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Emotional Intelligence: The WHAT, WHY and HOW

According to Human Resources Today, it is oftentimes highly challenging to fully comprehend the cause and impact of emotions. As such, researchers worldwide are increasingly recognizing and emphasising the important role emotions play within the employer-employee relationship and overall work performance. In turn, the concept of Emotional Intelligence (EI), also referred to as EQ, has become significantly important and valuable.

When defined by Peter Salovey and Johan Mayer, EI refers to one’s ability to understand and monitor one’s own and others’ feelings and emotions, to discriminate among these feelings and emotions, and ultimately use the information to guide one’s thoughts and actions. With reference to one of the most well-established EI models, EI is defined as containing four distinct branches:

(1) Perceiving emotions: The ability to recognise what oneself and other individuals are feeling.
(2) Understanding emotions: The ability to have a strong understanding and comprehension of complex emotions and how such emotions may change.
(3) Using emotions: The ability to use emotions in thinking, decision-making and problem-solving.
(4) Managing emotions: The ability to integrate emotional information into oneself and others, for the purpose of establishing strategies that lead to positive outcomes.

Today, across all areas of life, EI is regarded as being significantly useful, with the workplace being no exception. As stated by Human Resources Today, studies have indicated that more than 95% of HR Managers and 99% of employees, strongly believe in the importance of EI in the workplace. In addition, more than 1 in 5 employees have indicated that EI in the workplace is more valuable than IQ. Herewith, Business News Daily stated that when determining who will be a top workplace performer, EI counts for twice as much as IQ and technical skills combined.

Human Resources Today further states that EI in the workplace can strongly assist in collaborating with others, understanding the feelings and emotions of others as well as impacting how one influences and inspires others. Strong correlations have also been found by researchers between EI and important organisational behaviours, some of which include job performance, commitment, job attitudes, stress, teamwork, well-being and leadership. It has also been found that high levels of EI increase and positively impact the quality of interpersonal relationships, enhance decision-making and improve the experience of high levels of pressure, conflict and stress.

Consequently, according to The HR Digest and Human Resources Today, when seeking top performers and effective leaders, one should start by looking at the availability of EI in candidates and among leaders / potential leaders. By placing an emphasis on EI during a Recruitment and Selection process, candidates can be identified who are open, engaging and transparent. By ensuring the availability of EI in newly appointed employees, strong and functioning teams can be developed, and ultimately, increased levels of performance can be obtained.

According to The HR Digest, EI allows leaders to empathise with others. This provides leaders with the ability to understand what employees are going through and what their needs are. In addition, empathy in leaders allows for improved connections to be developed which may, in turn, enhance the productivity levels of employees. Furthermore, EI in leadership enhances the ability to collaborate and create trust among team members, as well as assists leaders in being better equipped to handle challenging situations and relationships.

At Joubert and Associates, we are committed to supporting organisations and groups in the pursuit of determining the availability of EI in future candidates and increasing the levels of EI in the workplace. Through the sharing of specialist knowledge and skills, we assist in the assessment of EI through relevant psychometric assessments and the development of tailored programmes and initiatives aimed at identifying and improving EI within employees and leaders.


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