Emotional Intelligence at the Work Place

Poor emotional intelligence at work can lead to increased stress and sickness.

According to Mind, British businesses lose an estimated £26 billion each year in sickness, absence and lost productivity. With greater awareness and mental health support they said that businesses could save one-third on these costs – ‘a mammoth £8 billion a year.’ Increasing Emotional Intelligence at work will help to do this.

What is Emotional Intelligence?

There are many different interpretations of what exactly emotional intelligence is. I will only offer you my interpretation – “The ability to go swiftly to the place that feels the best in any situation.”

How does this happen in the work place?

With the added pressure of a recession, lay-offs and cut-backs in the current work climate, it is more essential than ever before to gain a higher degree of emotional intelligence. When bosses or colleagues undermine, criticise or threaten you and you do not respond in a way that feels good then this is not emotionally intelligent.

Often at work employees have a problem with someone else and tell everybody except the person that it concerns or those who could do something about it. This divisive practice can cause stress, frustration and can translate into illness, low productivity and a factitious work force. Nobody wins when this status quo remains.

Over time this can cause hypertension as the stress response is triggered in the employees experiencing this. The result is often sickness or absenteeism. Worse still for companies is that employees experiencing these symptoms can be like a cancer for a business, spreading slowly through the system, via the channel of complaints to other employees.

Honesty is the best policy.

If you have an issue with anyone at work it is your duty as an employee to address the source. Do this by stating calmly and assertively how you feel, what caused it and how things could improve in the future. This at least gives the person who is perceived to be at fault a chance to address it and ameliorate the situation. They may even surprise you and were probably not aware how their behaviour has affected you.

If they are not so accommodating then you have every right to take it to their boss, or directly to the CEO of the company. If your issue is with the CEO and they are unreasonable then a new job may well be the answer – before your health suffers the inevitable demise that occurs.

If you are the CEO or department head then it is your duty to encourage an environment of honesty and constant employee feedback. By giving your staff freedom to express them selves honestly, you will be establishing the foundation for more emotionally intelligent employees.

A key factor in communication.

Often when faced with a loud and overbearing employee or boss it is tempting to reply in a softer, more dulcet tone. Just remember that when we are like each other we like each other. Often by matching the tonality of the person that we are communicating with, we increase rapport. Since our tonality represents far more than our language in effective communication, it is a useful tool to match the tone of the person who we are with.

Get it off your chest.

If you have an issue with someone at work then tell them. If you don’t, you may get ill and that would not be emotionally intelligent.

Image reproduced from http://socialbuzz.typepad.com

I Dream and Think, Therefore I Am

Recently I came across the recordings of “Tabaluga”, a German children’s story by the pop star Peter Maffay. It is old now and probably not quite what children are listening to these days, but the central message is powerful and still holds.

Tabaluga is a small dragon who is making all sorts of mistakes and is looking for the things a small dragon would look for. He learns to fly, he learns about life, he falls in love as an adolescent and when he meets Nessaja, the ancient tortoise, he learns about growing up …

Nessaja speaks her mind and reminds the little dragon that growing up does not mean not to be a child anymore:

“I did not want to grow up. I always resisted. My skin became as hard as stone, but still, often I got hurt. Somewhere inside me I remained a child and only when I cannot feel it anymore I know it is too late, too late!”

“At the bottom of the sea where all life is mute forever I can still see my dreams like air ascending from the depth. Somewhere inside me I remained a child and only when I cannot feel it anymore I know it is too late, too late!”

I believe this metaphor is valid for everyone. Growing up does not mean to forget about one’s dreams. Often the naïve dreams of our childhood are the purest dreams you can have. Just because as adults we are “more responsible” does not mean that we are not still the same person inside.

When I was small I wanted to become a woodsman with a farm and never drive a car as it would be bad for the environment. I am a scientist now and do not share the same ideas but at heart the environment and nature are still important to me. This dream has now matured into something else but the roots of the thought are the same.

Often we forget about our dreams and don’t live them and come up with all sort of excuses as to why not live them.

But what is holding us back? Only we ourselves are, and if you look deep inside you, you may see your inner soul and the beauty that came into life at a very early age.

Somewhere inside me I remained a child and only when I cannot feel it anymore I know it is too late, too late!”

Look inside you and recover that spark. The spark that you had when you were young. The spark in your eyes which says “I am alive”. The spark that says “I dream, therefore I think and therefore I am”. This spark shines and can be seen at a long distance. You will see it in others once you have it inside you.

I Dream and Think, Therefore I Am.

Image reproduced from http://www.absolute3d.net and http://www.lifeprint.com