(Written by Randall Kratz, FEI Senior Account Manager)

Believe it or not, emotions play a very important role in the workplace.

Emotional intelligence is the intentional and mindful use of emotions, and managers can use them as a guide for managing people. In the workplace, opportunities for utilizing emotional intelligence are everywhere, including:

  • Conflict management and problem-solving;
  • Tension between co-workers;
  • Motivating and inspiring a subordinate;
  • Confronting inappropriate behaviors;
  • Dealing with power struggles;
  • Managing up the chain-of-command;
  • Encouraging healthy competition;
  • Facilitating resistance to change;
  • And so on.

Have you noticed yourself or other employees losing their temper, saying inappropriate things or having trouble managing stress at work? People with highly developed emotional intelligence are consistently and actively learning how to manage these situations in ways that maintain their own personal health while also respecting others. The key word here is “learning.” Unlike our Intelligence Quotient (IQ), which is considered to be permanently formed by late adolescence, emotional intelligence can be an ongoing and lifelong endeavor.

There are two basic parts to understanding emotional intelligence:

  • Intra-personal, or how one develops and uses his or her own emotional intelligence. This includes such things as self-awareness or modulation and control of emotions in the workplace.
  • Inter-personal, or how one goes about improving her or his relationships with others through such endeavors as developing more effective interpersonal communications skills and people awareness.

As managers, we can continue to improve our leadership skills through intentionally working to develop our emotional intelligence—no matter our attitudes, how proficient we think we already are, our age or supervisory tenure. Often those of us who assume we have no need for these skills can benefit the most by improving them.

Self-awareness is a fundamental building block of emotional intelligence. Not recognizing our anger at a customer, colleague or subordinate may cause us to raise our tone and/or make inappropriate comments we cannot take back. What is the outcome? Possibly ruining those relationships and maybe jeopardizing our employment. Managing our emotions can be complex, but a high sense of self-awareness enables us to monitor and observe ourselves in action. Self-awareness helps us stay centered and alerts us to move in the proper direction.

Emotional intelligence correlates with effective leadership and can be a crucial benefit to better management practices. For more information about this topic, please comment below or contact a member of the FEI account management team.