company. To learn more, click the link below to read our whitepaper about building emotionally intelligent leadership.