Emotional Intelligence in the Workplace: EQ vs. IQ?

emotional intelligence in the workplaceIn the workplace, there is a myriad of personality types. The introverts, extroverts, the jerks, the push-overs; so how do we decipher the emotional IQ of our co-workers? Just because an introvert keeps to himself doesn’t indicate that he’s not capable of being successful. Likewise, the push-over may be overly mindful of others feelings and needs and not necessarily swimming in lack of self-respect. Personality types are not indicators of emotional intelligence, necessarily. Emotional intelligence is the way in which we interact, empathize and handle those around us – and ourselves. How does emotional intelligence affect the work place from day-to-day, and are we paying enough attention to it as a viable solution to workplace trouble? Learn about the psychology of team development as an introduction to emotional intelligence in the workplace.

Emotional Intelligence – The Landscape

Emotional intelligence is, in a nut-shell, the self-awareness one has about his behaviors, moods, impulses and actions and awareness of these conditions about other people. It also includes how someone reacts and handles the consequences of these variables. It’s becoming more popular to hear the term, Emotional Intelligence Quotient or EQ for short, grazing the mouths of business professionals. But what can the EQ do to better the work environment and the general health of the company? It’s not entirely known, but we’re on the way to finding out. Creative intelligence and business intelligence are important, too. Read about how creative intelligence can improve the work environment.

The details of these variables include, management of emotions, appropriate responses to given circumstances, honesty, sincerity, compassion, courtesy, identifying emotions, being socially and communicatively capable and understanding time, goal and life management. In essence, emotional intelligence is more or less equivalent to maturity level. The more mature someone is, the more likely they will handle a stressful situation with grace and aptitude as opposed to, oh, I don’t know, punching holes in walls or blaming someone else for the problem. We all work with people who are quick to point fingers, melt down under stress and are incapable of taking responsibility for their actions, don’t we? If you have a co-worker who has the EQ of a house plant, take the course working with difficult people to understand your options when dealing with them.

Personality – The Difference

So, some may argue that emotional intelligence is too similar to personality and therefore is something that shouldn’t be assessed for its effect on the workplace. You don’t have to be a neurosurgeon to understand that personality conflicts can cause turbulent waters for everyone in a 50 foot radius. However, undesirable personality traits does not equate to undesirable levels of emotional intelligence. Someone can be hard headed and unreasonable but understand that throwing a fit isn’t going to get them any closer to accomplishing their goal. They may decide to resign their argument for the greater good of the people involved. This, would be a sign of managed emotional intelligence of someone with a potentially unfavorable personality.

Personalities are defined as being unique to an individual. A personality would reflect the jerk, the push-over, the introvert and the extrovert. Emotional intelligence, however, would not. Intelligence Quotient (IQ) provides us with an inside look at someone’s ability to internalize information, process problems, critically think and it can underscore their behavior biases. Emotional intelligence can identify thinking biases that ultimately affect the behavior biases. In other words, someone may shrink away from office conflict because they don’t have the emotional intelligence to cope with it properly. If they had a higher EQ, they may prefer to shrink away based on their personality, but they choose not to based on their emotional maturity. Work on workplace communication skills in this course Naked Impact: Workplace Communication.

In the Workplace

As we begin to completely understand the difference between personality intelligence and emotional intelligence we can start to see how these two spectrum’s coincide to play a role in the workplace. If you work in a sales department you know the pains of getting rejected day after day. It’s hard to formulate language that is both non-invasive and persuasive. Someone who understands when it’s time to give up and move on to another prospective client has the ability to recognize the needs and wants of another person. They can put aside the fact that they aren’t going to make the sale for the sake of the others sanity and space. However, a sales person who is insistently pushy and will not give up under any conditions shows signs of weakened emotional intelligence yet, displays the same confidence and sales knowledge as the non-invasive sales person. These two people, while both driven and full of energy to secure business for their company, have different ways of handling the same situation based on their EQ, not their IQ.

At work, there is probably the self-dubbed office rebel. Most offices have one, a person who seems to time and time again disrespect his co-workers, puts forth a self-beneficial agenda and lacks concern for the company policies or goals. He may be a great guy, funny, smart and sociable but these ill tendencies and cognitive failures are keeping him from being a highly revered employee. According to EQ, this is not a personality fault so much as it is the void of emotional intelligence.

5 Workplace Competencies

Emotional competency isn’t just about making the right decisions, playing by the rules and being successful. However, having emotional intelligence does lead to more productivity and higher achievements despite the state of technical aptitude or personality type. Here are two workplace competencies and their subcategories that are considered desirable for maximum success in the workplace. Ask yourself these questions to see how your emotional intelligence can be contributing or harming the work environment.

Social

Social competencies explain how we handle interactions with others in the work space.

Intuition and Empathy

  • Do I understand others? Do I actively show concern or interest in other’s lives?
  • How do I treat customers? Do I know how to appropriately address their needs?
  • Can I sense what others are feeling or thinking? Can I use this intuition to help them grow and develop more work skills?
  • Do I know how to cultivate business opportunities when they arise?

Political Perspicacity

  • Am I capable of influencing others? (If the answer is no, try the course Influencing Without Authority.)
  • Can I communicate clearly and effectively to others?
  • Do I inspire others to succeed?
  • Am I adept at negotiating conflict?
  • Can I be a team player and help reach mutual company goals?

Personality

Personality competencies explain how we perceive ourselves and consequently how we perceive our role, and act on that role, in the workplace.

Self-Awareness

  • Do I recognize the effect my mood and behavior has on those around me?
  • Do I believe in myself? Do I exude confidence in my work?
  • Can I acknowledge and accept my strengths and weaknesses?

Regulation

  • Am I trustworthy? Do I uphold the values of honesty and integrity of my company?
  • Am I able to properly control my emotions? Do I lash out under stress?
  • Am I conscious of my actions? Do I take responsibility for my actions?
  • Do I adapt to change well? How flexible am I?

Expectations

  • Do I strive to be better and better at my job every day?
  • Do I work on strengthening my weaknesses?
  • Do my personal goals and values align with those of the company?
  • Am I ambitious? Do I welcome new opportunities with open arms, or do I shy away?
  • Am I persistent in reaching goals even if circumstances are temporarily preventing me from doing so?

Through taking this assessment we can begin to see the depths of which emotional intelligence is embedded in the work place. It’s, of course, important to hire employees based on their intelligence and ability to fit the needs of the company (experience, education, etc.) but what we’re seeing nowadays is an increasing need to evaluate emotional intelligence as well. A well-educated employee may not be as emotionally mature as a less educated employee who has the drive and willingness to learn.

The success of a company relies on it’s workers ability to fulfill company needs and goals. It’s important to critically consider the value that emotional intelligence holds in the work environment. Perhaps even consider designing and implementing specific training programs that focus on enhancing the EQ of employees as a measure to prevent workplace issues and produce productivity. In the course psychology of leadership, see how understanding emotional intelligence can bring you to be a better leader for your employees.