Performance in work places is not just about completion of tasks assigned to an individual that matters. Work performance is rated on task completion, contextual behavior and ability to make logical decisions (Mersino 2007).
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Our focus in this paper will be on the emotional aspects that guide ones decision making ability and other extra behavior that promote mutual interaction between individuals in work places. Emotional intelligence is a significant requirement for team work; there is a coherent link between successes attained in team work to the level of emotional intelligence held by the members of the team (Stough & Saklofske 2009, p. 189).
Research indicates that emotional load in work places varies with the type of work, some jobs have greater emotional load on workers than others. Jobs with high emotional load include; nursing, management jobs and service providers. They involve dealing directly with people of different emotional levels. To successfully work in such an environment, one requires a high level of emotional intelligence.
Recruitment of personnel for jobs with high emotional loads requires the use of proper emotional measuring tools that effectively selects the right individual for the position. Further training on emotional management skills need to organized often for such employees and when a need arises. Motivation should also be used to help and encourage individuals at work places improve their emotional intelligence.
Motivation as pointed out by Stough & Saklofske (2009 p184) is capable of creating loyalty among workers and makes redirect them towards their cause. A persons’ empathy is very important in developing ones emotional intelligence, empathy makes one to reflect on the impact the decisions he makes has on others. It allows one to considers both the positive and negative consequences of his decisions and makes appropriate judgment prior to.
Social skills are very vital for mutual interaction between peers as well as subordinates in work place. A visionary and intelligent thinker must be complimented by emotional intelligence in order to be able to link and work with others in a team.
People who are aggressive and socially engaging are more capable of developing an influential network of relationships than those who are not social (Wall 2007, p. 48). Lack of emotional intelligence is an inhibition to social integration. High IQ alone is not a measure of successful career or professional performance; one requires people skills to be able to work effectively with others.
Emotional intelligence at work places
Emotional intelligence at work places is measured against the following parameters; energy, stress, optimism, self esteem, change, detail and courage (Wall 2007, p. 50). Energy as a measure of emotional intelligence focuses on the physical involvement that an individual directs to the execution process of the job. The energy that an individual directs to carrying out a project tends to vary with the mood as well as the interest that they have in the job.
Self esteem defines the value that we regard ourselves with, people with high esteem attach high value to themselves where as those with low esteem tend to underrate themselves. Self esteem also looks at the belief we have over what we are capable of doing. Those who regard themselves excessively high or have very high self esteem tend to disregard others or view others as lesser beings than them (Stough & Saklofske 2009). Such an attitude may be a hindrance to effective social interaction with others.
Workers like it when factors that compromise their self esteem are eliminated in the work environment so that the work they do is well appreciated by the seniors. Business managers who do not regard their employees with high value are more likely to get poor performance from the employees’ compared to those who appreciate and regard their employees. Stress refers to the way human beings tend to react to situations that undermine their capability. Stress also encompasses the reactions that we have over what we are not willing to accept in our lives
Details refer to ones ability to check and point out the fine details of the job requirement. Some managers are more keen on details where as others apply the hands type of leadership in business. The later manager may be more involved in affairs that would better be left to employees to handle.
This is an indication of lack of emotional intelligence for managers to be too involved in fine details that the workers are supposed to take care of on their own. It is important to be keen to work details and ensure all is going on well as a manager in an organization; however this should be carried out at a moderated level so that the workers are allowed some little freedom to direct themselves.
Managers who on the other hand keep their eyes to the work at a distance and allow the workers to rule and make decisions on their own are more likely to promote carelessness at the work place. Human beings react and adapt to the work environment according to the standards that are set out for them.
A hand off leadership is a show of lack of proper human skills to engage the workers more closely. Change as a parameter of measuring emotional intelligence reflects on ones ability to adapt to new ideas and process in the work place. There are individuals who are used to routine work and quite resistant to changes in the work place. These are classified as the low achievers who can not work hard to adapt to new changes in the routine (Wall 2007, p. 52). Work environments that offer variability and change calls for
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Optimism is a measure of the persons’ positive mentality over a given task. A low measure in optimism as pointed out by Stough & Saklofske (2009, p. 179) indicates a gloomy and faulty finding person not able to cope with pressure in crisis. A high score in optimism is an indication of a positive mentality, the problem with very optimistic people is high trust in people that blurs their sense to identify mistakes or problems in what they do.
Courage measures people’s ability to face challenges, demanding positions requires that people take decisions that may hurt some people and favor others. Making a decision that hurts some people requires courage, in organizations, such decisions are inevitable. Even the very best decisions made or proposed will always have a percentage of people opposed to it, when it is made, the people opposed to it feel offended or hurt.
Direction is another important parameter that measures the workers emotional intelligence. Direction describes and individuals’ sense of decision making. There are people who can not make independent decisions on their own. They depend on decisions made in group or from the advice from other people. Decision making is a significant aspect of leadership, leading a group of people involves making decisions for the people and giving them the direction to follow.
People who score highly on the aspect of direction are more comfortable making decisions. (Mersino 2007, p. 12) indicates that those who score extremely high on the parameter of direction have a tendency to make a decision everything. Such people have a problem with delegation and tend to struggle to do everything on their own. It is important to learn how to trust the ability of other people and be willing to work with them.
It also counts to be assertive and tolerant to other people. An assertive person is more reasonable to the demands or requirements that he makes on others. They should be persuasive to convince people to agree to what they want them to do. Skills to solve conflicts are necessary for a person to be rated as being assertive.
Conflicts often arise as a result of differences between the warring parties, solving a conflict requires an assertive mind to make the differing person agree to a common consensus. People with low scores on this parameter; have a problem holding people accountable for their action (Wall 2007, p. 56).
Very high scores on the other hand is an indication of being harsh and repellant. This is more likely to hurt and damage the mutual relationships that one has with others. Tolerance is a measure of ones ability to forgive as well as their patience on issues. Intolerant people are more emotional and their emotions are easily triggered when a crisis hits.
Promoting emotional intelligence in work places
Programs which enhance emotional intelligence should be encouraged in work places for effective team work. It is only by team work that good performance can be realized in an organization. Lack of emotional intelligence in members of an organization, especially the leaders is a major cause of poor work performance and low achievement.
Emotional intelligence, being an aspect of the human character can be developed and changed with time in an individual. This can only be achieved through programs that help individuals change and adapt to desired emotional characteristics. Mentorship programs can be vital programs that organizations can utilize to mentor their employees to adapt desired emotional intelligence.
Most employees endowed with the very best technical skills like engineers score poorly in human skills. Many organizations can not do without this type of employees because of the type of business they deal with. The best such organizations can do is to mentor the identified cases and train them to acquire good interpersonal skills.
Psychological guiding and counseling programs are also vital especially to extreme cases of persons with low interpersonal skills. Guiding and counseling programs are meant to assist an individual considered as a victim of a given behavior to reflect on the possible consequences of the behavior.
After reflecting on the consequence, the individual is expected to do soul searching and come up with possible ways through which he can avoid the consequences or creating the problem. In this case, it is the victim who makes a decision and not the counselor.
There are well established counselors who offer the counseling services and successfully manage to assist individuals to seek solutions to their psychological and emotional problem. The process of referring an employee identified as lacking in emotional intelligence should be done with tact so that such an employee does not feel intimidated.
The working environment should be conducive enough as to avoid eliciting a lot of stress from the workers. Stress as we have discussed hampers a person’s ability to apply emotional intelligence. If the work conditions put a lot of unnecessary demand to the workers, they are likely to react back without applying emotional intelligence. The attitude that the managers have towards the employees also determines how the employees behave towards them.
The first published materials about the subject emotional intelligence were launched into the market in the early 1990s (Salovey & Brackett 2004, p. 33). At this point, the business managers had a belief that success is determined by personal qualities. Such personal qualities focused on ones ability to establish and maintain a trusting relationship with the customers.
The personnel working in sensitive work environment such as manufacturing human and animal drugs and food need to have a high emotional intelligence. This is because the products manufactured in such companies or organizations are consumed directly by human beings or animals. Incase the people handling such products at preparation or packaging point do not have proper emotional intelligence, they can cause a widespread negative impact on the lives of the consumers by poisoning.
Such a typical example is the Tylenol crisis in which an unidentified criminal poisoned the pain relieving capsules with cyanide causing the death of about seven people in Chicago (Cherniss & Adler 2000, p. 1). This crisis caused the company much of its market after its reputation was spoilt following the incidence.
The act was the first of its kind in the history of the company. Business leaders in the company had not anticipated such an action from the workers and did not understand how to handle it.
A series of meetings held in response to coin out a solution to the problem led to the following resolutions; that there was need to develop a statement of our own values, and the need to develop a testing mechanism for the managers of the organization. A lot of changes taking place in the market places such as innovation, globalization, and completion require that organizations endeavor to promote people with a high level of emotional intelligence (Cherniss & Adler 2000, p. 3).
Technical advances have been so rapid in the recent years which require that the workers have to keep upgrading their skills and knowledge so as to be at the same level with the changing technology. Organizations need to have programs that ensure smooth adjustment of the employees to adapt the new skills.
Most business managers now recognize to the fact that success at work places is not just about ones cognitive abilities. In the early years, the American business leaders emphasized simply the individuals’ cognitive abilities in recruiting employees. The testing tools used for recruitment included; the scholastic aptitude test and the graduate management admission test (Salovey & Brackett 2004, p.9). It has since been realized that technical and cognitive skills alone do not qualify a successful employee.
One needs to be equipped by emotional intelligence as well. Learning institutions, even those recognized for producing the finest MBA students do not have programs that enhance their students’ emotional intelligence. They instead believe that emotional intelligence is inculcated in individuals when they are still young. The problem with this has been passing to industries employees who do not have well developed emotional intelligence.
Cherniss and Adler (2000, p. 7) point out that the human brain remains plastic and capable of making new connections with new experiences and requirements on it. This means that there is no limit to the age of learning emotional intelligence. It is not a factor that is inherited but can be learned irrespective of age. The increasing global market brings to companies and organization a variety of customers who demand more of emotional intelligence on those who serve them.
Changing a persons behavior and habits is not easy as pointed out by Cherniss and Adler (2000, p. 8) in their research. The two psychologists allude that behavior and habit change, is hard because the human brain adapts by default to the option of dealing without thought and feelings. It is important for organizations to develop and train their staff on emotional intelligence.
Considerations for creating opportunities of emotional intelligence at work places
This chapter focuses on the possible benefits that companies and organizations are bound to benefit from creating opportunities for emotional intelligence in work places. Business leaders have to understand the behavioral issues of the staff so as to be able to create better teams among the staff.
A staff that is well equipped with emotional intelligence can develop a good social relationship amongst themselves. Good social relationship among staff develops a good social capital. Emotional intelligence makes people to be able to control their emotions and develop ways of dealing with work related stress. It also improves the ability of the staff’s decision making skills especially when they are under pressure.
Besides, emotional intelligence also makes people to be able to adapt easily to the changes in the organization (Hughes & Bradford 2007, p. 57). Current market scenarios call for quick learning and adaptations to the recurrent changes in technology and other ways of transacting business.
Emotional intelligence among the staff enhances the building of a better working environment with. A harmonious and conducive working environment can only be developed by a staff that has learned and known how to apply human skills in terms of emotional intelligence. An energetic and listening team is significant for a business enterprise to succeed in its projects. Better leaders are developed by inculcating aspects of emotional intelligence in the staff on a long term basis (Hughes & Bradford 2007, p. 23).
Changes in the business market are so rampant and rapid and require an adaptive work force that is aware of emotional intelligence and how to apply it. Organizations that emphasize on emotional intelligence are more capable of succeeding in the economic meltdown, able to grow while those that emphasize on cognitive and technical skills only continue to downsize (Mersino 2007, p. 12).
Emotional intelligence in a business organization enables a staff to be able to understand the needs of the clients and be able to respond to them appropriately. Emotional intelligence is important during business negotiations, business is more about negotiations.
Subjects of negotiation in business enterprises include; salaries for employees, their welfare, prices for items between customers and suppliers as well as the workers unions. The business leaders involved in these negations must always maintain high levels of emotional balance during the negations. Lack of emotional intelligence during the negotiation process can easily result into a crisis and stall the negotiation.
Business leaders are constantly tasked with the burden of making decisions on behalf of the organizations board of management. The decisions made are always in favor of some programs that go along to affect some members of the organization positively or negatively. The demand of making such decisions constantly can cause fear and anxiety in the person making them (Salovey & Brackett 2004, p. 35). In our day to day business activities, we often fall short in our job requirements.
Whenever we fail to satisfy the customers’ needs, the customers and other business observers are bound to give their ratings and criticize the work and services we offer. Our response to the rating and critics we get from the people has to be well guarded by our emotional intelligence. If we do not apply emotional intelligence and respond inappropriately, then it is hard to realize our weakness and improve on them.
Learning emotional intelligence
As pointed out earlier, there is no well established curriculum that trains people on emotional intelligence. Not even the finest MBA courses have an aspect of training students on emotional intelligence. Consulting firms have identified this shortfall, and are currently utilizing the opportunity through seminars and workshops. There are different adverts framed with very attractive words on how the consultants can raise ones emotional intelligence in a single day.
Through the workshops and seminars, the consultants claim to make one emotionally competent through the programs they have design. Most of the programs are designed from a motivation point of view to challenge the listener by reflecting on a series of real life examples (Mersino 2007, p.8).
Research indicates that it is possible to help people irrespective of their age to learn emotional intelligence. There are two perspectives in learning emotional intelligence that have to be clearly distinguished for proper learning. The two perspectives are cognitive and emotional learning.
Scientists point out two distinct brain areas from which emotional and cognitive aspects are linked. The distinction is responsible for the interrelatedness between cognitive and emotional abilities in people. The cognitive part of the brain is linked to the cortex where as the emotional and social part of the brain is linked to the circuitry part of the brain (Cherniss & Adler 2000, p. 23).
Cognitive learning is more about fitting new information in already existing brain structures. On the other hand, emotional learning involves changing our habits such as the way we approach people, how we give others feedback and more. In order to achieve this, we need to change the ways we think and reason.
Emotional intelligence defines a person’s identity through actions and thought. Learning emotional intelligence involves discarding the old habits and adapting new ones; the process is not an easy one and is always met with resistance. It is a process that takes quite some time, the one day seminar as claimed by most of the consultants in this field is more unattainable.
Motivation marks the beginning point for the learning process of emotional intelligence. This sets the pace in the learning process and acts as an eye opener especially among the adults who have already learned hoe top relate with others. Before commissioning an emotional training process, the trainers need to carry out a needs assessment for the organization. In this process possible challenges to emotional learning among the members of the organization are identified.
Major challenges to conducting emotional intelligence learning in an organization are dealing with skeptical minds that can not associate the process to the desired results (Salovey & Brackett 2004, p. 51). Before the intended trainees establish a link between the training and the expected results, it is not possible for them to elicit the results.
After carrying out a needs assessment, the next most important aspect to consider is identification of important competencies that are needed for success. It should be noted that every organization has it different work requirements and when designing a training program for them, the focus should be specifically on the competencies required for the job. The training process must be tailored to the individual as well as the industry in which the person works for the person to be able to make a link.
It is important to establish the particular emotional competences that need to be focused on in order to be able to do a proper evaluation of the learning process. The most important competences as pointed out by Wall (2007, p. 56) include; self awareness, and interpersonal relations skills.
The next perspective to look at when preparing an emotional learning program is the assessment of the personal strengths as well as weakness that the people in the focus have. It is one thing that business leaders understand the difficult associated with leading particular groups.
Identifying the particular emotional intelligence aspects that they require to solve the problem is yet another problem. The learning program should be designed to enable the staff identify the emotional competences required of them to go about the problems they encounter while interacting with others.
Just like any learning process, an assessment tool and an enhanced way of providing feedback need to be devised so that the learners can be evaluated and given appropriate feedback. It is a bit trickier in giving back feedback on people’s achievement in learning emotional intelligence. Emotional competencies of a person reflect a person’s real identity as discussed earlier.
It also reflects the persons’ self esteem giving a feedback on these competencies is often responded to in a defensive manner (Mersino 2007, p. 253). A good relation ought to be established between the learner and the trainers so that the learner is able to trust the feedback given to them by the trainers.
If trust is established, learners are more likely to belief the feedback as accurate and work hard on attaining more positive results. Learners of emotional intelligence should be allowed enough time to reflect on the feedback as well as the possible consequences of the said feedback. They should further be assisted to adapt to the desired emotional competencies.
Studies on emotional intelligence have come up very recently and especially how to apply them in the business context. The old business leaders emphasized more on cognitive and technical skills at the expense of emotional intelligence. It has now been realized that high intellectual quotient capabilities must be complimented by emotional intelligence for proper performance at work place (Hughes & Bradford 2007, p. 69).
In this regard, there are tools that have been established to measure people’s emotional intelligence during recruitment processes. This is in the light of realizing the demanding work environment that the current global market presents to business leaders. The demand causes pressure which requires that we learn human skills to be able to interact well in the business and achieve our set goals
There are many benefits for business leaders who are emotionally intelligent. Emotional intelligence enables both business leaders and employees to be able to understand reasonably each others feelings. It is also important in conflict resolution process as well as negotiations.
Customer care personnel need to be well equipped with emotional intelligence because they interact quite often with customers. Sometimes customers have bitter complains about the organizations’ services or products. Attending to complaining customers requires a sober mind to tactfully convince the customer. The other business departments equally demand emotional intelligence just like customer care department.
Those with poor or low emotional intelligence should be assisted to learn emotional intelligence and be well equipped to interact socially. Contrary to the widely held perception, emotional intelligence can be learned at all ages provided only that the learner is given time and the trainers use well researched modes of content delivery. Good workers in organizations but who have low emotional intelligence should be assisted to develop emotional intelligence and offer the valuable manpower to the organization.
Cherniss, C. and Adler, M. (2000). Promoting Emotional Intelligence in Organizations. Alexandria: American Society for Training and Development.
Hughes, M. & Bradford, J. (2007). The Emotionally Intelligent Team: Understanding and Developing the Behaviors. San Francisco: Jossey Boss
Mersino, A. (2007). Emotional intelligence for project managers: the people skills you need to. New York: AMACOM.
Salovey, P. and Brackett, A. (2004). Emotional Intelligence: Key Readings on the Mayer and Salovey Model. New York: National Professional Resources Inc
Stough, C. and Saklofske, D. (2009). Assessing Emotional Intelligence: Theory, Research and Applications. New York: Springer
Wall, L. (2007). Coaching For Emotional: The Secret To Developing The Star. New York: AMACOM