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What is Emotional Intelligence and Why is it Important?

The importance of our Intelligence Quotients, or IQ s, have always been a popular topic of conversation, but what most quickly forget to acknowledge is the importance of IQ’s parallel, Emotional Quotient (EQ), also known as Emotional Intelligence.  EQ refers to the capacity of individual’s ability to recognize their own, and other people’s emotions, to discriminate between different feelings and label them appropriately, and to use emotional information to guide thinking and behavior. Created by the psychologist and author, Daniel Goleman, emotional intelligence is characterized by five key elements:

  1. Self-awareness
  2. Emotional management
  3. Self-motivation
  4. Empathy
  5. Handling relationships

EQ has become an essential skill set for every employee must have to become successful in and out of the office.  In the following passages, the four main lessons taught by Goleman regarding EQ are outlined with notion of the workforce:

Lesson 1: Ventilation Fallacy (a.k.a. venting when you’re angry prolongs your mood)

It’s only human to get upset or angry in the office, but it is important to note that venting to others around you may end up aggravating you more.  Instead of fueling the tension, there are three easy tricks to relieving your bad mood:

  1. Take deep breaths. Simply take a minute to breath
  2. Reframe your thoughts. For example, you missed a deadline – instead of panicking about possibly losing your job, try thinking reassuring yourself that you only made a mistake and that you won’t let it happen again in the future.
  3. Go for a walk! Even getting out of your cubicle for a minute can help relieve this irate mood.

Lesson 2: Don’t Ruminate When Sad, Distract Yourself Instead

A large part of EQ is the ability to be in control of your emotions.  When an unexpected emotion arises, try to distract yourself.  Exercising before or after work can prove to be the perfect distraction.  Another distraction can be lending your efforts to someone else, maybe helping another employee with a task. This promotes your own happiness and provides for a stronger team.

Lesson 3: The Artful Critique (a.k.a. how to criticize the right way)

Criticism is detrimental to the work force, but it is important to note the right and wrong ways to criticize a colleague.  For example, say a fellow employee messed up on a particular job instead of saying “way to go” in a sarcastic manner, try addressing the issue by saying: “The difficulty is________ because ______so you could do this instead _______.”  Proper criticism should be specific, offer a solution, be done face-to-face, and, most importantly, be empathetic.

Lesson 4: Emotional Contagion

This final step involves setting an emotional tone.  Mood, similar to a virus, it’s extremely contagious.  If an employee is excited and engaged, this mood is most likely to be reflected in the employees around him or her.  While in no means should the relevance of IQ be deterred from this article, but instead, the combination of both rational and emotional skills is key to any business and the success of its employees.  This combination provides for higher performance and better overall engagement in the office.

We here at Agile are fortunate to have a team that excels in emotional intelligence.  For more information about our team and tricks they use to promote emotional intelligence in and out of the office contact us today!

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