Note: This is an edited transcript from Obed Magny’s podcast Magnyfied.
Why is Emotional Intelligence important ?
Consider this story from Florida:
During an altercation or conversation an officer intervened to keep a sergeant from doing something that he was going to regret later; and when she intervened, this man turned around, put his hands around her neck, pushed her away, and then walked away. Obviously, he lost his emotions. He lost his cool. He is currently, I believe, suspended right now, probably likely to lose his job.
When you are talking about professions, such as policing, nursing, law enforcement, or anything having to do with public safety, it is a stressful job. Yes, it is a stressful job, but we have to be mindful of our emotions and not let them get the best of us because we do not want to be the next YouTube sensation or the next hashtag or anything like that.
What is Emotional Intelligence?
If we talk about Emotional Intelligence in the workplace, emotional intelligence or EQ is usually described as the ability to identify one’s emotions and control of those emotions while expressing oneself.
This includes being empathetic to others and cultivating successful interpersonal relationships. A recent study shows that emotional intelligence or emotional intelligence scores has actually been dropping recently over the course of the last 10 years or so.
We can all agree that social media and video games are a factor. Certainly these are the only reason, but more and more, we are becoming isolated. This pandemic did not help. But, we’ve had got more people who are indoors, inside, on their computers, on their phones, and they are not doing those interactive activities, preferably outdoors with others.
So we’ve got to become more personal again. We are becoming too isolated. Emotional Intelligence is not only useful in day-to-day life, but it is even more critical now, especially in the workplace.
So we went through the Great Resignation where people said, “You know what, I’m just not going to go to work because I would rather work on me, whatever that is, as opposed to going back to a workplace where maybe my boss does not recognize the work that I do, respect me or help me succeed in my own right.”
There is just a lot of that stuff going on. Obviously, you can improve your emotional intelligence through improved communication, empathy for others, and a better resolution of conflict management, not just between team members and customers but also with your supervisors at home, wherever you live.
Brief history of Emotional Intelligence
In the 1970s, the United States Supreme Court ruled that companies cannot base hiring people only as a result of IQ tests. There got to be some kind of performance-related factor when you are hiring people.
Harvard University started doing some research on another test that companies could use in determining “What is it that is important when it comes to hiring a great leader.”
Notice, “a great leader” and not a great manager or supervisor – “a great leader!”
Things like problem-solving, conflict resolution and leadership are all very, very important. The research established that emotional intelligence is more desired in employees in the book learning or the IQ.
We’re seeing some colleges get away from the SATs, ACTs, and such measurements, because they are realizing that interpersonal skills mean a lot more, and you are going to be a lot more successful if you know how to connect with people as opposed to regurgitating policy, procedure, chapter, and verse.
In 1995, Daniel Goldman, who is one of the fathers of emotional intelligence, came out with a book called Emotional Intelligence. It is still a great read. There are five big areas of emotional intelligence that help with day-to-day skills so that you can be better, not just at work but also at home, no matter what your social settings are.
This will be developed in future articles. Just remember when the question is asked, “who needs it?” Is this something that only supervisors should have? People who are in the upper echelon? No! Everybody needs this. It does not matter if you are the lowest person or the totem pole in your organization or management. Everybody needs these skills. Everybody has to know how to deal with conflict management so you don’t end the next YouTube sensation.
None of us want to be that and if we are the next YouTube or hashtag sensation, we want it to be associated with a “positive aspect” and not with the negative aspect. Even companies today are saying, in their testing process, “That’s good that you have the resume as far as competencies to do a job, but more emphasis is being placed on emotional intelligence. How do you deal with other people? Can you read a room when you walk into a room and adapt, and so on?”
So during these next few articles we are going to learn how to communicate better with others, build relationships, and influence others more positively because we all want to grow. We all want to be able to be in a position to proactively manage our emotions and not end up like this Sergeant down there in the state of Florida. He is not the only one there. Other videos that you can find online were not just officers but people in other professions behaving badly, and we want to use those as teaching moments, not as moments where we are going just say, “Oh, look at what he did. What is wrong with him?”
Because I will be the first one to tell you I have lost my cool on several occasions.
But again, working on your emotional intelligence is not a finite thing. This is a constant thing. You are going to the gym and when you working it out, “Oh, I can bench 315 today. I don’t have to work out anymore because always be able to bench for 315.” No! These are perishable skills. If you are not constantly working on them, you can easily lose them and we do not want that to happen.
If you’re interested in learning more about Emotional Intelligence, please check out our Training on Emotional Intelligence.