Hang cool, HR: Understanding emotional intelligence

by Cameron Edmond18 Feb 2014
Having a strong understanding of your emotions through ‘emotional intelligence’ (or ‘EQ’) can skyrocket your organisation’s profits, as well as help hone skills and boost productivity, a report from TRACOM Group has reported.
 
While EQ itself is not an old concept (dating back to the 1990s), it has recently entered a third phase of development, focusing in on behavioural concepts. Behavioural EQ challenges people to not only be aware of their emotions, but, more acutely, how it makes them behave.
 
Essentially, while emotional intelligence includes emotional awareness, self-insight and self-confidence, behavioural awareness accounts for self-control, stress management, conscientiousness and optimism.
 
For HR pros, incorporating Behavioural EQ into the organisation benefits in two ways: not only will it increase one’s own understanding of themselves and how they deal with people, but by rolling this out to other employees and helping them develop their Behavioural EQ, tense situations between staff members will be handled in more rational and calm ways, potentially reducing workplace conflict.
 
Key HR takeaways
The benefits of EQ can only be realised by a keen understanding and control of your emotions. Casey Mulqueen Ph.D., director of research and product development for TRACOM, noted seven tips for getting there, useful for both HR pros and their employees:
 
Understand your emotions. Learn to understand what your emotional ‘triggers’ are – what occurrences result in you losing behavioural control?
 
Mentally rehearse triggering situations. When you rehearse scenarios, you activate the same neural circuitry that is activated when you are actually experiencing it. Rehearsing situations can allow you to develop ways to handle these situations and act in a more productivity way, preparing you for when these situations occur.
 
Force your brain into action by solving a problem. If you find yourself angry or frustrated with a situation, distract your brain by solving a problem. This is an extension of the ‘count to ten’ concept, but Mulqueen feels you should try something slightly more difficult – such as working out 15 x 18. This will distract your brain long enough to stop adrenalin and other stress hormones from building up.
 
Engage in healthy escapism. If solving a problem doesn’t sound up your alley, instead try shifting to a more pleasant memory. Sing a song in your head, imagine your favourite place, etc.
 
Don’t send emails straight away. An important aspect to not only keep a hold of your own emotions but ensure you don’t trigger others is to re-read your emails before sending them, and perhaps asking a colleague to look over it. How could your email be interpreted or misinterpreted? This is especially important if you are angry or frustrated when penning the email, as you may accidently showcase this in the text.
 
Walk away. A little bit more difficult perhaps for HR, but sometimes situations are best avoided. Your employees will not think less of you for stepping away from a situation to process the information and avoid emotional responses. It will result in better and more logical decision making when you do approach the problem.
 
Speak clearly and with decorum whenever in an emotional situation. Even if others are not, it is important to remain calm and speak clearly in tense situations. This will not only help keep you calm, but may also calm those you are speaking to.
 
What do you think of these tips? Is Behavioural EQ an important concept for HR to utilise, or just another buzz-word? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.
 

COMMENTS

  • by Debbie Hackman-Bartlett 18/02/2014 5:26:49 PM

    I have been giving professional development sessions to standing room only crowds on Emotional Intelligence for several years now. Employees want the advantage that Emotionl Intelligence provides. EI/EQ helps with staff retention, builds a culture of trust, lessens drama and lessens stress. All star performers have a high emotional intelligence quotient. This is the "it" factor. Emotional Intelligence is an essential skill and the good news is - through awareness - it can be an acquired skill

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