Create a Culture that Fosters Emotional Intelligence

Are you responsible for hiring or leading a group of employees? Do you know about the value of what some call “emotional intelligence” or soft skills? Do you know how to foster emotional intelligence amongst your employees?

There is a difference between an employee being a nice person and being valuable to your business. You can train an employee to complete a task, but if you can engage his or her soft skills, you will maximize their value to your organization.

What Does Emotional Intelligence Look Like?

Employees who exhibit emotional intelligence have likely had broad experience. These individuals seem to know how to navigate complicated situations and can get along well with customers and other employees. They are an asset to your company.

Emotionally intelligent individuals are self-aware. They know how their words or actions affect their job and other people. They are empathetic and good listeners. They not only listen, but they also take appropriate action.

Emotionally intelligent employees are careful about not becoming caught up in gossip, spending company time on their cell phones, or playing online games at work. They are engaged in their work and are less inclined to overreact to adverse events. Simply put, they are responsible individuals and know how to move on from stressful situations.

But every employee starts somewhere, and if you can’t hire someone with top emotional intelligence skills, you may be able to foster and grow them in whomever you hire.

Emotional Intelligence and Personality Style

Most individuals are a product of their genetics and upbringing combined with their education and experience. In a day of interviewing, you may cross paths with an extrovert with few verbal filters and an introvert afraid to talk. You may find someone who lacks empathy and another who winces at the thought of killing a spider. Only you can decide what personality styles you want on your team. To find out what lies beneath an applicant’s personality, you’ll need to ask good interview questions that show how they think.

Some individuals are more sensitive than others are, and that is not likely to change. However, don’t look down on a person’s sensitivity. It may be just what you need to bring balance to your organization.

The same rule applies to introverts and extroverts. You may be put off by the quiet nature of Introverts, but their deep thinking allows them to see angles extroverts may miss.

Extroverts are your offensive players. They go out and score points in a more straightforward fashion than some introverts might. Extroverts may fill some spots well but may need to become more empathetic, patient listeners.

Introverts may work well behind the scenes. Extroverts may crave out-in-front attention. Though different, they can still work on a team together. What’s important is not necessarily how they do the job, but that they achieve the right results. All the personalities can work together to meet common goals.

Cultivate Greater Emotional Intelligence

The goal of the manager is to organize a team with the right mix of candidates that show potential and then build on that potential.

A manager can help employees become their best self with clearly set expectations. Employees usually do better work knowing what is expected and by receiving recognition for rising to the challenge. Recognizing your employees’ soft skills in use will help them improve and ultimately create the kind of culture that works.

Your employees will know you believe in them when they feel supported. Be a good role model. Ask for your employees’ input, and help them be well prepared for a variety of situations. Allow times for debriefing, sharing ideas, and offering feedback. Compliment often, and always sandwich correction between two positives.

No One is Perfect

Even the best employees are prone to fail occasionally. A stressful situation can throw anyone off his or her game. It’s important not to read too much into what might be a one-time event when an employee slips up. Mistakes, blunders, or accidents can be valuable watershed moments when lessons are learned. Developing emotional intelligence can take years for some individuals.

Be patient and be a good role model invoking your own emotional intelligence as you manage your business. Your organization is sure to become more productive with the right core of employees who have their soft skills appreciated and applauded.