Emotional intelligence has quickly risen in popularity as more and more organizations recognize its importance. With value in employee retention, job satisfaction, collaboration, and conflict resolution, emotional intelligence plays into nearly every part of the modern workforce.
But it’s difficult to test for, with the four recognized aspects of self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, and relationship management being vastly different from scorable skills such as math and software engineering.
Emotional intelligence training helps to bridge those gaps, fostering needed skills in existing employees, improving them in new hires, and ensuring everyone is on the same page and using relatively the same styles of communication and emotional understanding.
Work is about people and interactions, and training people to navigate those interactions will improve their ability to work, manage stress, manage people, and improve their private and personal lives.
Testing for EI
Most people will have a range of emotional intelligence skills and will be strong in some and weak in others. Conducting testing will help you identify weak spots so that you can react accordingly. MSCEIT, EQ-I 2.0, ESCI, and Genos are among the most common emotional intelligence tests, each with its own pros and cons.
For example, MSCEIT tests for abilities, EQ-I tests for personality traits, ESCI tests for competency, and Genos tests for Genos.
Introducing Emotional Intelligence
Most people are already somewhat aware of emotional intelligence, with some studies suggesting that 80% of Millennial employees consider it to be important.
However, you can work to introduce EI in several ways. Books such as Working with Emotional Intelligence by Daniel Goleman and The Emotional Intelligence Quick Book are both easy and accessible options.
You can also recommend articles, talks, and even discuss core principles with managers, who can push those concepts to their teams.
Investing in workshops and training programs is the most efficient way to push emotional intelligence but will require a higher investment.
Push for Social Responsibility
One of the easiest ways to create a sense of emotional intelligence is to push for social awareness. Social responsibility, including volunteering, creating positive changes, donating to charities, and helping out others is one of the easiest ways to get others to feel empathy.
Here, exercises such as having teams volunteer for a charity, creating opportunities for teams to take on each other’s work, creating processes that support teams sharing responsibility and work, and otherwise recognizing what it’s like to be in someone else’s shoes will help with this.
For example, you can:
- Create team-building exercises to share background information and interests
- Play weekly board or video games together
- Spend 15-20 minutes every morning getting coffee or tea together
- Share work-style tables to openly communicate work and communication styles
Recognizing Emotions and Behavioral Cues
Many people struggle to recognize the emotional and behavioral cues of others, because they are interpreting those cues through their own “lens” of experience.
Introducing behavioral and emotional training to help individuals, but especially team leaders and managers, to recognize those cues and behaviors is one of the most important things you can do to foster emotional intelligence.
For example, if someone doesn’t have the tools to recognize someone else is distressed, they can’t respond in an emotionally intelligent way.
Emotional intelligence can be learned, but different people will likely be more or less skilled in it. Just like IQ, different people will score higher or lower, even with the same training.
Changing how you think and react to others is difficult and will require working on specific things you excel or fail at, such as empathy, self-regulation, labeling emotions, and so on. However, it will pay off in terms of improved productivity, increased job satisfaction, and better relationships.