Dr. Lori LaCivita
Employees are at the core of every successful business. However, there is often so much emphasis on hiring “talented individuals” that understanding how these people will work effectively as a team often gets lost in the process. Organizations that can identify individuals with high emotional intelligence (EQ) are likely to have more positive results than those that ignore this important ability.
EQ has had a transformational effect on the business world since its rise to popularity in the 1990’s. It has led to more successful hiring, higher levels of productivity and success, greater individual performance, and better leaders and managers. In the workforce, EQ is a key element for teams to work harmoniously and build relationships and networks that benefit the organization in the long term.
Today’s workforce now spans several generations, with each bringing different characteristics, work habits, leadership styles and motivators. These varying values and beliefs can sometimes lead to challenges among the generations to find common ground and work effectively together. EQ is the key to successfully bridging these gaps and merge the oft-considered traditional styles of leadership and methods of older professionals with the skills and behaviors of the younger generations.
Although people are born with an IQ, or thinking potential, EQ can be enhanced and developed over time. It has been shown to be highly significant in the development of human potential, teamwork, leadership, stress reduction, creativity, and innovation. Working in teams can lead to great outcomes, but it can also come with challenges that can lead to issues that include miscommunication, conflict and loss of work productivity.
Those with high EQ are self-aware and can recognize their own emotions; they self-regulate and manage those emotions, motivate by having clear goals and a positive attitude, empathize and recognize the emotions of others, and have social skills that allow them to interact with others. In addition, current studies suggest that EQ allows people to validate, understand and work with others – regardless of their age or position–and develop better problem-solving skills and outcomes. Individuals with this understanding will generally remain calm under pressure and resolve conflict effectively. Once they are in touch with themselves, branching out to understand the needs of others is the next step–and vital when working in a team environment.
Not only is it important to have individuals with high EQ on a team, it’s equally important to understand that the team also has its own group identity and EQ. There should be a level of trust, and individual members should value the group’s efficacy. Open communication creates opportunity to build relationships with one another while strengthening the team’s overall performance. Having those internal relationships then allows the team to build external relationships with other individuals and teams at the company or elsewhere. This creates a strong foundation to address various issues and challenges that may arise while maintaining focus on the company’s overall goals.
EQ work forces are not limited to certain business sectors or geographies; in fact, they’re crucial for local and international companies with a global reach. Companies often employ industrial and organizational (I-O) psychologists who work alongside human resource managers to cultivate an optimal workforce. At the intersection of business and psychology, I-O psychologists strategically use scientific research to better understand human behavior and recommend ways in which companies can increase their EQ.
Organizations that want to positively impact their bottom line should focus on building a healthy and collaborative environment that promotes team efficacy and enables employees to continuously enhance their EQ. Successful companies owe it to their employees to invest in those who help make them so prosperous.
Deborah Peck founded Seity Insight with one goal in mind: to enhance business effectiveness through people. She earned her Ph.D. in Organizational Psychology, where she spent much of her time researching employee trust in leadership. Deborah uses her robust background in education, technology, leadership, and human behavior to aid organizations through major shifts; her science-based approach is unlike many others, as it maps the future of an organization through insight on existing human connections. If you’d like to learn more about Deborah or Seity Insight, click here.
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