Are we undermining Emotional Intelligence in the workplace?
The advent of Artificial Intelligence in many fields is forcing any professional to rethink where to invest their focus in terms of professional growth.
Many are the theories out in the net about what will happen when automation will hit or not a specific market and even more are the scenarios that are pictured if it will true that a lot of workers will be forced to adapt quickly to new rules and opportunities.I have personally looked a lot on the internet for answers and information regarding what will be probably the best bet about where to invest money for our professional growth even in the era of AI and I think there is a field that probably many are focusing on and for a good reason: emotional intelligence.
Where IQ stands for intelligent quotient and measures a person capacity for analytic thinking, EI, or emotional intelligence, is the measure of how much creativity and intuition power a person has. In the scenario of a super-fast automated software that can take the place of many workers, the only thing that software can still not learn and replicate so easily is the ability of humankind of perceiving emotions and work with intuition and creativity.
During my research I was able to understand that emotional intelligence has three main points:
- Social Awareness
The first one, self-awareness, is really the foundation of what we know as emotional intelligence. The other two points depends on how much a person has developed its self-awareness skill. Self-awareness is the ability of a person of being able to feel its own feelings and understand why it is feeling them. People that are strong in self-awareness are showing a better control of their feelings and other people’s feelings. They know why some people irritate them and when, resulting in better vendors, managers and overall team members. I like to think that each of us has a small river that symbolize our own emotional status, and each reaction to situations and people create a ripple that propagates in that river. Improving our self-awareness will make us faster to recognize those ripples and easier will be to manage them, before the ripple becomes a big wave in our river (something harder to deal with). Emotional intelligence skills can be improved, as many other skills, and in case of self-awareness we need to:
- Not avoid our feelings
- Learn to recognize your feelings
- Know which type of people usually touches your nerves
- Look at yourself in third prospective
- Write down your feelings
Once we have understood what self-awareness is, it comes naturally to talk about self-management. Self-awareness makes us good in recognizing our own feelings but it’s self-management that tells us how to deal with those feelings. If we mentally go back to the metaphor of the river, self-management tells us how to deal with those moments when our emotional river is rough, by containing those emotions we can make sure that those feelings will not affect other important parts of our life. In the work place people that are strong in self-management don’t let their feelings influence negatively their day to day behavior, they know that they must postpone what they want for what is really required from them in that specific moment. Leaders that are good in self-management can address the issues without being affected by the heat of the moment, their communication is direct, but they never get their emotion govern them. They govern their emotions.
To improve self-management, we need to:
- Breathe, before answering
- Think it’s not personal, you are representing your company
- Respond, don’t react
- Ask yourself if you would like to hear your answer/reaction?
- Write a daily diary of your feelings/reactions
The last point is about Social Awareness. We live and work in a social structure and this skill is directly affecting how we relate in our social environment. Empathy is the ability to sense other people’s feelings and to relate better to their emotional status. Social-awareness is all about reading those hints from others and reacting correctly to it. People that are strong in social-awareness can relate easily to people around them, that is in the work place or in any other social scenario. Workers and leaders that are good in social-awareness demonstrate a better understanding of their peers and they build solid and real connections thanks to their higher understanding their surroundings. The senses that are mostly engaged while being social-aware are sight and hearing. To be able to observe and listen actively we need to stop talking, doing monologues, anticipating the other person point, and already thinking about what we are going to answer next.
Like when we want to reach different destinations, we need to walk a different path to be a unique worker we need to experiment a different growth path. The lesson learned while researching about emotional intelligence is that we need both technical skills and emotional intelligence skills in any work-related environment. Emotional intelligence lets you understand yourself and other people better. A fusion of emotional intelligence and job-related skills will make you a well-balanced professional and person.