Emotional Intelligence in the Work Place

Written by Varghese George

Mr. Varghese is the Senior Manager for Technology Services Division providing the best of Back-up and Security Solutions to our clients.

Emotional intelligence (also referred to as EI or EQ) is the ability to:

  • Recognize, manage and understand our own emotions

  • Recognize, understand and influence the feelings of others

Practically speaking, this means being aware that emotions can drive our behavior and impact people (positive and negative), and learning how to manage these emotions – our own as well as others – particularly under pressure.

In the evolving labor market, strong leadership skills will be highly desirable, as well as skills that AI has trouble replicating such as motivating, understanding, and interacting with other people. Google has already refined its recruitment process to test cognitive competencies for EQ levels.

You are rarely graded to standardized test formats as you were in high school or college once you are a member of the workforce. Instead, managers and bosses are monitoring an intangible set of factors such as work ethics, compatibility with your team, and the ability to guide people towards a common objective.

There are 5 distinct components of EI:


Emotional awareness: understanding the consequences of one's emotions.

– Accurate self-assessment: knowing one’s strengths and limits.

– Self-confidence: sureness about one’s self-worth and capabilities.


Self-control: managing disruptive emotions and impulses.

– Trustworthiness: maintaining standards of honesty and integrity.

– Conscientiousness: taking responsibility for personal performance.

– Adaptability: flexibility in handling change.

– Innovativeness: openness to new ideas and information.


– Achievement drive: striving to improve or meet a standard of excellence.

– Commitment: aligning with the goals of the group or organization.

– Initiative: readiness to act on opportunities.

Empathy/Social Awareness

– Empathy: connecting with others by sensing others’ feelings and concerns

– Leveraging diversity: cultivating opportunities through diverse people.

– Political awareness: understanding a group’s emotional currents and power relationships.

Social Skills

– Influence: wielding effective tactics for persuasion.

– Communication: sending clear and convincing messages.

– Leadership: inspiring and guiding groups and people.

– Change catalyst: initiating or managing change.

– Conflict management: negotiating and resolving disagreements.

EI at workplace

Gary Yukl, a prominent researcher in leadership agrees and goes on to say “Self-awareness makes it easier to understand one’s own needs and likely reactions if certain events occurred, thereby facilitating evaluation of alternative solutions.”

For emotional intelligence to be effective, it has to start with yourself. You can’t distill or enhance other people’s well-being, improvement and sense of self without first understanding how you operate on an emotional level.  What distinguishes leaders is usually their level of emotional intelligence and it is those skills which help to develop a more effective workplace.

Usually, when organization members meet outside the workplace for casual lunches, socializing or for activities, it's a good indication that the organization has employees with a high level of emotional intelligence.

Workplaces that do not have strong bonds and those where no non - working time is spent together by employees are likely to be low in EI / EQ. When people are emotionally smart, they tend to get along and see the value of investing their time and energy in relationships in the workplace, but people with low EI / EQ are often not interested in building quality relationships with colleagues.

Emotional Intelligence for Project Managers

Emotional intelligence is essential to leaders and managers, but in more peer - heavy projects and interactions do not underestimate its importance. Project managers have reasonable grounds to pay attention to and improve their level of EI / EQ if possible.

To be successful at work, PMs must be able to…

  • Perceive emotion: ability to recognize, care for, and understand the emotions of one's own and the emotions of others.

  • Manage emotion: the ability to effectively manage, control, and express feelings.

  • Decision-making: ability to problem solve

  • Influence: the ability to recognize, manage, and evoke emotions in others (Davey-Winter, n.d.).

 Tips to increase your EI at work

  • Give feedback not criticism. Challenge behavior, not people.

  • If criticized, acknowledge appropriate responsibility. Then see it as an opportunity to solve a problem.

  • Identify and cultivate key people who would be useful when difficulties occur. They will respond more willingly when you need them.

  • Be available to talk to people. This is more important the more senior you become in an organization. Set achievable targets, e.g. ‘I’ll make two points at the meeting.’ If someone is shouting, don’t shout back. Keep eye contact and say what you want to say calmly. Acknowledge new ideas even if they’re hopeless. Instant dismissal crushes creativity.

  • Take the role of the other person – colleague, boss, employee, customer. What do they want to achieve?

  • In times of uncertainty keep everyone informed. Lack of knowledge creates distrust and low morale.

  • Listen. It’s the best source of information. Check you’re hearing what’s being said accurately.

EmotionalIntellegence, Management, TeamBuilding, Teamwork,