Emotional intelligence (E.I.), also referred to as emotional quotient (E.Q.), is the ability to understand and manage emotions. Practicing E.I. at work can improve interpersonal relationships, understanding, nonverbal communication, and decision-making. Some say E.I. is more important now than ever, particularly as we are still carving out our new normals after emerging from a global pandemic.
Creating a safe environment for employees to be seen and heard is vital. Remember, everyone has feelings, regardless of whether they choose to display them or not.
The Rise of E.I.
During the 1990s, Daniel Goleman, Ph.D. outlined the basic components of E.I. in his book, “Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ.” Some of Goleman’s E.I. components include self-awareness, motivation, empathy, social skills, and self-regulation.
People who exhibit good emotional intelligence skills are often seen as team players, effective leaders, and open to new information and ideas. Goleman writes that to be a successful manager, people need to recognize their performance depends on others, including peers, partners, bosses, boards, direct reports, teams, and clients. Picking up on their social cues, for example, can directly affect job performance.
Integrating E.I. in the Workplace
What does E.I. look like at work? In his article on Inc.com, Justin Bariso offers some examples.
- A leader who knows how to inspire and rally the troops.
- An extrovert who knows how to pull back.
- An introvert who knows when to push forward.
- Good listeners.
- People who make the dullest subjects spring to life.
“Emotional intelligence is making emotions work for you, instead of against you,” Bariso writes.
E.I. Leads to Inclusion
A solid understanding of emotional intelligence naturally creates an inclusive environment. What does an inclusive ecosystem look like in your organization? Here are a few elements of an inclusive ecosystem that Brianna Rodgers, PEAK6 DEI Council chair and Apex Fintech Solutions human resources manager, shares with new hires during onboarding.
- Showing respect for everyone with whom you work.
- Working toward the reality of a truly diverse workforce.
- Knowing you have psychological safety to bring your full self to work.
- Providing equitable access to resources and training.
- Practicing transparency and fairness in decision-making.
- Promoting a sense of belonging for all employees.
Want To Make Your Workplace More Inclusive?
A company embodies inclusion when it works toward a culture where everyone feels they belong. Here are a few ways you can make that happen.
Create a Sense of Belonging in Meetings
It’s important to ensure everyone feels heard in meetings. Gauge when to speak and when to listen. Foster an inclusive environment by making sure everyone who has something to contribute can share their ideas. Offer reassurance and positive reinforcement. Give credit where it is due. Practice inclusionary language.
Make Inclusive Introductions
Share your full name, how you’d like to be referred to (if you use a nickname, for example), and what pronouns you use. An article on Ascend.com offers some great tips on how to effectively communicate in a variety of pronoun situations.
Practice E.I on Zoom
Regardless of whether we like them or not, Zoom meetings are here to stay. It’s more difficult to read the room because, well, everyone is scattered around the country and, quite possibly, the globe.
Things like turning your camera on to help team members visually connect and eliminating background noise help make our Zoom interactions more human. And don’t forget to let your team members know if you will be late. It’s the polite thing to do in real life or virtually.
Share a Little Bit of E.I. With Email Etiquette
Respond to emails within 24 hours of receipt if you can. It makes the sender know they are valued.
Manage Your Team the E.I. Way
Leaders and managers can practice E.I. and inclusion by doing one simple thing — don’t be afraid to show vulnerability. Admit mistakes and apologize when you are wrong. Vulnerability builds trust with your team and illustrates that we all struggle at times. Studies show that it leads to enhanced productivity.
Create a Safe Environment For Employees To Be Seen
Encourage your team to show appreciation for each other. Celebrate your successes. Motivate people to speak up, not just from the top down but at all levels. Co-workers can urge other co-workers to share in meetings and to reach out to someone who is not being included by saying something like, “Hey, John, you told me about this great idea the other day. Would you like to share it with the group?”
How do you bring emotional intelligence and inclusion to work?