Emotional Intelligence at Work

Intelligence has been defined in various ways, such as a capacity for logic, understanding, learning, reasoning, planning, creativity, critical thinking, abstract thinking, self-awareness, and problem solving. These definitions are not far from addressing the issue, since they are characteristics with which human beings are endowed and it is what often distinguishes them from the rest of the animal world.

Although it is known that animals of different species also possess some of these capacities, it is also recognized that they do not have all of them or manifest them at a very primitive level of phylogenetic evolution. It is known that intelligence has facilitated the integration of individual subjects into groups, that is to say, that through the use of some of these capacities it was able to offer itself to the service, acceptance or admiration of others (a job). In Psychology-Online we explain how a type of intelligence can contribute positively to the work life of each one: an emotional intelligence at work .

What is emotional intelligence and its importance

The emotional intelligence has been described and proposed by various authors since many decades and for over a century by Charles Darwin. This type of intelligence refers to the ability to understand one's own emotional or affective process and that of other people . It is necessary to describe that emotional intelligence is not opposed to those previously described with unconscious intentions to homogenize the particular characteristics of each subject: rational-logical-deductive intelligence.

The second intelligence described was often used as a reference to people's success (for example, if someone had an effective understanding of mathematical problems or in memorizing data for long periods of time). The emotional part was thus degraded to something animalistic, childish and superfluous.

As Charles Darwin (1872) mentioned that intelligence is based on how efficient species become when doing the things they need to survive, and putting aside our rational or cognitive source to create an apology to the world of our emotions It would not make us the most efficient species to survive, nor vice versa: we would not be the fittest species surviving if we avoid the importance of our emotions in the decisions we make daily by generalizing to relative reason as the only source of success.

Emotional intelligence requires the ability to rationally understand data that we ignore about the emotional world, for example, they could be the following:

  • What is an emotion for?
  • Where does an emotion come from?
  • How an emotion manifests.
  • What emotions exist.
  • How an emotion manifests itself in the body.
  • At the neurological level, what areas are involved in emotions.

Rationalizing does not imply justifying and answering ourselves "just because" all the time, in that case we would be believing our own lies. Rationalizing implies understanding. The emotional reaction is not thought, but it is understood ; understanding that emotional world is what constitutes emotional intelligence.

Learn that an emotion is an impulse for actionas Goleman (1995) describes it and that is so, through these impulses we have managed to survive as a species (for example, if we feel fear, our physiology starts to fight / flee or paralyze us in the face of any threat), but if not We understand that fear has a function in our life, we will label it with the aim of justifying our ignorance as if it were an invention, as something harmful and as many pejoratives for the emotion in particular.

Understanding how fear manifests itself will facilitate adaptation, evolution, until we reach what the German philosopher Nietzsche called "ubermensch" or superman. We will be people not only with emotional intelligence, but also people who have reached spiritual, psychological and physical maturity.

"Daniel Goleman (1995): For better or for worse, our evaluations and our reactions to any interpersonal encounter are not the exclusive fruit of an exclusively rational judgment or of our personal history, but also seem to be rooted in our remote ancestral past."

How it affects emotional intelligence at work

As described, emotional intelligence allows us to understand our own emotions and those of others, something similar to what the Greeks called sofrosyne (the virtue of care and the intelligence of the government of our own life); what Christians call temperance, that ability to contain emotional excess.

That virtue of self-care, self-knowledge, governance and temperance that facilitates emotional intelligence is evident in the work we do in relationships with clients, collaborators (employees) and with employers (bosses), in the way in which problems are faced or solved that arise at work and in the determination and passion that is dedicated to work actions.

Be slaves of our nature

Little control over the way in which our limbic system responds to stimuli, the absence of the art of restraining or deferring passions (emotions), the inability to self-regulate (balancing or calming down), emotional illiteracy (not being able to describe what you feel or what others feel) may lead to difficulties in learning, concentrating, remembering and especially in making decisions. Stress, which is a normal response of the body to the threats of survival, can become a factor in labor conflicts or problems in the performance of work tasks by not being able to express it and guide it to a goal.

Stress is necessary, as well as happiness, sadness and anger, but you must know very intelligently how to express them in healthy ways .

Here are some of the characteristics of the effects of emotional intelligence at work :

  • Employees with a higher tolerance for frustration.
  • Employers with the capacity for discernment and leadership.
  • Employers capable of understanding and empathizing with the needs of their collaborators and their clients or users.
  • Employees who usually set goals, offering their skills for the development of the company or institution.
  • Relationships between fellow collaborators and employers with empathy.
  • Reduction of mental pathologies (depression, anxiety, sleep-wake problems, problems in eating behavior).
  • Higher productivity.

How to apply emotional intelligence at work

Progress towards a strategic conception of labor relations starts from the use of collaborators (employees and employers) as tools for organizing and sharing knowledge (contribution and collaboration of the human intelligence of employees) and responding to the concerns of the resource human (management of emotional intelligence in labor relations).

The restructuring of the work environment inevitably takes place, employees play a role within the organization as individual subjects who differ in the most visceral and original sense of the concept (different training profiles, origins, remuneration concerns, personal concerns and development expectations).

The prosperity of organizations is based on improving the health of their workers; a counterproductive act is to deduce that health needs will always be the same for each employee. The development expectations in which each one works may not fully fit the organization's offerings; the profiles and training experiences may not be used or used by the organizations.

To achieve healthy labor relations from this subjective direction of the employees, the feeling must be created in each one that their professional expectations are not compromised or compelled to remain stagnant within the organization, but are focused on growth prospects and improvement . This approach augurs personal growth by empathizing and recognizing that each employee contributes their abilities to the collective benefit , but that they also live and socialize with another environment, and therefore live other experiences that must be addressed.

How to develop intelligence in the workplace

Here are eight strategies to develop emotional intelligence at work:

  • Training : emotional intelligence training processes.
  • Support : offer psychological support to employees.
  • Self-knowledge : offer opportunities for each of the collaborators to know themselves (their abilities, their difficulties and the expression of their emotions at the physiological level).
  • Motivation for the achievement of objectives, goals and new challenges.
  • Knowledge of the environment (collaborators), knowing the subjective expression of their emotions.
  • Training on non - verbal language . This will make it easier to read the emotions of the interlocutors.
  • Learning social skills, how to develop active listening , listen to the ideas and objectives of each collaborator.
  • Closeness and empathy , implies understanding beyond the ideas and emotions of others. This allows the recognition and evaluation of the personal history of each collaborator, so we understand many why of their reactions.