Emotional intelligence can bring greater success on the job
One of the lessons that I learned early on in my career was that everything was not a personal attack on me or my performance. In fact, my mentors needed to really assist me in digging deeper into myself to understand the genesis of what I was feeling and why I was feeling that way. I needed to understand my Emotional Intelligence, or Emotional Quotient (EQ).
EQ is a person’s ability to understand his or her own emotions and those of others, and act appropriately using those emotions. Think of it as your emotional IQ.
The real relevance of EQ comes when workplaces encourage employees to leave their personality, passion, enthusiasm and creativity at the door and become someone else when they get to work. “How much or how little of the real me can I bring into the workplace?”
Does it really matter if a person can bring their “whole self” to work? Studies have shown that businesses that will succeed in the 21st century will be the ones that allow employees to bring the whole of their intelligence into the work force – their emotional and intellectual self. Not only does this impact morale, but productivity increases, too.
At Sodexo, employees are encouraged to bring their whole self to work – meaning they bring their cultural and unique characteristics into an environment that is diverse and welcomes each person’s individuality. It’s just one of the many reasons why I am excited about working here. Everyone is different and we embrace those differences. But, when we add EQ to this diverse and inclusive environment, employees are able to engage with each other in ways that lead to even more collaboration and creative solutions.
So, how can you get in touch with your emotions in your workplace? Here are some tips:
- Become aware of your emotions
First, it’s important to know there are no bad emotions. The key is to be able to identify your emotions. Knowing the range of your emotions and understanding events that trigger them can help you manage your behavior, become a more effective employee and benefit your company. For example, does working with numbers make you anxious and therefore cause you to avoid number-related tasks? If so, you may want to brush up on those skills so that numbers become easy. Do you have trouble beginning difficult conversations? If so, you may want to take a class on navigating difficult conversations so that you can conquer the emotions that prevent you from successful communication. Do not allow yourself to run from things that trigger difficult emotions.
- Become an owner of your emotions
Too often we blame others for what we feel instead of owning the emotions. When we own our emotions, we develop a maintenance plan to ensure that the upkeep is good, that we continue to exhibit appropriate emotions. However, sometimes we allow situations to take control of our emotions. For example, one of the big ones that I hear from students is that they did not like the way that a manager spoke with them; the emotions they felt in that moment reminded them of a time when their parents yelled at them. In that situation, old feelings came up and they discovered that they never dealt with certain emotions as a child. When faced with similar experiences, it’s important to own your emotions so that you’re responding to the issue at hand and not a completely different situation.
- Be mindful of others
Anytime you’re dealings involve others, either on a date, at a job, a group event or even when talking with a family member, remember to always consider what others are going through before you jump the gun and exhibit your emotions. Remember, we all have bad days. If you get a glimpse of what is going on in their world, you will have a clearer understanding of how to communicate with them.
We all can be great managers, leaders, friends and students if we are allowed to bring our whole self to the workplace. Our emotional intelligence can speak to the success that we will bring for ourselves and our companies. For me, learning to understand the importance of emotional intelligence in the workplace has helped me grow as an individual and an employee. Perhaps it can provide similar benefits to you?
Derren is the Manager, Diversity Recruiting for Sodexo which is a leader in integrated food service and facilities management. He is responsible for managing the Sodexo Future Leaders Internship Program as well as executing diversity sourcing initiatives for both campus and targeted experienced hires. With over 14+ years of experience with Sodexo, Derren has had great success as a General Manager in the company’s Health Care Services division as well as in several positions within their Talent Acquisition Group. He’s an active corporate partner with the National Society of Minorities in Hospitality (NSMH). Derren is an AIRS Certified Diversity Recruiter (CDR) and Certified Internet Recruiter (CIR).