Behaviors are known to be learned through experience and the environment, yet human emotions can still baffle experts. As complex and confusing as our emotions are, they bubble innately and crash through the iciest and coolest of composures if left unchecked.
In adult life, we often assume we're in charge of our emotions, or at least how we express them. Yet, emotive responses are often completely reactive and natural responses geared towards protecting the self. Often, certain reactions can be tailored to our survival and linked to how our ancestors could quickly communicate with each other in the face of the danger.
For instance, if you come across a grizzly bear in your backyard, your instinct would be to run away from it because we instantly decode this situation as dangerous. During this circumstance, our emotions are what stimulate and determine our response to the incoming threat. Therefore, our instincts stem from emotions.
As a matter of fact, our day-to-day interactions involve a lot of decoding and analyzing of other people's emotions to understand the underlying meanings in their messaging. As much as we depend on verbal communication for mutual understanding, direct communication is not always being conveyed due to face-saving aspects and/or to prevent harm to our relationships.
Emotional Intelligence (otherwise known as emotional quotient, EQ) is the ability to understand, use, and manage your own emotions in positive ways to relieve stress, communicate effectively, empathize with others, overcome challenges and defuse conflict.
Emotional Intelligence in Business.
In a workplace, communication often gets lost unintentionally, resulting in a drop in productivity and efficiency. Although similar by nature, we are also different from each other regarding our thought processes and how we interpret the same information.
Emotional intelligence is widely recognized as a valuable skill that helps improve communication, management, problem-solving, and relationships within the workplace.
With emotional intelligence, it offers an ability for people to decipher information beyond verbal communication alone. Together with emotions, they can help us minimize the gap between our differences so that we can come to reach a common ground and build on our relationships. It saves us time from having to deal with unforeseen misunderstandings.
At Mäd, emotional intelligence is vital to our business operation as the majority of our work is client facing. Since building strong client relationships is our mantra, we try to eliminate extra work for our team as much as we can so we can focus on taking care of our clients. Hence, the sole reason behind our decision to automate the majority of our back office work.
Some of the key benefits that emotional intelligence provides to your team are:
Anybody can be a boss but not everyone is a leader. Whilst skills may get you a leadership position, it does not define your ability to lead other people. A great leader is not someone who knows how to boss people around but someone who knows how to communicate and build strong relationships with their peers. This is when emotional intelligence comes into play.
Everybody likes a compliment. Humans are emotional creatures, so it is only natural for us to seek for acknowledgements on their work from time-to-time to be reminded that we are appreciated. When people feel appreciated, we see a significant increase in their productivity and overall performance.
A leader with high EQ is someone who is able to identify what their team members need to grow and stay motivated. For instance, if there is a member in the team who is highly creative yet has a timid personality, a high EQ person will be able to spot that and help the person build their self-esteem so they can grow to their full potential.
It is found that people usually spend most of their time trying to solve conflicts in a team setting, although it does not have to be that way. People do not like to do anything that involves negative feelings so they choose to avoid conflicts altogether but no matter how much we try, there are situations that require us to face our problems.
Confrontations are likely to arise when mutual understandings are not being met. With emotional intelligence, team members are able to resolve conflicts more easily whilst forming a strong team bond.
Differences are what make people unique because if we all think alike then nothing will surprise us anymore. The solution to our differences is to listen and try to understand the other person's point of view.
During a situation where team members hold different perspectives, an emotionally intelligent person will listen and try to put themselves in other people's shoes to understand their viewpoints. Once they have fully understood the situation, they will be able to reflect and respond in a constructive manner.
Whilst emotional intelligence allows people to work collaboratively and productively, it also enhances our decision making processes and helps us solve problems effectively.
As a Human-Centered Design consultancy, when clients come to Mäd with their problems and concerns, we always strive to ensure that they leave our office happier by finding the best solutions fit to their needs. This involves a great deal of empathetic understanding of their needs, goals, visions and expectations.
Having a team with emotionally intelligent people has made our job easier because we are able to get to the clients' pain points quicker and more efficiently. Since we are able to empathize with our clients on their concerns, it helps us make decisions and deliver the project needs better.
5 Tips On How to Improve Your EQ.
Although some people are gifted with high EQ, it does not mean that other people who do not have it are at a disadvantage. Emotional intelligence can simply be learned and developed following these practices:
- Self-awareness: high emotional intelligence stems from one self. In order to detect and identify other people’s emotions, it is important that you understand your emotions and how to deal with them. A person with high EQ should not let their emotions control them or make impulsive decisions based on their feelings at that moment.
- Empathy: the ability to empathize with your colleagues allows for smoother collaboration. A high EQ person recognizes and accepts that people may hold different opinions and thinking processes from their own. Therefore, when dealing with people holding opposing ideas, they try to look at things from other people's perspectives and may agree to disagree when necessary.
- Be open and approachable: a closed off attitude shoos people away whilst a positive attitude invites for conversations. EQ is a skill based on people understanding people, therefore a high EQ person is someone who possesses a friendly and approachable attitudes toward others.
- Dealing with criticism: highly emotionally intelligent people handle criticisms objectively in a constructive manner. Criticism is a positive thing and is meant to build on the existing ideas or work. Hence, one should not take criticism as an attack on a certain individual.
- Active listening: we often mistake between pseudo listening and active listening. Pseudo listening is when you appear to be listening attentively to the other person but in fact, you are only hearing what they say without understanding the messages conveyed to you. Having a high EQ means that you are in presence and give your full attention to the other person.
We often talk about the importance of high IQ but intellect alone is not the key to a businesses success. If we look at the mission and vision of businesses, the one thing that they have in common is to make people's lives better. Hence, if we are lacking the human aspect of doing business then we are not doing business right.
Likewise, at Mäd, we are not only looking for 'M' shaped people but also people who are emotionally intelligent for us to continue meeting the high standards of our clients.