6 Ways to Build Emotional Intelligence in the Workplace

Research suggests that emotional intelligence is responsible for as much as 80 percent of our success. But emotional intelligence is more than being nice to people. It’s about using emotions as the source of information to decide what actions to take.  In today’s episode of “The World Class Leaders Show”, we welcome Alison Coates to discuss how to apply the principles of emotional intelligence in the workplace. Alison is a certified Emotional Intelligence Practitioner and a qualified Industrial Psychologist, Programme and Project Manager. She specializes in the assessment and development of emotional intelligence within teams. 

The six competencies to build emotional intelligence

There are different models you can use to apply emotional intelligence principles. Today we present the GENOS model and the six key competencies: 1 – Self-awareness  Building your emotional awareness is very important. But awareness is more than that. It’s awareness of your: 
  • own strengths and blind spots
  • cognitive bias
  • behaviours that you impose on other people
People with self awareness know how to answer to these questions: How aware are you of your emotions on a day to day basis? If I had to ask you 24 hours ago, this time yesterday? Can you remember how you were feeling? But it’s not just about you. 2 – Awareness of others Then, you have to shift your focus from self to others.  How other people showing up? Are you aware of the emotions that they were demonstrating in a meeting? Are you aware of other people’s strengths and blind spots?  “When we lack awareness of self, we can be rudderless, like a boat without a rudder. When we lack awareness of others, we can often be clueless, because we say things that are out of turn, we behave inappropriately in company.” Finally, there is the awareness of your organisation. When this is not in place, you can often be blindsided and struggle to anticipate what’s happening.   In the organization, there are two issues that arise that might prevent self-awareness from happening:
  1. People don’t open up to others. Either becuase they are introverts or because they don’t feel safe to share. For this reason, you have to focus on building trust within your teams first
  2. Many teams don’t spend enough time in reflection. This is why both Alison and I are advocates for more lesson learned reviews. What went well? What we could have doen differently? How did we feel about it? How do you think the client felt? Our recommendation is to do it frequently and turn these practices into routines.
”Normalize the conversation of emotions around the boardroom” 3 – Authenticity  If you want to drive innovation and curiosity in the organisation, you have to start from encouraging authentic conversations in your teams.  Authentic individuals are those who strive to align their actions with their core values an and beliefs. In other words, they show consistently their true selves.  Authenticity is about openly and effectively expressing yourself, honouring commitments and encouraging this behaviour in others. Authentic individuals don’t have issues in sharing their feelings at work, providing feedback to colleagues about the way they feel. People with high authenticity are often described more genuine and trustworthy. 4 – Expansive Reasoning  Then, you have encourage expansive reasoning which is critical for decision making and problem solving. This is the ability to take on board all of the information available to you. Not just the data but also the emotions in the room and your own emotions. Expansive reasoning is even more critical when you’re triggered into a unproductive emotion into a strong, negative way of thinking. And when that happens, you are consistently in strong and unproductive emotional states, you feel stressed and overwhelmed, distracted. With expansive reasoning, you become able to move yourself into a state of calm and think more creatively and expansively. In that state, you communicate with others better too. You follow instructions far better. You are more goal oriented.  5- Self-management  When you are able to manage Self, you are far more resilient. On the other hand, when you struggle with managing self, you become a more temperamental.  Self management leads to resilience which is about being able to recognise when you need to pause, adjust and be agile, and move forward with a new mindset.  Resilience is also critical to take your teams on the journey with you. The team need to be motivated and inspired to take the next step, despite the hardships and the challenges and, and the adversity that they might be experiencing in the workplace.  This leads us to the final competency. 6- Inspire performance Emotions are contagious.  “You can either be the breath of fresh air in the room, or you could be the person who pulls all the all of the out of the room.” You, as a leader, are the message. People are watching you and see how you react to things. When you have positive emotions, they become happier, more engaged, more committed. People try new things, are more innovative, creative and enjoy collaboration. On the other hand, when you’re tired or stressed, they feel stressed too and fear kicks in. For this reason, it’s important to be vulnerable and open up your own emotions, even when you have a bad day. Be open, because transparency builds more trust. How you show up determines not only your success, but the success of your teams too.

Final considerations

Learn to be curious, ask lots of questions. Be curious enough to understand that every day is an opportunity to learn something new, you don’t know all the answers, and that’s okay.  Support your teams in building the awareness of self. It takes time to have these conversations with your team so don’t expect change will happen overnight.  Finally, offer an emotional intelligence assessment to your team. By doing so, you can measure the individual EI competencies and build a tailored development plan for each individual.  Before the conversation ended, I asked Alison the traditional closing questions:  What is the number one thing you’ve learnt in your career?  To relax and have fun. I was very much career driven and I took my career seriously. So, I didn’t allow myself to fail. When I did make mistakes, it was as if it was the end of the world. Instead of letting myself learn from the situation.   What is one thing you might have done differently in your career? When I went to study there was very little information surrounding what we now know on Emotional Intelligence. Without a doubt I would have studied neuroscience It fascinates me.  If you think about your best performance ever, what was in place at the time to allow you actually to get the level of result?  This will go back to my management consulting days. I immediately think about what success looked like for me in that time. We had huge clarity around how to meet our individual performance objectives, because the consultancy that I worked for spent a lot of time clarifying that for us. There was clarity surrounding what I needed to do which I found important. Secondly, a great team of people supporting me in being able to achieve that, not only on the client side, because the client was also very aware of collective objectives. My manager was massively supportive of me being able to achieve those objectives. I had somebody that I could go to for having vulnerable and authentic conversations. What is your favorite business book? High Performance habits” by Brendon Burchard. What I love about Brandon’s book is his focus on asking questions: How can I be more confidence? How can I bring more confidence to this experience? How can I bring more authenticity, resilience? Really powerful question to ask and it is a great book for anyone to read. An EI book that I recommend is “ The Buying Brain: Secrets for Selling to the Subconscious Mind by A.K Pradeep.” It speaks to understanding the brain to help people take the next step. It is from a sales perspective but can be used in a leadership capacity for you’re your team. To connect with Alison please visit: Website: https://www.revoconsultant.com Instagram https://www.instagram.com/revoconsultant/ Linked In www.linkedin.com/in/alisonjcoates If you would like to get more information about Andrea’s work, go to: www.andreapetrone.com   Subscribe to the weekly insight via email at: https://www.andreapetrone.com/insight/   To connect with Andrea on Social Media: LinkedIn – https://www.linkedin.com/in/andreapetrone/  Twitter – https://twitter.com/ie_andrea  Listen to the podcast linked to this article: https://www.andreapetrone.com/6-ways-to-build-emotional-intelligence-in-the-workplace/  
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