There will be times when the biggest challenge is keeping your employees happily-engaged in the workplace. Misunderstandings can easily arise between colleagues, even when they are sitting right across from each other. Maintaining optimal communication within an organisation is often a manager’s primary task. Often the conflict arises when one is insistent on sticking to their particular point-of-view or perspective without considering the other individual’s opinion. Emotional intelligence (EI) can resolve most problems that occur in a workplace setting. In a list compiled by the World Economic Forum (WEF), emotional intelligence ranked sixth out of the top ten skills necessary to thrive in the future workplace.

Factoring In Feelings

Extra sprinkles on a dessert, a voucher for free car repair services, or a complimentary manicure session – all of these can lead to enhanced customer experience as well as a smiling customer. When an organisation is unable to deliver an optimal customer experience, the culprit may be a team with an untapped or out-of-sync collective emotional intelligence. Emotional intelligence (EI) can be defined as the capacity of an individual to understand and manage emotions. The impact of a team’s collective emotional intelligence on the customer experience is worth a closer look. On-the-job performance can suffer a significant blow if an employee feels that their colleague is not taking them seriously. Whether they feel patronised, ignored, or dismissed, this negative feeling can demotivate them and hamper their day-to-day work. Rather than holding on to a misunderstanding or nursing resentment, an emotionally-intelligent supervisor will invite all relevant employees to engage in dialogue. But, what can be done to avoid a conflict in the first place? Organisations can choose to invest in emotional intelligence-building training sessions for their entire staff. Not only will the participants gain greater emotional awareness from the sessions, but they will also learn how to better navigate both their professional and personal lives.

Emotional Intelligence In Action

Emotional intelligence comprises of the following five skills:

  • Empathy: An empathetic individual possesses the ability to understand other people as well as their feelings. Empathetic employees are better able to connect with other people compared to those functioning on assumptions or outdated data. They can clearly perceive what motivates another individual, whether they are a colleague or a customer.
  • Self-awareness: A self-aware individual can clearly gauge where they bring value and in which areas they have a void. Not only that, they can identify their emotions as well as their possible impact on the organisation and its customers.
  • Social Skills: An individual with social skills has the ability to build and maintain good relationships. This includes all types of communication: spoken, written and listening skills. Social skills enable employees to sustain positive relationships within the company as well as with the customers.
  • Motivation: Individuals who are driven to pursue goals for their own growth will probably have higher-than-average emotional intelligence. They look beyond external awards, like money, status, or fame, to achieve a personal “best”.
  • Self-regulation: Self-regulation refers to the ability to manage one’s emotions rather than immediately acting on them. An individual who can self-regulate knows how to deal with difficult situations. They also know how to use rational thinking to arrive at a solution.

Nowadays, employers are likely to give equal importance to a prospective employee’s emotional intelligence as well as their formal academic qualifications.

Working Better, Together

Let’s suppose your department is faced with internal customer service issues and a decision needs to be made immediately. No matter how much experience you possess, it is necessary to get all the relevant team members on board before finalising a plan of action. An emotionally-intelligent professional will be able to consider the team’s best interests while controlling their own reaction. According to leadership and organisational expert Gary Yukl,  a self-aware individual is better equipped to interpret their own needs and possible reactions if a particular event takes place. This self-awareness also encourages them to seek out alternative solutions. Within a team, emotional intelligence makes the members consistent in their behaviour. This consistency leads to dependability and reliability – some of the building blocks of a successful team. Emotionally-intelligent employees can also develop and maintain healthier relationships with their colleagues as well as their customers.

As a supervisor, one can take advantage of emotional intelligence tests to gauge the strengths and weaknesses of individual employees. In addition to the self-assessment, team-building activities and training workshops can also enhance the team’s existing customer service skillsSuch bespoke training sessions can help employees recognise their true capabilities and encourage stronger bonds between the team members.