5 Ways Emotional Intelligence Improves the Workplace

emotional intelligence concept

By Steven Hymovitch

Emotional intelligence. Researchers Peter Salovey and John Mayer coined the term, and Dan Goleman brought it into the mainstream using it in the titles of his many books on the subject.

And while Salovey, Mayer, and Goleman could give forth long explanations about what exactly emotional intelligence (EI) is, it’s really nothing more than being aware of how our emotions drive our behaviors and how that behavior impacts the people around us. And realizing we can manage those emotions by our (go ahead, say it with me) intelligence, we can also learn how to influence the emotions of the people around us.

This is not some “new agey,” feel-the-vibes concept; it’s human nature at its best. The most effective CEOs learn to cultivate their emotional intelligence. It’s simple to understand (it’s basically growing a better self-awareness and turning on your empathy), although it can take some consideration to execute and apply. But apply it if you want a more harmonious, more  productive shop or office, and an overall better work atmosphere. For those in the know, EI wins over IQ every time.

How is an emotionally intelligent work experience better than one without one? And how exactly does one inject this superpower into their workplace?

1. Emotional intelligence closes the gap between data and interpretation

Let’s start with an example. Your boss rushes by you one morning, and although you manage a quick “Good morning,” he doesn’t even manage a passing nod. So now you’re thinking: “Well, I guess it’s true what I thought these past few months. He doesn’t like me, and I’ll be the next to be fired.”

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What actually happened was that the bagel-and-cream cheese the big man had for breakfast wasn’t sitting so well, and he was off to an appointment he couldn’t be late for . . . and he never even noticed you!

Psychologist Albert Ellis coined the term “awfulizing,” and we all do this from time to time, assuming the worst in something we are anticipating or when we don’t have enough information (data) to support a substantive conclusion of the facts (interpretation). Across the 10 dental practices I owned, any number of misinterpretations could have been leveled during any number of circumstances, and I was as guilty as anyone else interpreting something incorrectly a time of two.

But by cultivating a more emotionally intelligent point of view we lessen the tendency for thinking negatively, and actually ease the steam off the idea that we are always at the center of things. In realizing there are a multitude of reasons of why we do what we do, we come to recognize that others might just have as many reasons.

2. Emotional intelligence helps you skirt by the “Victim,” “Villain,” and the “Hero”

You may have seen one, two, or all of three of these types ply their manipulations in your daily office interplay. (Although they can exist on their own, the Villain, Victim, and the Hero exist strongest when they are all playing in the same sandbox at the same time.)

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