The term “upskilling,” or devoting company time and/or resources into training existing staff in new proficiencies, has been a hot term as of late. With companies like Amazon and Accenture publicly defining their upskilling initiatives, many small business owners are also asking themselves how they can level up their team’s expertise in-house.

Many upskilling plans focus on technological skills due to the rapid development of online business. Unfortunately, this means that teaching staff about emotional intelligence is often overlooked when it is essential to workplace health and productivity. 

Emotional intelligence, defined as “the capacity to be aware of, control, and express one’s emotions, and to handle interpersonal relationships judiciously and empathetically” is actually one of the most important skills to develop in the workplace according to Accounting Web.

What is Emotional Intelligence?

According to Dr. Travis Bradberry, author of Emotional Intelligence 2.0, emotional intelligence can be broken into four major categories:

  • Self-awareness: the ability to recognize and understand your own emotions and triggers
  • Self-management: the ability to deal with your emotions and respond to situations that trigger them in healthy and productive ways
  • Social Awareness: the ability to recognize and understand the emotions of others
  • Relationship management: the ability to use your awareness of the emotions of others in your interactions with them, helping you to build healthy relationships

All four of these skills, which build on one another, are essential parts of emotional intelligence and require cultivation and training in order to grow.

Why It’s Important

Cultivating emotional intelligence is truly a must in the modern workplace. Higher emotional intelligence leads to fewer staff disputes, better communication, improved teamwork, and higher productivity. This is especially important for upper management. Management that shows a high degree of understanding and care for their employees promote staff loyalty and a harmonious workplace, while higher-ups who do not show emotional intelligence may lead to more turnover.

How to Cultivate Emotional Intelligence

The first step to cultivating emotional intelligence is to understand yourself and your triggers. Using an online assessment tool, such as the one Dr. Bradberry offers on his website, can help you to gain a deeper knowledge of your own emotional intelligence and behaviors. You can offer this resource to your employees to help them gauge their own EQ levels.

Once you understand yourself, you can begin to work on recognizing and dealing with the emotions of others in a positive way. In the workplace, you can bring in an emotional intelligence specialist or program to provide EQ training to staff. There are also many online options that can be purchased and distributed to employees digitally if an in-person specialist doesn’t feel like the right fit for your situation.

Overall, focusing on emotional intelligence in your place of business can lead to improved boss/employee, employee/employee, and employee/customer reactions. Employees who are trained in emotional intelligence are more likely to be able to empathize and respond to customer issues in a positive way that helps retain their business, therefore affecting your bottom line. In addition, it can significantly decrease workplace conflict and help your team to build healthy relationships with one another, improving your company as a whole.

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