Everyone talks about IQ, but there is another type of intelligence, equally important because of its enormous impact on our well-being and our decisions: emotional intelligence.
First theorized in 1990 by Daniel Goleman, IE can make a difference in the workplace, decisively influencing people’s wellbeing, their interactions and therefore productivity and the corporate climate.
Emotional intelligence, in short, is the ability to recognize and manage one’s emotions, especially in relation to the intention to achieve a certain goal.
Basically it is the ability to manage emotions in one’s favor, in accordance with the goals we have set for ourselves. In negative terms, it is the ability to prevent out-of-control emotions from driving us to act in a compulsive and potentially harmful and counterproductive way.
The importance of this aspect is linked to the fact that substantially most human behaviors are dictated more by emotional thrust than by reasoning: each of us in fact acts in one way rather than another on the basis of the emotions that he intends to reach or avoid and this happens more or less unconsciously.
Emotional intelligence allows us to act so that emotions lead us to take beneficial actions towards ourselves, others and the company.
In practice it is a sort of “superpower” that can help us on the one hand to have more motivation and strength in carrying out actions that lead to beneficial effects, on the other hand to ensure that the emotions we consider negative do not push us to harm ourselves and others with inappropriate and ineffective behavior.
But how to implement emotional intelligence in people in the workplace?
Emotional education, as you can imagine, is a slow and gradual process, which can be implemented by following specific more or less in-depth training. However, there are some basic principles that can be applied right away, let’s see some of them together.
The first step to increasing your emotional intelligence is to be aware of your emotions. Without changing them, without judging them, without trying to control them. Simply by learning to promptly answer the question: “How do I feel now?”.
As useless as it may seem, this is already a fundamental step, because awareness alone will lead us unconsciously to act differently. For example, if I realize that I am angry, I could be pushed not to act compulsively, simply by the fact that I recognize in myself, at that precise moment, an emotion that is potentially harmful to me and to others.
We listen to the body
The mind-body connection is extremely powerful. According to many awareness practices, recognizing an emotion in the body (where it is located, what effect it produces on a physical level) is a fundamental step in developing self-awareness.
Furthermore, it is possible to intervene on an emotion not on a mental level (which usually only makes things worse), but on a physical level. You can try it yourself: the next time you feel an emotion make you uncomfortable, simply try to take a moment for yourself and, calmly, locate it in the body where you perceive it. You will likely feel that part of your body (usually the belly, diaphragm or chest) is contracted and stiff. Just try to breathe and relax that point where you feel the contraction. Take your time and you will notice that when the body part relaxes, your thoughts and mood also change. Seeing is believing!
Do not judge
Often it is not the emotion itself that causes us discomfort, but the interpretation and judgment we give to the emotion itself. So try to eliminate the judgment of the sensation that passes through you. If you are sad, for example, do not try NOT to feel sad, but simply associate that emotion with a physical sensation, without giving it any label. Maybe instead of thinking “I’m sad” try saying “I feel a sense of oppression in the chest”, without associating that feeling with a negative judgment.
Also in this case you might notice how something that you were trying to drive away is now being accepted and this favors the natural physiological course of emotion, because every emotion exactly as it arrived is destined to go away. The more we reject and judge an emotion the more it will persist in us, creating problems for us.
Finally, the most important aspect: emotional intelligence is contagious! In fact, working on oneself will also have a positive effect on the people around us. For this reason, rather than “teaching” emotional intelligence, it is more important to cultivate it within oneself. A manager who develops these skills will in fact induce the people around him to assume different behaviors and a greater awareness of their emotions, with enormous positive effects on the company system.