Wellness Wednesday: Emotional Intelligence

We've all heard the phrase Emotional Intelligence before.It seems to be a buzz word in the business world. So what is it exactly? Emotional intelligence (EI) or emotional quotient (EQ) is the capacity of individuals 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.

It is becoming increasingly more important as a leader to tap into EI and EQ. Emotional well-being in an office should be taken as seriously as health insurance or a 401k, especially in high stress jobs such as hospitality or healthcare. Here are the reasons why EQ will make you a better leader and create a healthy workplace environment. 

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EQ Helps You Better Understand Your Employees

You can’t be an effective leader if your employees are little more to you than cogs in a machine. Fortunately, by boosting your emotional intelligence, you can help get to know your employees on a personal level, better understanding how to motivate them in the process.

“Emotional intelligence improves your ability to see things from the other person’s perspective, including what other people may be thinking and feeling. Therefore, higher EQ enables you to better understand your employees actions and decisions, as well as their needs,” says Dr. Inna Khazan, PhD.

It Gives You More Confidence

Being a good leader means staying strong, even in the face of adversity. Luckily, when you’re emotionally intelligent, it’s easy to feel confident in your strengths and know how to effectively manage the strong emotions and opinions of those working below you—something that might otherwise throw you off your game.

It Increases Camaraderie

Being a good leader isn’t all about knowing how to boss people around. In fact, much of being a good, motivational leader comes from enjoying camaraderie with the people you work with, and making them feel comfortable and appreciated. And, naturally, being emotionally intelligent makes it far easier to make your appreciation of your employees’ individual skills known.

It Increases Your Productivity

Productivity and emotional intelligence go hand-in-hand for those in leadership positions. When you’re an emotionally intelligent leader, you understand the reasons why things need to get done and don’t let your ego get in the way, even if that means admitting your own errors.

“One of the most significant issues that reduce your productivity is avoidance of difficult or unpleasant emotions,” adds Dr. Khazan. “EQ helps you become more aware of such emotions, and enables you to cope with them in helpful ways, reducing avoidance and increasing productivity.”

It Makes You Kinder

A little kindness goes a surprisingly long way when you’re in a leadership role. “Because EQ helps you to better understand other people’s experience, it becomes easier to see and empathize with other people’s struggles and then to be kinder in your actions and responses,” says Dr. Khazan.

Fortunately, when you’re emotionally intelligent and respect the feelings of your employees, it’s easier to be kind to them. In turn, they’ll work harder for you—after all, when’s the last time you found yourself motivated by someone cruelly barking orders at you?

It Reduces Workplace Stress

Workplace stress can be significant for those in leadership roles, but a little emotional intelligence can help mitigate this often-detrimental side effect of a high-powered position. With a little work on your own emotional intelligence, things that would have otherwise stressed you out, like an employee who’s having a hard time or an ever-expanding to-do list, can be dealt with in a calm and collected manner.

It Opens Up Channels of Communication

A scary leader is rarely an effective one in the long term. The good news is that being emotionally intelligent can make you more understanding, and, as such, a leader your subordinates aren’t afraid to communicate with. This often creates a positive cycle in the workplace: with more communication, you become more effective, and have more feedback to give your employees.

It Helps You Retain Talent

If you’re eager to stop the endless turnover at your company, it wouldn’t hurt to brush up on your EQ skills. “People want to work with leaders who are more attuned to their needs, are able to communicate effectively, and respond to their employees with compassion and understanding,” explains Dr. Khazan.

In the long run, fostering these emotional connections with your employees will make them eager to stay in their positions instead of looking for a job that can nurture them both professionally and personally.

EQ Helps You Recognize Your Own Motivations

It’s no easy task to separate your personal feelings and the professional side of you that knows when things need to get done. Luckily, a little emotional intelligence can go a long way when it comes to recognizing why you’re doing things as a leader. Are you simply continuing what the boss before you did? Are you acting with anger? Are you bringing stress from outside the office into the workplace? Are you unclear about why something has to be done a certain way? Once you understand your own motivations, it’s easier to separate your feelings from the facts about what needs to be accomplished.

It Improves Your Problem-Solving Skills

Whether you’re dealing with a difficult employee, struggling to find ways to grow your new business, or just feeling emotionally exhausted, emotional intelligence can help. Emotional intelligence makes you more receptive to new ideas, helps you pick yourself up after a perceived failure, and helps keep your emotions in check when you’re frustrated, all of which can help you more effectively problem solve in the long run.

Some content recycled from msn.com