I was recently asked: “If there is only one product that you could offer by Capacity Trust. What would it be and why?” In other words, if we had to put all our eggs in one basket what would be the most important product or service we offer. My short answer: “Emotional Intelligence Training.” Why? If there is one thing that we do as a company that can enrich and develop people from all walks of life, EQ training would be it.
From the youngest to the oldest and from the entry level intern who just started work to the successful CEO. Everyone can benefit from growing their EQ capacity. After all that’s why we are called Capacity Trust. So why would I say that? Read on to find out.
In recent years HR Professionals have explored the links between things such as mental health, work-life balance, employee engagement and well-being with workplace performance. EQ has been linked to nearly everything related to HR. From better performance and job satisfaction to greater loyalty and increased revenues. It does not take a rocket scientist to see why this might be the case.
Several studies have posited that individuals with higher EQ or EI are more likely to show behaviours that may help them to become future leaders. EQ is relevant to nearly every job in existence. This is simply because since industrialisation we have become more reliant on working with others. Whenever you interact with one or more other people to get your job done, the person who is able to interact in a way that gets the most positive reactions from others will be the most effective.
While it is a multi-faceted concept, Emotional Intelligence, is broadly defined as the ability to recognise, understand and manage emotions in yourself and others. A person with functional levels of EQ will be able to recognise the emotions of others, understand why someone might feel this way and have the ability to know what to do in that situation. On top of this and probably more importantly, individuals with high EQ are able to manage, control and understand their own emotions. If you take a stressful work environment as an example, someone with high EQ will be able to recognise their emotional response to the stress, they will then understand where it comes from and most importantly be able to control their response to the situation. The result is a workplace where people are more controlled and the interpersonal relationships are preserved.
The meteoric rise in literature about Emotional Intelligence and the almost overnight popularity of this concept is largely due to the large increase in service related businesses. A shift from manufacturing to service increased the amount of interaction between people and created many more customer facing roles that what existed in the past. As the employee now is responsible for the image of the company to the end-user the importance of that person being in control of their emotions and their response to negative feedback and conflict is essential.
Theories of EQ are based on either ability, personality or mixed models. The models that focus on ability suggest that EQ is an ability much like speaking or writing skills and it is something that can be learnt and improved upon. Personality based models suggest that EQ is based on the inherent characteristics of a person and it is something you either have or you don’t. Mixed models, of course, is a mix between the two.
Our perspective at Capacity Trust, probably leans more toward the mixed model as there are certain characteristics that would make it easier for someone to improve their EQ but essentially it is a skill that is available for everyone to learn. We have even had success in training near illiterate employees in improving their EQ. The point is this, HR Managers have to allow some form of development of EQ in their staff. All jobs are stressful and the ability to manage our response to those stressors are essential to the smooth functioning of any organisation.
Three quick strategies to improve EQ in your company.
1.) Identify emotional stressors in a particular job.
When employees recognise and understand their emotional responses to a stressor they will be more likely to manage their behavioural response to those triggers.
2.) Recognise that emotion can be transmitted
Very often if someone is in a “bad mood” this can easily be transmitted to others. A fight with a spouse before work or an argument with a child can result in someone being angry, hurt or upset. If this person then enters the office feeling like this the emotional response can quickly be transmitted to others. Understanding this phenomenon can help individuals to manage their communications and actions to suit the situation.
3.)Train employees in coping strategies.
Investing in training employees in communication, stress management and general emotional intelligence enhancing training can do wonders to help employees deal more effectively with personal setbacks and stresses than may impact on their performance at work. This in turn may lead to greater on the job performance and general workplace satisfaction.
Daniel Goleman, the man responsible for launching EQ into the public consciousness has this to say about Leading at an Emotional Level: