We often hear the words “emotional intelligence” floating around in recruitment circles but have we stopped to think what it actually entails? What does it mean for one to be emotionally intelligent?
I’ll start with a generic definition.
According to the Oxford English Dictionary, emotional intelligence is “the ability to understand your emotions and those of other people and to behave in an appropriate way in different situations.”
In business, it is the ability to understand how your emotions and actions affect others and how to interpret the emotions and actions of others within the work environment. Business Emotional Intelligence is the ability to manage your emotions and behaviour at work and understand the effect on your performance and relationships with others.
Can emotional intelligence be learned or developed?
To be emotionally intelligent, you need to have both internal and external self-awareness. To be internally self-aware, you need to be honest enough to identify your strengths and weaknesses; to be externally self-aware, you need to know how other people see you. You need to develop and improve on them on a regular basis by asking for feedback where necessary.
Although internal and external self-awareness are independent of one another, they work hand in hand to create a highly emotionally intelligent individual. You will see improvements in your behaviour when you practice regularly.
How does emotional intelligence benefit you as an employee?
The key aspects of emotional intelligence are:
- Self-awareness: You have the ability to recognise your emotions, and how it affects you and others. This makes for a more confident employee.
- Self-regulation: You have the ability to be disciplined and know your boundaries. You have more time for thought and can delay action. This makes for a more trustworthy and flexible employee.
- Internal motivation: You have a passion for your work that is unrelated to benefits such as money or recognition. This makes for a more driven and optimistic employee.
- Empathy: You have the ability to understand people’s emotional reactions and treat them accordingly. An empathic employee is compassionate and is able to build and maintain relationships with key stakeholders, for company success.
- Social skills – You have the ability to build a rapport with the people you meet by being both empathetic and persuasive. This makes for a great change leader who can bring out the best in their teams.
How can employers identify candidates who are emotionally intelligent?
Most employers have come to realise the importance of emotional intelligence in the workplace – staff get along better and performance is higher. The company can achieve goals faster because there’s more teamwork and collaboration.
This is the reason why most employers will ask scenario-based questions in order to produce the interviewee’s reactions to certain scenarios.
I have my degree and know how to do the job. Do I need to be emotionally intelligent, you may ask. Yes, indeed you do. In today’s highly competitive jobs market where many graduates are struggling to find employment, emotional intelligence can make you stand out from the crowd and give you an edge over the people you are competing for roles with. People are an important part of any business and their emotions are a central part of decision making. Emotional intelligence helps you to understand your triggers and how to manage stress, tight schedules, difficult bosses/employees and working under pressure. It also helps to control how you react to stressful situations so you don’t transfer aggression to other people.
Highly emotionally intelligent individuals can gain an edge over others by successfully working with difficult people and resolving complex problems. As we settle into the post-covid world with the uncertainty that comes with the new business landscape, emotional intelligence can be a key skill that sets you up for success.
Jobberman offers free soft skills training that covers skills such as emotional intelligence, personal effectiveness, critical thinking, and more. Anyone aged 18 – 35 can sign up.
On the 30th of September, 2020, Jobberman will be hosting the largest virtual career fair in Nigeria with the aim of connecting 10,000 highly qualified job seekers with 250 potential employers. Visit http://jobberman.com/careerfair to sign up!
This piece was written by Chidimma Iheanacho, Senior Youth Engagement Associate at Jobberman Nigeria.
NEW REPORT ALERT: “Millionaire West African startups” raised over $1.806 billion between 2010 and 2019, 97.9% of which went to Nigerian startups. Find out more in the full report.
Listen to Built in Africa, a podcast by Techpoint Africa