key speaker about to present about emotional intelligence in the workplace

The CU Denver Business School Alumni Network (BSAN) hosted the second session in its four-part 2018-2019 Career Edge Webinar Series aimed at sharing expert advice and resources for Denver job-seekers and professionals.

Held on January 17, the information-packed webinar was presented by Lauren Harris, Training and Development Manager at CU Boulder and moderated by Jonathan Bach (GEM ’12), Senior Market Intelligence Consultant at Xcel Energy and BSAN Executive Committee member.

Emotional intelligence (EI) is consistently ranked one of the top skills that employees will need to thrive in the workplace of the future. Managers with high emotional intelligence have happier, more loyal employees, earn more respect from their peers, and get paid a lot more. Harris shared practical tips and advice to cultivate and apply emotional intelligence in the workplace, a critical yet often overlooked set of competencies.

Emotional Intelligence: a set of emotional and social skills that influence the way we perceive and express ourselves, develop and maintain social relationships, cope with challenges, and use emotional information in an effective and meaningful way. – Center for Leadership Studies 

Change your perspective

“Emotions can be a disturbance, or a source of intelligence.” – David Armstrong, Organizational Psychologist

Think about how your emotions can be a source of intelligence for you. “Our emotions are not going away. Our emotions are there for a reason, and our emotions are trying to tell us something,” Harris said. Our emotions can either take control and drive our behavior or we can be cognizant about how our bodies and brains respond.

“Emotions don’t have to be scary, but instead a fantastic source of intelligence to help you understand yourself and others better,” Harris said.

Be aware of the power that emotional intelligence has for you. Taking an intentional approach to developing it can have an immensely positive impact on your life.

A business case for taking EI seriously

It’s not all about feelings – there are real, undeniable numbers behind why emotional intelligence matters in business.

A TalentSmart Research study of 5,000 individuals in the workplace unearthed some remarkable findings about emotional intelligence, placing EI as the key differentiator among leaders.

  • High EI is the single biggest predictor of success
  • EI accounted for 58% of job performance for leaders
  • 90% of top performers are high in EI
  • Managers with high EI have lower turnover and higher customer satisfaction

and drumroll please…

  • People with higher EQ make a lot more money. ($29,000 per year to be exact.)

Managers that develop their EI competencies are supportive, empathetic, respectful and self-aware, and that translates into personal and organizational success, respect from peers and staff, happy and engaged employees, better benefits and salary, and much more.

Sounds great – how do I even start?

Developing soft skills like emotional intelligence is not exactly straightforward. It requires honesty, introspection, practice, and time. Emotional intelligence requires genuine effort, but in return offers personal and professional development arguably unmatched.

First Step: Take a good look at yourself
Self Awareness is the ability to accurately perceive your own emotions in the moment and understand your tendencies across situations. Most people have a hard time being honest with themselves, but it’s essential to our progress.

  1. Identify and list out all your triggers. What makes you tick? What makes you frustrated, excited or defensive?
  2. Reflect on the past week. What moments excited you? Frustrated you? Are there themes or patterns there?
  3. Tune into your body. What is your physiological response to challenges and stress? (heart racing, cheeks flushing, facial expressions)
  4. Recall your brain and biological response.

Self Management is the ability to use your awareness of your emotions to stay flexible and direct your behavior positively. Now that you have taken an honest look at yourself, what strategies can you use to manage yourself?

  1. Identify and list out possible strategies to your triggers above.
  2. Develop your self-care habits: move, eat, sleep, relax, connect.
  3. Practice deep breathing exercise, meditation, and mindfulness.
  4. Ask for and implement feedback from those that know you well.

Next Step: Take a good look at others
Social Awareness is the ability to accurately pick up on the emotions in other people and understand what is really going on with them. Building empathy is critical to building social awareness. Some people are not very empathetic by nature, so it’s important to research strategies to develop empathy and get better at understanding where other people are coming from. Harris recommends starting with this YouTube video: Brené Brown Empathy vs Sympathy

Relationship Management is the ability to use your awareness of your emotions and those around you to manage interactions successfully. So you’ve taken stock of yourself and others around you, now it’s time to put it to work. Harris recommends the “emotional bank account” strategy here.

  • Similar to a financial bank account, we can do and say things that will deposit or withdrawal from your or others’ emotional bank accounts.
  • If we are taking more than we give, which is almost always accidental, we do serious damage, maybe even irreparably, to our relationships.
  • Your deposits and withdrawals are not the same as others’. For instance, a lot of people really mind others being on their phone, but some simply do not. Be aware of others.
  • Seek out opportunities to build up your emotional bank accounts with others and be proactive about avoiding accidental withdrawals.

The 45-minute webinar covered even more valuable in-depth advice. If you missed it, you can view the entire webinar online anytime. Ms. Harris also highly recommends readers interested in diving deeper pick up the book The Emotionally Intelligent Workplace by Dr. Daniel Goleman.

More advice and resources coming up

The four-part 2018-2019 Career Edge Webinar Series, hosted by the CU Denver Business School, offers valuable insight on local industry trends and professional development and is presented by our Alumni and local business experts. The sessions are completely free and online. Register today.

Thursday, February 21, 2019 | Negotiate Your Best Salary

Thursday, March 14, 2019 | Managing Up: Building an Effective Relationship with Your Boss

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