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EI at Work

February 27, 2007 06:53 AM 1
Total Posts: 28
Join Date: November 16, 2006
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Post Date: January 1, 1970
Posts: 28
Location: United States

EI at Work

Knowing how to identify and manage emotions can help in building and sustaining an 'emotionally intelligent' workplace. As the rules of work are changing, people are not only being judged on their IQ and educational qualification. A new concept of 'Emotional Intelligence' (EI) is gaining popularity among companies. EI, means the ability to manage both personal and professional emotions and apply them for career progression. The best part about EI, is that it can be learnt and HR managers are working towards developing it in their organisations,

Aditi Joshi tells more..

What Is Emotional Intelligence?

Emotional intelligence, EI, can be defined differently by different people. For some, it is about being a "nice guy", while others find it too hard to believe that even emotions can be intelligent. While different theories and researches have been undertaken to define
EI, in layman's terms emotional intelligence is the ability to perceive emotions, to access and generate emotions so as to assist thought. In simple terms emotional intelligence is the ability to reason with, and about emotions; it combines feelings with thinking and vice versa.

And at workplace, emotional intelligence defines a set of skills, or competencies, which provides HR professionals, managers, and any one in the world of work, with a comprehensive tool to define, measure and develop emotional skills. Thus emotional intelligence can be defined as the capacity to recognise our own feelings and those of others, for motivating ourselves and managing emotions well in our social interactions.

Why is Emotional Intelligence critical to workplace performance?

It takes more than technical skills to be successful. Emotional intelligence or the ability to restrain negative feelings such as anger and self-doubt and to focus on positive ones such as confidence and congeniality are the key determinants of an individual's career growth. Not only do superiors and corporate leaders need high doses of emotional intelligence, but every job demands it too. People skills run parallel to the concept of emotional intelligence and its application at workplace. HR experts point that emotional intelligence matters twice as much as technical and analytic skill combined for star performances, and the higher people move up in the company, the more crucial emotional intelligence becomes.

A display of emotions like anxiety on new project, happiness over the promotion, fear of losing job, tension of the board meeting and alike, can take place in the workplace. The way an individual manages his/her emotions can convey critical information about his/her performance at work: for example, happiness indicates satisfaction levels while tension depicts nervousness etc.

Here are a few steps that can help an individual identify his EI and use it effectively at his workplace: -

1. Identifying Emotions

This is very important. One needs to be aware of his/her own feelings and emotions so that one is not blinded by emotions. Similarly being aware of other's emotions is a key to developing strong relationships with colleagues.

2. Understanding Emotions

Knowing what motivates people, understanding their point of view and handling team interactions help in building the framework of EI.

3 Managing Emotions

Like the way one manages a scheduler, one can learn to manage one's emotions as well. It means being aware of those individual emotions that have valuable information and their application to solve problems.

For e.g :

If one is feeling sad, one needs to find out the reason for this and solve the problem.
If one is angry, one needs to find out the reason for the frustration, and solve the problem.
If one is anxious, one needs to find out the reason for the worry, and solve the problem
If one is joyous, one needs to find out the reason for the happiness, and use this in future.

4 Using Emotional Intelligence On The Job

Management experts opine that almost seventy per cent of management problem solving happens in the mind, and only thirty per cent through analytical techniques. The business community has embraced the concept of emotional intelligence and its importance, but the challenge that lies ahead is to demonstrate that such competencies can be acquired and when they are, they significantly impact employee performance.

Now the question: How can EI, be used for career development?

Judicious application of EI can lead to:

Management Development: Managers who focus on their technical skills do not manage, they're just in charge. Understanding and enhancing emotional intelligence enhances management skills.

Team Effectiveness: Teams are more than the sum of the individual parts. The glue, which holds teams together, can be supplied by emotional intelligence.

Selection: Hiring decisions can be better informed through the use of a thorough job analysis and an ability-based measure of emotional intelligence.

Emotional intelligence and management development

Emotional intelligence, defined as a set of abilities, may assist managers in several, critical ways:
* Making planning more flexible
* Motivating themselves and others
* Making more informed decisions

Flexible Planning

Managers who are emotionally intelligent use their emotions to adapt their plans. They do not ignore uncomfortable facts. Emotionally intelligent behaviour helps managers plan better in many ways:
* Change plans to meet the need of the moment
* Adapt to the situation
* Consider a variety of possible actions
* Come up with alternate plans
* Avoid doing consistently the same thing
* Avoid sticking to a plan which is not working


Emotionally intelligent managers are able to understand their emotions, and those of others, which helps them to motivate their staff, and themselves. Emotionally intelligent managers:
* Get people to keep going, even when they want to give up
* Get people to try again after failing at something
* Motivate others
* Motivate self
* Get things done

Decision Making

Managers are called upon to make decisions every day. Decisions based upon strong emotions, when the emotions are not dealt with in a constructive way, can be bad decisions. Emotionally intelligent managers make better decisions in these ways:
* Use emotions to improve their thinking
* See things clearly even when feelings are strong
* Make good, solid decisions although they may be angry at the time
* Don't react out of anger
* Balance their thoughts and their feelings
* Make decisions based on their head and their heart
* Don't let strong emotions blind them

Emotional intelligence and team effectiveness

When one works in a team environment, the skills of emotional intelligence become even more important to the job. One of the keys is to work effectively and efficiently with others. Another way in which emotional intelligence can help an individual in the teamwork is by helping to generate new and creative ideas and solutions to problems.

Creative Thinking

All teams require its members to come up with solutions to problems. Sometimes the problems are very complex, at other times they are quite simple. Yet all problems require creative thought to generate ideal solutions.

Emotional intelligence helps an individual to think creatively in many ways:
* View problems from multiple perspectives
* Have many new and creative ideas
* Be inventive
* Generate original ideas and solutions
* See new solutions

Social Effectiveness

When one works in a team, or even with just one person, social effectiveness allows the person to accomplish goals working with other people. EI, can help an individual to work with others in these ways:
* Enjoyable to be with
* Good at influencing people
* Build consensus
* Believable and trusting
* Empathetic

Where Does Emotional Intelligence Fit In Terms of Workplace Success?

Emotional intelligence is not the sole predictor of workplace success, career satisfaction, or leadership effectiveness. It is one of many important components. Part of being an educated user of emotional intelligence means understanding that it is not and should not be thought of as a replacement or substitute for ability, knowledge or job skills. Emotional intelligence - people skills - enhances one's success, but it does not guarantee it in the absence of suitable skills.

Emotional intelligence always helps the individual. It is a good thing to have. But other skills and competencies are also important. Emotional intelligence is applying intuition and emotion to problem-solving. Emotional Intelligence strengthens one's self-leadership and interpersonal relationships, and fortunately, it is a skill that can be learnt.

The key role and importance of applying EI, at workplace is that it lets the individual explore how emotional forces are managed in the workplace and how the consequences of managed work performance lead to business success. It adds new layers of meaning to one's daily work experience, lending insight to personal feelings and to dealings with others in the workplace.

Hope that was informative....