Emotional intelligence, also often referred to as EQ or emotional quotient, is having the ability to manage and use emotions in a healthy manner. The term was first coined in 1990 by psychology professors John Mayer of UNH and Peter Salovey of Yale, in a research paper. In 1995 psychologist David Goleman proposed that EQ is just as important as IQ for success in all spheres of life, including academic, professional, social, and interpersonal. He created a framework of five key components that make up emotional intelligence, namely: self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy, and social skills, and suggested that EQ is a skill that can be learnt and developed.
With an average 40 hour working week, whether from home or on-site, there is no doubt that humans spend a large chunk of their lives at work communicating and dealing with other people – colleagues, employees, managers, and customers. Psychologist and Director of People at ENCONA, Kirstin Liss, says a lack of emotional intelligence in leaders as well as in employees can, and often does, negatively affect businesses. “Leaders influence and their emotional response, which leads to a behavior, provides a foundation for others to learn from and behave in the workplace. If leaders don’t exercise EQ, employees may experience high levels of anxiety and stress, become fearful, disrespectful, demotivated, disengaged, and unproductive, and in some situations, resign. Our anxious emotions are so caught up in prioritizing deadlines and crises that we put little effort into engaging with our subordinates to have meaningful conversations – all part of EQ, which can have a profound effect on others.” said Liss, who has worked as a registered counsellor for 11 years and has two decades of experience in the talent management field.
As the world has learnt to become more aware of mental health and wellbeing, particularly over the past few years dealing with a pandemic, Liss says EQ has gained more attention, though it is still not always taken seriously. “Covid-19 has shown us how important mental health is. Both individuals and companies are investing in a better wellbeing framework, but often don’t realize the impact EQ has on wellbeing. Many organizations don’t understand the return on investment in EQ and cut their training budgets to only afford compliance, procedure, and product knowledge. The need for EQ is starting to change, more so at the upper level of management, however, all employees should embark on an emotional intelligence journey for a real transformational experience in an organization.” said Liss.
In an attempt to help develop the EQ of employees and leaders, Liss has recently created an online emotional intelligence course. She also advocates for EQ assessments during a company’s hiring process and EQ skills development training when teams may be underperforming, where there are conflicts, high rates of absenteeism or when companies are going through big changes.
She designed her course after realizing that many people do not always feel in control or accountable for their behavior. “I realized it didn’t matter what salary you were on, level you were at, job you were doing, or company you were working at, people often complained that they can’t cope with the continuous challenges experienced. Moving on, or out, was always the emotional response to make things better. Emotions and thoughts interact with one. For instance, you are experiencing a bad day at work, all is going wrong… you can either choose to respond by crying and falling apart, feeling completely powerless, or you can work through the issues systematically, partnering with others in an effective manner by realizing what you are in control of. Yes, you can get upset or angry, frustrated or sad, but the thoughts you apply to manage those emotions matter. Emotions are part of how humans function and are intrinsic to every organizational setting, so they have an impact on performance and functioning.”
Using scientific education, research, and experience, this six-module, self-paced online course allows individuals to learn through reflection and practical application. “I wanted to share with the world how they can master their own emotions for their success. Through the course you will be exploring your EQ through the rabbit hole, participating in case studies, and performing self-based assessments through interactive videos and readings. Developing self-awareness and identifying areas that impact your work, relationships, and the self, will help to enrich your life with many constructive outcomes, including your wellbeing”.
ENCONA is a global training and consulting firm, primarily in the automotive sector. They offer a variety of courses and workshops, including the emotional intelligence in leadership online course.