While teams from businesses big and small heavily rely on data and analysis to make informed decisions and execute the necessary steps to attain success, cognitive intelligence alone is not the sole determinant of performance. Sure, the critical and analytical mind is more than capable of driving growth, but depending on these hard numbers and statistics exclusively leads to shortcomings. As a result, there is now a considerable need for understanding emotion, and emotional intelligence is becoming an essential soft skill for managers and leaders alike.
Shouldn’t We Limit Emotions In The Workplace?
Of course, traditional advice would point toward the exclusion of emotions in the workplace, to be as cold, harsh, and unforgiving much like the competition that exists in any industry, or the business world, for that matter. Decisions should always be made on logical and rational grounds, which is why most people assume that putting aside emotion is the obvious answer.
However, by nature, humans are emotional creatures, and to deny emotion in the workplace is akin to leaving your humanity at the doorstep every time you enter the office. We aren’t robots that care not about the impacts or consequences; we are social beings capable of feeling and understanding, which means to devalue emotion is to lessen yourself.
Emotions should not be limited in the workplace, for it is when rational thinking and emotional awareness work together, do we attain more well-rounded decision-making.
We Can’t Ignore Emotion
Everyone experiences emotion, from the blissful joy of taking your first sip of coffee in the morning to the sigh of relief and satisfaction after a hard day’s work, emotions high and low are present everywhere throughout life. As such, it is imperative that we can’t ignore emotion, especially in the workplace, where stress, determination, motivation, and uncertainty lurk together in groups.
- Passion: Among your team members, you might find a person radiating motivation and eager to get a head start. This represents one of the more positive emotions present in the workplace, the burning sensation that fills a person with willpower and the drive to cooperate and deliver.
- Fear: Everyone has their moments where gut-wrenching fear takes over them, but these don’t necessarily translate into negativity. Fear can come from uncertainty, the anxiety of waiting for results, and even a presentation review.
- Anger: Lastly, when a colleague is met with disappointment or was unable to fulfill their role, it’s only natural that they feel anger. And this dangerous emotion can push a once bright team member to a downward spiral of more bad decisions.
Admittedly, these three examples are but the tip of the iceberg, and they can take many forms, both good and bad. Thus, making emotional intelligence all the more critical.
Emotions Matter, And Here’s How You Can Use Them
Emotional intelligence does not rely on data alone but shines when you use it to your advantage. And because every interaction, plan, or project your team will take on is sure to elicit some form of emotional feedback, mastering an emotional blueprint can come in different ways.
#1 Positive Emotional Contagion
As the name suggests, a positive emotional contagion is a spread of positive emotions from person to person to bring up team morale and increase motivation. As an emotionally intelligent team leader, your job is to maintain and boost the positive vibes present in the room to help keep everyone in excellent condition. And this can be achieved by reaffirmation, acknowledging good results, and reminding the team of their weekly progress.
- Expands Thinking: Brainstorming sessions are not as easy as they sound, and the warmth of a process heater alone is not enough to get the creative juices flowing. But, when you introduce a positive emotional contagion into your team, this helps boost everyone’s mood and expands their thinking.
- Encourages Innovation: Breakthroughs weren’t made when genius inventors were down on their luck and throwing a pity party. Innovation happens when people are working optimally and fee the drive to do so, and nothing encourages innovation like a smile on your face.
#2 Understanding Others’ Situations
People come from different walks of life, and no two situations are ever the same, and we can’t make haste judgment until we see what it’s like in another person’s shoes. When you practice emotional intelligence, you must understand other people’s situations, knowing when you need to be strict and when you need to leverage and make exceptions. In doing so, you build trust and accountability with your team, inspiring them to make it up to you and work harder.
#3 Finding Balance
Finally, emotional intelligence also means finding balance, being critical of the situations, and assessing whether it is rational to accept or ignore the emotions present. Understandably, there will be times when an iron fist and cold-hard facts must stand firm, and it is also an emotionally intelligent manager’s job to identify between these situations.
But, You Must Always Start With Yourself
Before anything else, emotional intelligence and emotional skills training must always start with yourself. So, please put in the time to master controlling your own emotions rather than immediately jumping head first without a second thought.