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Many people don’t know what emotional intelligence is. Therefore a question of what has emotional intelligence got to do with business may arise.
Let me give you a brief illustration,
Sam was working quietly on his desk all morning, not talking to anyone, not greeting nor receiving greetings from his colleagues. Well, no one seems bothered because the nature of the job allows for quietness for ideas or creativity as it usually assumed. Everyone went along with their individual tasks and responsibilities leaving Sam to his corner and his worries and troubles.
Sam has a close friend named John,
Let me introduce John.
John is the go-to person when you are tired of working or looking at the screen of your work system all day due to the fact that no idea or the task can’t be achieved. He is known for his fluency in giving stories of his adventure to different states of the country, many of which you will doubt is true but at that point in time, you really need those lies to get the ideas coming. John is a jovial person, he takes things very lightly. Including queries and stern warning; now that is John.
Back to Sam in what looks like a difficult situation with no one asking why he has been down in mind and heart. However, John showed up as always to greet his friend. Now the usual greeting was a hard slap at the back of the host’s head. Now you can imagine what will erupt after that action. Join me in projecting forward; do you think there was going to be a war between these two considering the situation at hand?
As expected Sam blotted out in anger towards the attitude of his friend. On the other hand, John was amazed at the reaction that he also busted out in anger in response to the words said by Sam.
Now, this may not seem like the most perfect illustration explain but it is most common in workplaces. So should Sam have reacted the way he did? Was he wronged? Should John have hit his friend? Should he have in addition reacted the way he did after his friend’s show of displeasure in relation to his action?
These are the question that arises when we talk about emotional intelligence.
Emotional intelligence refers to employees’ ability to recognize their emotions and those of others, often co-workers or colleagues. They must be able to recognize, distinguish, and label these emotions appropriately.
John Mayer and Peter Salovey further define emotional intelligence as the “ability to monitor one’s emotions and others’ emotions, distinguish between different emotions and label them appropriately, and use emotion information to guide thinking.
It is important to remember that the thoughts and behaviors of humans are always going to be different depending on the situation.
Emotional intelligence is derived from Two (2) key foundational words;
What is Emotion?
Without any ambiguous explanation, the feedback we give and the way we react to situations and happening that arise around us are simply called emotions. It can be expressed in;
The list given above does not capture all the kinds of emotions that can be exhibited by individuals in different situations.
A young man I knew in the vicinity I grew up was very hardworking; he always determined to attend the best higher institution of the country. He kept on studying hard, very hard I mean; sleepless nights and hard reading and studying day just to meet up the requirement for admission into his dream institution. For Two (2) years, he was close to meeting the requirement but he was granted admission. The third year, he increased his push, increased his reading hours. He finally got the admission and I saw him hold his admission letter with tears and laughter all over his face, that is emotion and as much it meant a lot to him, it meant a lot to all of us, I mean it is a small town and we all knew how hard he had worked for this to pull through.
Many of us wept but then I didn’t.
That is on a lighter mood. The main focus here is that the world revolves around emotions and as much as we may want to deny it, emotions rule the way we live.
Stanley wakes up in the morning planning to go to work, he was so happy leaving the house and then when he got to the bus station, a private car runs through on a high speed and splashes mud all over his dress, he can’t go back home because he is going to be late to work and so he tries to clean himself, spending an amount of money that was not planned.
You might think that everyone should plan for unforeseen circumstances, yes you may be right, but the plans don’t fixate the emotions, an outcome of the circumstances to be good.
Following the story given above, when Stanley got to the office in a mixture of anger, sadness, and exhaustion even before the work for the day begins, now he got locked out by the security man who misplaced his office keys, what do you think will happen? Will Stanley take the newly found development lying low? Will he express anger?
Emotions take a big chunk (pardon me for this word, but it describes in best understanding what I am trying to portray), a big segment of our daily conversations and dealings such that we are not even aware about.
From what I have seen, experienced and read, I have come to a conclusion that emotion can be categorized into two kinds namely;
- The Intra-emotion and
- The inter-emotion.
This kind of emotion connects or relates to how the individual relates or reacts to the occasion caused or facilitated by the individual, this signifies that there are occasions or happenings that are self-caused. And so that reaction follows the events are called intra-emotion.
A perfect instance is when you probably are eating your best snack or favorite meal and then, what happened? You bite yourself. How do you feel? Angry at yourself? Angry at your teeth? Will you throw the food away? C’mon, you won’t be getting that meal again, you just have to enjoy the pain and pleasure derived – that is a joke though.
The Intra-emotions are generated within and the reaction of such emotions takes place within also.
In contrast to the intra-emotion which indicates the reaction given to internalized or internally generated events and occasion, there is the inter-emotion.
The inter-emotion sheds light on the relationship in terms of emotion between the individual and the environment. This speaks about the reaction of the individual, i.e the subject to the occasions not created by himself but his immediate environment.
Examples are the stepping on of your foot by a person in a public transit, the slamming of the door on your hand by a person. These can be very painful and you are definitely expected to react as far as you can feel
Oh gosh, that can be so painful; I think I feel that on my hand already.
The truth is that it is not a bad thing to feel rage, angry during either the externally generated events or the internally generated happening especially when they are geared towards the tragic side of events. It is a constant part of life. Its original has been before time and time itself. So don’t feel bad when you are caught up in your emotion when reacting to an event around you.
Emotion is something that is there, but we do not see until we look closer and deeper intelligently.
The emotions that we exhibit as human beings are highly dynamic, but the feedback is usually positive or negative and so you will be seeing the positive and negative feedbacks appear more than once in the points given below.
The classifications are;
- Positive feedback can be happiness, surprise, or no reactions at all
- Negative feedback can include disgust, anger, or sadness.
So let me briefly highlight the dynamism in the emotions we exhibit;
- There are events that are intra-emotionally created, and the feedback received is positive.
- There are events that are inter-emotionally created, and the feedback received is positive.
- There are events that are intra-emotionally created, and the feedback received is negative and,
- There are events that are inter-emotionally created, and the feedback received is negative.
That’s where intelligence comes in.
So, what is Intelligence?
According to Wikipedia, Intelligence can be described as the ability to perceive or receive information or to retain it as knowledge to be applied towards adaptive behaviors within an environment or context.
It can be said to be the application of knowledge.
Intelligence with relations to emotions is having the knowledge of different emotions and the facts that they can determine the outcome of situations and events around us and then the use of this knowledge to either control, contain, and determine such event outcomes.
So while I was growing up without a father, I literary will stand halt to watch anywhere I see kids and fathers play together or discuss, it became a habit because I missed that connection – now that is some emotional thing, you know. And then you have kids wanting to show up their father and all that he had got for them, at first I will have to resort to crying because I don’t have a father who will do that for me at that instant.
Guess what? I perceived that information, saw it as something that I will really miss and actually can’t do anything about – so why cry about a situation I couldn’t do anything about, so I did let go of that part where I always so cold in my heart when kids show up their father to me.
While still young, I stopped being emotionally attached to that event and it did save me a lot of energy which should have been wasted crying – just to note that to cry is not bad or shameful.
I think we both agree that intelligence is key while dealing with the diverse kind of emotions that is readily available around us which differs with respect to the events.
EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE IS IMPORTANT IN BUSINESS
The previous subheadings have brought to our knowledge Emotions in it’s simplest definition, informing us also about the types of emotional reaction we can have in diverse situations and events.
In business, emotional intelligence is of high importance, reasons are that every business type and nature involves humans, and as far as this fact is concerned we know that emotional intelligence is important.
When I say emotional intelligence is important in business or workplaces, in relating to employee or customer alike, what do I really mean?
I mean that with high emotional intelligence, you can;
- Empathize with others
- Overcome challenges
- Relieve stress
- Defuse conflict
These cover the A-Z of everyday work activities, you can do these things then your business begin to experience openness, creativity, happiness, and job satisfaction – this is on the path of your employee.
- Communication in business
Communication is a give and take system, the same model a business adopts; it is a 2-way road. It is the passage and receipt of information between two mediums namely the sender and the receiver. It is like the most important aspect or factor in business operation. It consists of both the internal and external types.
Communication in the workplace is entirely important and termed compulsory that is why there are discussions such as employer-employee engagement.
It is just like a marriage where both man and wife don’t talk to each other, sooner they grow weary of each other’s presence and that will cause a negative effect on the marriage leading to either a divorce or extra-marital affair
Likewise, the workplace or business needs constant communication; you see your employee having a bad day, stop to ask why. You notice that your employee was absent without proper notice, find out why – yes you may not be happy that due process was not followed but then first thing comes first, the safety of your staff.
Consequences of ineffective communication you may want to ask, well take a cue from the marriage without communication, the truth is the environment becomes not conducive and acidic for habitation and so your employees find their way out. That is the simple and final outcome.
- Empathy & Business
Empathy is the ability of an individual to connect personal experiences with those of others. This is saying to a person, I am opened to know how you may feel, don’t be ashamed to let me know how you feel.
Sandra came in early hours of this day, she was working happily until she received the news that her mother who was in the hospital receiving treatment for breast cancer died, she couldn’t work for a few hours as she was crying uncontrollably. Her boss walks in to request for the document he had asked her to prepare for an urgent meeting – a clause to signing a major deal.
Upon seeing her crying, what do you think he should do? Shout at her and request for the document, reiterating how important it was for the firm? Should he threaten her job if the deal falls short?
Empathy tells her boss to ask her to take the day and assign the task to another capable employee.
- Overcoming Challenges
Understanding the emotions of individuals in specific workplace solves problems faster and quicker. Challenges are part of everyday activities, of the truth that is why we have the workplaces so that solution can be provided to challenges facing the economy.
And so how can challenges in the workplace be faced and overcome?
For each and every challenge in the workplace, there is an emotional attachment to it. An expression of anger, revenge, or hatred. And then the solution is emotional intelligence which is recognizing one’s emotions and that of others, not just recognizing but labeling them appropriately and using this information to guide thinking and behavior.
- Stress Relief
With emotional intelligence, the stress we usually carry as a burden is relieved. There are so many things we react to and get stressed about which actually are just very minute and shouldn’t be a burden.
The workplace is an emotional world where if you are not emotionally intelligent, you will be emotionally stressed and drained. Imagine working with a boss who shouts and screams at every mistake made, or one who throws the task back at your face for not doing them in the way that seems pleasing, that is an emotional bomb waiting to explode. Don’t forget to note that there is no problem in making a mistake, it is the path to being better and to improve one’s ability. So own your mistake but ensure not to make the same mistakes over and over again.
I worked with a boss who is a “loud corrector”, he shouts out what you have done wrong, and trust me there is no politeness in shouting. So whenever he does that, I don’t return to working in that same mood, I take a brief walk or go for a brief discussion so that I can balance my emotion.
As an employer, you need to know when the workplace is not friendly; you could bring up a discussion to reduce the stress in the atmosphere. Introduce competition, or share individuals into teams to achieve tasks. That is another way to relieving stress in the workplace.
- Conflict Resolution
Conflict is when the thoughts and decisions of more than one person do not align; there is a disagreement of purpose.
Let me state that it is not a bad thing to have disagreement or conflict in the workplace, in fact, it is one of the ways to know an individual better. With this comes the understanding of one’s character, behavior, or attitude.
Should we conclude that conflicts help in enhancing emotional intelligence? Well, I think it is an avenue for individuals to be emotionally intelligent.
Emotional intelligence, therefore, helps in diffusing conflict easily because there is knowledge of emotions. From my story above, I had diffused the probability to have any conflict with my boss by simply taking a walk away from my desk for a few seconds.
Conflict will make work undone, create, and develop into hatred if not resolved for a long period of time. So it is very important for managers and leaders to possess and develop emotional intelligence. How do you avoid physical combat between your staff and an angry customer if you are not emotionally intelligent?
DO YOU AGREE?
The importance of emotional intelligence in our everyday activity in the workplace should not be underestimated. Emotional intelligence should not be looked down upon. Truth is you may be exhibiting emotional intelligence skills without even noticing. Example from my story when I was a young boy who misses his Dad, and cries when other children stick it to me about how they have a dad and I don’t, but as soon as I discovered that my tears were not helping and I understood what that emotion could cause, I braced up.
Now, in contrast, having a good knowledge of the temperaments and their attribute is a good way to be emotionally intelligent but its exemption is that it works perfectly well when you are communicating with your internal environment that is individuals known to you say your family, friends or loved one.
The business or workplace needs that the matter relating to emotional intelligence is given topmost priority as it determines the rate of commitment to the work and this in turn determines business success.
Thank you for taking the time to read my piece.
Kindly leave your feedback in the comment below.