Put some feeling into it

Emotional intelligence is paramount in a thriving workplace

You’re the boss. You’re charged with maximizing profits and increasing productivity by getting your employees to focus their energies, stimulating their creativity, boosting team morale and securing their commitment to do good things.

“No leader can fulfill all of his or her responsibilities with cognitive intellect alone,” says Esther M. Orioli, president and CEO of Q-Metrics, a San Francisco-based organization that measures and develops various components of human intelligence. “The changes affecting the workplace extend beyond integrating new technologies and increasing market share. They involve radical shifts in the ways employees interact both interpersonally and collectively.”

Orioli explains that relying totally on standard procedures, policies, and statistical data and analysis will not address the new organization’s demand for heightened levels of collaboration and teamwork. “While business runs on brainpower, people thrive and excel on the power of emotions, or what I call emotional intelligence quotient (EQ).”

Orioli, creator of the EQ Map and other individual and corporate assessment tests, defines EQ as the ability to sense, understand and apply the acumen of emotions as a source of human energy, information and connection. Effective use of emotional intelligence allows employees to heighten intuition, gain insight into complex challenges and motivate themselves to act. She says EQ can make a critical difference in areas of decision making, leadership, planning, teamwork, creativity and innovation.

Orioli stresses that emotions inevitably affect individual performances as well as the way employees relate to fellow workers, managers and customers. “Managers who do not encourage the display and use of positive emotions in the workplace will fail to capitalize on emotions that can drive people to top performance,” she says.

Orioli offers ways managers can facilitate a greater use of EQ in the workplace.

  • Assess the current level of emotional intelligence. Orioli suggests that managers take note of how the work setting looks and feels by observing team members’ interactions. Ask the following questions: Do team members act as if they are comfortable with each other? Do team members discuss and resolve concerns among themselves? Do team members offer honest feedback on their contributions to team projects?
  • Create opportunity for increased emotional intelligence. “Managers don’t need to teach people EQ; EQ is an innate thing. Managers simply need to promote behaviors that allow for trust, honesty, respect and freedom to express emotions in the workplace.” She points out that one of the best ways to promote emotional intelligence is by becoming an example that team members can model themselves after. She says, “Don’t be afraid to let others see that you are not emotionless. Be open enough that others can see that you control and manage your reaction to negative emotions and draw upon the power of your positive ones.”
  • Model emotional intelligence. Orioli suggests that managers pay specific attention to modeling areas that include listening and relating to others, giving honest feedback and managing constructive discontent. “Effective use of EQ in these areas undoubtedly offers benefits to the team that include creating and increasing energy under pressure, building honest and trusting relationships among team
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