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How to Boost Your Company’s Performance Using Emotional Intelligence

How to Boost Your Company’s Performance Using Emotional Intelligence

A happy office is a productive office, it's true – but things are rarely that simple.

You can be the most affable, reasonable boss an employee could hope for, but modulating the office morale one-dimensionally on the ‘happy-unhappy’ spectrum will not help you to get the most from your team, and to enable them to achieve the most for themselves.

emotional intelligenceEven in a relaxed and upbeat workplace, the emotional atmosphere is likely to be complex and dynamic. Appeasement may keep the mood buoyant, but it will not drive an individual on to greater things.

A more sophisticated understanding and utilization of emotional intelligence, otherwise known as EQ or EI, can help you to maximize your employees’ potential and that of your own leadership. It takes a bit more work and humility than the regular ins and outs of keeping staff happy, but everyone has an element of emotional intelligence – and even if your EQ of that of a given employee has been neglected, it can be trained like a muscle for stronger outcomes to difficult situations.

EQ is split into three overlapping areas: perception, management, and utilization of emotions. Figuring out your current strengths and weaknesses in the emotional intelligence department is a simple process of working through some case studies.

For example, one such scenario would be the moment that you hand additional work to a colleague who you know already has a full plate. Do you give such an action a second thought when doing so? If not, you need work on the most fundamental level: recognizing emotions.

Or do you recognize that the extra work has made them anxious – but left them to it anyway? In that case, you perceive emotions but shy away from managing them.

If you next step was to remind your colleague to take regular breaks, regardless of their workload, to help them stay on top of their game, you might be said to be good at managing emotions. Figuring a way to transform that stress energy into productivity while keeping the mood positive, for example by working with incentives, is a way of utilizing emotions – harnessing their power to drive things forward rather than getting stuck in the mire.

You can try working your way through the pictured flowchart to get a better sense of where you stand. And once you know where you personally need work, you can use your learning curve to work with others.

In the scenario above, failure to recognize the feelings of others can be described as a lack of empathy. Empathy is defined by Cambridge Dictionaries as “the ability to share someone else's feelings or experiences by imagining what it would be like to be in that person's situation”. But if you’re out of touch with your own emotions, an attempt at empathy can be a shot in the dark.

You can start by taking more time over your own emotions. Counting to ten is a good method because it slows you down: whenever you sense your own negative or counter-productive emotion – be it anger, frustration, or straightforward unhappiness – count to ten, and make a written note to yourself. When you have time, try to trace your emotion to its root cause in your own emotional system. This is rarely the first answer you’ll come up with. In fact, more often than not your first thought may be to blame someone else – but they can only be the person that triggered that emotion, and its providence likely comes from a more complex combination of your own experiences and feelings.

Another scenario: a colleague hands their work in late, and it makes you angry. The late work triggered the anger, but what powered it? Possibly it is disappointment in yourself, for overloading the colleague with work. Maybe it indicates that you did not fully understand the nature of the task in which your colleague specializes, and deep down you actually have fears of inadequacy.

Perceiving these emotions and learning to manage them by stepping back from anger and to recognize which elements of your reaction are appropriate to share with your team, can improve your emotional intelligence immeasurably. They will also enable you to form more accurate and revealing insights into the emotional undercurrents of your team members.

By utilizing these emotions and giving them an imaginative twist, it’s possible to redirect negative emotions towards positive outcomes. Feelings of insecurity or inadequacy can be harnessed into training opportunities, or by repositioning a difficult task as an opportunity to learn and even to experiment and make mistakes. A colleague frustrated by their position can be given a fresh new task with which to prove they’re up to a new challenge.

And yes, if you come face to face with an employee in a state best described as ‘happiness’, you can use this too. Why are they so happy today? What can you do to perpetuate it? How can you make the most of this incredible energy?

Practice your emotional intelligence skills, help your colleagues to develop theirs, and finding answers to these questions will soon become second nature.

Author Bio for G. John Cole: John is a digital nomad and freelance writer. Specialising in leadership, digital media and personal growth, his passions include world cinema and biscuits. A native Englishman, he is always on the move, but can most commonly be spotted in the UK, Norway, and the Balkans. Linkedin | Twitter 

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Tresha D. Moreland, MBA, MS, FACHE, SPHR, SSBBP, founder of HR C-Suite, is an HR thought leader in Human Resource Strategic Management. She has held key human resource leadership roles for over 20 years in multiple industries most recently a senior vice president in the healthcare industry. Tresha is the founder and publisher of HR C-Suite (www.hrcsuite.com). HR C-Suite is a game changer results-based HR strategy website. It is a first-of-it's-kind site that organizes HR strategy based on desired business result. She has developed a business philosophy of integrating human resources with business strategy, thus creating a hybrid HR leadership approach. This approach enables the leveraging human resources to achieve business results.

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