Applying Emotional Intelligence at Work

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Daniel Golman has influenced me tremendously by his beautiful piece of work, while I read and reread his work I gain a lot of insight and see how correct is the correlation between productivity and managing your emotions well in your professional and personnel life.

Today the word recession has taken away the charm of employment. The employees are being judged by a new yard stick, this yardstick is used not only for hiering new employees but also for those who will be let gone. Hence how we handle ourselves is not the only important factor, but how we manage each others in a team is equally important. In this down turn of economy, with no job security, people have started realizing that success takes more than intellectual excellence or technical prowess and that we all need a different kind of skill just to survive, Internal qualities like resilience, initiative, optimism and adaptability are few such markers.

I recall those days when we went to school, our parents always harped upon to work harder, excel in academics, or else we had no chance to compete with the world around us, as opportunities were less and people competing for that available opportunity outnumbered. Today while I look back, I think they were right than and even today excellence in academic is good but not everything, today the yardstick of measuring intelligence has changed. I often wonder, with the increasing problem of the younger generation, like despair, alienation, drug abuse, school and college dropouts, increasing violence in younger age (recall incidents of shooting a friend in a school campus) we find our young generation moving towards more depression and psychological disorders. Are these people not going to be our tomorrow work force, what kind of work culture do we expect and what is the future?

As we grow older, our intelligence quotient increases to a certain level, but with experiences of self and others we become more "Mature", so is it not growing emotionally or as we say managing our emotions to the given circumstances is what makes us Mature?

From the employers prospective, while I interview a candidate for the required job set, my interviewing is divided in two sets, technical and behavioural. The technical which is important lasts for 20 minutes and the behavioural lasts for 40 min? Few of the basic requirement which we or any employer looks forward to is

* Good communication skill- both verbal and written(which would enable the employee understand, translate and implement work by self and team)
* Ability to manage self- the quotient of confidence, adaptability, self motivation and accomplishment of task/goals.
* To conduct self independently and in group- the ability to be cooperative, negotiate for self and others, inter dependability and manage disagreement.
* Finally leadership ability: being innovative and desire to contribute to the organization's development and productivity.

While I see the above factor, I see that the component for aptitude and knowledge is there but less. Every job requires a certain set of emotional intelligence, if a nurse requires empathy and sense of humour, a bank manager requires sense of trust and respect for customer's confidentiality. Intellectual brilliance will alone not propel an individual to the top, but the ability to influence others and make them a part of the vision is all the more important. Resilience and self discipline to achieve what a person wants to, is an important factor.

What do we do to harness the Emotional Intelligence amongst the work force who is intellectually brilliant? Few things which comes to my mind

* Give them an opportunity to manage failure? Observe them how they react to the situation, diversely opposite to their always winning trait.
* To team them with people who are below average or just average in their competency and skill?
* Observe them how they behave with this group of individual? Do they consider them as a challenge or they take them as a challenge for their own development? If it is the first case as a supervisor we can use this as an opportunity to incorporate people development as a key performance indicator. We know how obsessed they are to succeed, let's watch and be patient, while we are patient with them, so will they develop patient- a wining factor in emotional intelligence.
* Expose them with employees facing personnel stress and are unable to cope up with office work, are they helping them cope up with both work and home. Empathy is another factor of emotional intelligence. Empathy would not mean doing the colleague's work, but it would be like creating an environment which would help him cope up with both home and office work pressure. The work needs to be accomplished; another trait an employer looks forward to?
* How important would it be to check the cross cultural fit? How accommodating can the employee be if made to shift or team with people from a different segment of the organization? Give such diversity to test the ability to collaborate and adapt with people from diverse function.
* We as supervisors are at times contented when we see that the employee knows his or her shortcomings, I would say sometimes Self Awareness is not only enough, efforts to rule it out and not repeat after acknowledgement is important. How do we check that? The Annual Performance appraisal has it written all, the area of development must become a strength or at least no more be seen as area of development the next year. This is one humble beginning; keep checking periodically with what efforts are being put to take care of such issues. Support and suggest if asked for.
* Handling an emotional situation like a meeting, project plan or brainstorming needs a trouble shooting skill, while people are running high on emotion, one has to come out to be a respectful listener, able to gain trust and represent a recommendation. While one is delivering this, the ability to understand and be open to others perspective is extremely important. The ability to relate, to speak up and be heard makes a difference.

Managing emotions is the key to happiness, achieving milestones and peace of mind. We often talk about the circle of influence and the circle of concern? Is it not the same how we take control of our selves visa vi taking control of others. Let us give ourselves the opportunity and comfort of taking charge of ourselves. I am sure we will feel better and will be at peace of mind. Emotional Intelligence is something which influences both our professional and personnel life; let's make both a better place to be.

All the best,
Shanoo Singh

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Applying Emotional Intelligence at Work

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This article was published on 2010/04/03