Emotional Intelligence and the workplace

By Sayaka Endo

Current trends indicate that successful organizations are moving away from traditional hierarchies to a more vertically-integrated style of democratic leadership. Distributing leadership may seem like a paradoxical concept, however it is actually the contrary.

One of the key characteristics for those who practice this style of distributed leadership is high Emotional Intelligence (EI).  EI is described as the ability to utilize empathy to gauge emotions, individually and of others, and to adapt to various social situations. Individuals with high EI are proven to be effective leaders as they are empathetic, self-aware and hold themselves accountable to how their behaviour influences those around them.

Seek to understand, rather than be understood

Recent studies show how empathy in the workplace is imperative in managing relationships and resolving conflict.  Leaders who seek to understand are highly skilled at maintaining meaningful relationships as they are able to assess their surroundings and adapt to them by exercising their various styles of communication.

Individuals who engage in thoughtful communication increase their stake in the workplace as best practices are shared through collaboration and inquisition.  Providing individuals with the flexibility to make their own decisions is shown to be mutually beneficial as participation results in meeting cross-functionality objectives.

Perception is reality


Individuals are far more likely to remain motivated in their workplace when their opinions are not only encouraged, but validated.  Providing individuals with the ability to offer input in organizational objectives through a paradigm shift is key in building a productive work environment.

By empowering employees to maintain autonomy, they are more likely to direct their own initiatives - which is paramount in maintaining employee engagement and organizational excellence.   The existing EI framework serves to enhance not only personal development, but also motivates the workforce to maintain growth and innovation.