Emotional Intelligence – The Way Ahead

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Aarthi Ilangovan

Pride Technologies Consulting India Private Limited

Associate Director – Operations

Emotional Intelligence – The Way Ahead

It goes without saying that the hype of the modern workplace that has condensed the global marketplace to a local interactive environment, demands growing levels of competence in dealing with diverse people, cultures, geographies and information at large. Thrown into this mix, is the need for both people who demonstrate the right competencies to perform the job and the desired behaviours and attitudes aligned with the culture of the organization. Historically, what was considered by many in older generations as just a source of income to support the family is now a decision that goes beyondmerely one of an attractive paycheck or job title. Hence, factors beyond intellect (IQ) and compensation which were primary job determinants decades ago have clearly emerged as new aspects in the workplace today.Employers and employees have started acknowledging the need for emotionally intelligent and effective relationship to drive business outcomes that directly impact the company’s bottom-line and the employees’ sense of personal growth and intent to stay in an organization.

Type a keyword search in Google for ‘Emotional Intelligence at Work’ and you’ll find a host of results that discuss the relationship and impact of emotional intelligence on work attitudes (e.g.,behaviour and outcomes, team cohesiveness, workplace performance, leadership effectiveness, conflict, innovation).Years of research and literature published on emotional intelligence (EQ) clearly demonstrates its link to critical aspects of an organization’s performance at both the associate and leadership level. Advancing beyond Daniel Goleman’s proclaimed construct of the 5 pillars of Emotional Intelligence: Self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy and people skills; below are three basic recommendations on how organizations can use emotional intelligence to help drive a high performing culture and derive desired business results.

  • Sow EQ seeds and nurture: Our education system does not teach emotional intelligence.Post college, employersexpect employees to demonstrate high levels of emotional competence apart from the functional expertise needed to excel in jobs and necessary to helpadvance up the corporate ladder. Particularly, at leadership levels importance is placed on being able to manage one-self and others. This ability carries heavy implications on an organization’s success. Therefore, make it a part of your modus operandi to invest in your employees’ emotional development. Learning & Development initiatives that address EQ and other key developmental areas that help shape your employees’ world view of how they manage themselves and others will pay-off huge dividends with time.
  • Weave EQ into the fabric of your organization’s culture:Conducting a few training sessions alone cannot accomplish a change that has to be fundamental to the DNA of the organization. To bridge this gap, assess whether your culture encourages employees to explore their EQ at work and in their day-to-day lives. For example, in my current organization, one of the fundamental frameworks we followto drive personal effectiveness is AIKIDO. The acronym stands for: Adaptability, integrity, knowledge, investment in others, drive and outlook. All employees are educated on AIKIDO and their demonstration of these attributes is infused into their day-to-day work and personal development to equip them for personal and professional growth within the organization.
  • Practice the habit of seeing others deeply:As one of my colleagues appropriately stated, “We live in an economy of interdependence today where it becomes valuable as a good business practice to see one another more fully.”Our employees are exposed to multiple constituents (e.g., clients, co-workers, candidates, third party vendors),both directlyand indirectly.However, there is a tendency to put one another in a stereotypical box and to operate with a transactional mind-set instead of valuing the human being behind the label. While functional knowledge can help execute the required transactions with the precision and accuracy needed, practising a holistic view that propagates a deeper understanding of the constituents we interact with brings out the emotional awareness and willingness to invest in transformational rather than a transactional mind-set to work. Such transformational mind-set consequently results in greater levels of meaningfulness and satisfaction in one’s job. This allows the organization’s clients to benefit from great service and the service providers (employees) themselves to become highly engaged and more willing to go the extra mile to ensure the “need” rather than the “dictated task” is understood.

In conclusion, as employers, we often sit on a goldmine of talent that falls short of our needs due to the inherent gaps in the IQ focused education system and EQ dependent global business environment. However, to the mind that wants to succeed, the only way left is ‘forward.’ Moulding the emotional intelligence of our workforce to help build the bridge we find missing today is a step in the right direction!

 

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