The foreman of a construction crew buys everyone coffee on Monday mornings. An art director in a marketing firm asks an employee on the graphic design team about their mother’s health. The CEO of a company stops by the IT office to wish a staff member a happy birthday. Some people possess an almost innate knack for social and emotional intelligence. These seemingly small gestures typically motivate people around them to go the extra mile.
But the next generation of industry leaders may not necessarily develop emotional intelligence skills naturally. Millennials grew up with increased technology reliance and fewer person-to-person interactions. The role modeling and mentoring experiences of Baby Boomers have, to some degree, been less prevalent in the lives of the next generation of business leaders. These are reasons why it’s critical to recognize the importance of building emotional intelligence skills and how it is closely tied to further developing leadership skills.
How to Develop Emotional Intelligence
It’s essential to understand that emotional intelligence is not a new concept. The previous examples highlight the fact it has been a vital leadership trait for, perhaps, all of time. But an increased number of academics and business publications focus on it because it seems to be slipping away. This is mainly due to the rise in communication through technologies such as video conferencing, text messaging, messaging tools like Slack and Microsoft Teams, in conjunction with other sterile practices.
For example, Inc. Magazine published an emotional intelligence article based on the Navy SEAL Creed, that states “The ability to control my emotions and actions sets me apart from other men.” The piece points out that the Seal Creed relies on the following principles to develop emotional intelligence and leverage it.
- Self-Assessment: By reflecting on how emotions affect you, they can be understood in the context of how they impact others.
- Self-Regulation: Commonly referred to as “discipline,” understanding emotions provides an opportunity to redirect negative ones. It also presents an opportunity to put positive emotions to work.
- Empathy and Compassion: Understanding how others would feel allows you to make emotionally intelligent decisions and take proactive steps.
- Relationship Management: Self-awareness and an understanding of how others feel open the door to knowing how to make gestures and connect with team members.
The average person spends upwards of 12 hours daily using some form of technology. Substantial screen-time inherently reduces in-person connectivity and opportunities for emotional learning. It’s not that the next generation of industry leaders are somehow callous or socially less-competent. The issue is that they have been hamstrung from this way of critical thinking. At its core, emotional intelligence is the process of identifying and managing your emotions along with those of others. It’s a learned behavior that requires exposure and repetition.
Benefits of Practicing Emotional Intelligence in the Workplace
The modern workplace has evolved substantially from what it once was. Previously, the workplace was driven by the needs of employers and how employees could assist in accomplishing the needs communicated by their employer. However, there has been a shift to focusing on the experience of employees within the workplace which is done through displaying emotional intelligence in interactions between employer and employee. To compete in the modern workplace environment, organizations must demonstrate to their employees that they genuinely care about them as people and about their well-being. Additionally, they must show their support to employees regarding their work tasks.
The practice of emotional intelligence by company leaders pointed to tremendous personal and corporate benefits. According to the study, when employers make workers feel cared for, the following occurs.
- Retention: Upwards of 60 percent of employees anticipate staying with the organization for three years or longer. Only 7 percent who don’t feel cared for expect to stay at least three years.
- Image: Approximately 90 percent project a positive impression about the company and would recommend it to top industry talents. Only 9 percent who don’t feel cared for would do the same.
- Productivity: Only 44 percent of employees who feel care say they experience work-related burnout. By contrast, 84 percent who do not feel the company cares experience burnout.
The notion that professionals should somehow present themselves as stoic and cold is not outdated. It never worked. In addition to the basic needs of humans, higher needs come into play both in society and in the workplace. These involve a sense of belonging, self-esteem, and self-actualization. When next-generation industry leaders learn how to effectively connect with members of the workforce on an emotional level, everyone’s needs can be met. Prometis Partners can help you make the changes necessary to ensure your organization’s next generation of leaders have developed the emotional intelligence skills they will need down the line. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you and your organization.