Emotional Intelligence and Workplace Performance
In the previous module we saw that «emotional intelligence refers to how well we handle ourselves in our relationships and it includes 4 domains:
- All together in a relationship»
It is not difficult to imagine a situation where you felt tired, or frustrated, or insecure and therefore you were not able to perform well in an exam, or you had an argument with your best friend or you didn´t do well in a competition. Only because your state of mind was not at its best.
Our emotional state impacts directly in our performance, including of course our performance at work. Therefore, our ability to identify our own emotions and other´s and our ability to manage them will minimise or maximise that impact.
Does this mean that if you have a bad day you will fail if, by unlucky coindicence, you have an important decission to make, or a job interview, or a business meeting? Or simply dealing with your clients?
The answer to that question depends of how developed is your emotional intelligence.
What happens in our personal lives obviously impact our emotions but what happens in our workplace does too and both have an effect on how good or bad we perform at work.
No one is invulnerable to all what happens all the time but there are better and worse ways to react in front of different situations and by recognising and managing our emotions we will always be in the condition to answer positively.
In module 1, you already saw some activities you can put in practice to do this (specially helpful can be activity 2, to manage stressful situations, very common in the workplace).
The effect of our emotions in the workplace is not necessarily bad though, and actually, emotional intelligence is an important tool to improve our productivity and performance.
There are many definitions of “entrepreneur” or “entrepreneurship” but using the one provided in the document “Entrepreneurship Competence Framework, EntreComp1”:
Entrepreneurship can be broadly defined as the capacity to turn ideas into action, ideas that generate value for someone other than oneself.
EntreComp defines 15 different competences related to entrepreneurship.
Emotional intelligence is a component of most or all of them, but it is speciall important for these ones:
Self-awareness and self-efficacy
Motivation and perseverance
Coping with uncertainty, ambiguity and risk
Working with others
Self-awareness and self-efficacy. This is one of the competences of an entrepreneur, according to EntreComp. And how emotional intelligence helps to increase this competence and, thus, be more entrepreneur? By being plently aware of our values, our strenghts and our weaknesses. Only this way we can identify what really matter to us, what drives us, what do we do good but we can do better and what we do bad and therefore need to improve. We will know our own limits but also our dreams and knowing all this, we will be able to be more effective in our work and more efficient with our time.
To train this competence, you can use activity 1 from module 1.
This competence refers to the ability of stay focused on your objectives and don´t give up when you fail or something does not go as you wish.
Because be aware of this, sometimes, even if you give your best you will fail. Failure is part of the learning experience but can have 2 consequences: it can create frustration leading you to give up or it can be used as a learning experience making you grow wiser and resilient.
The important thing here is not that you will fail, the important thing is how you will react to failure. If you are able to stay motivated and pursue (and modify if necessary) your objectives, that is the real success!
Mobilizing others means that you have the ability to inspire people, to make others follow you or your ideas, to get them on board. This is very important because an entrepreneurial person will always need support to turn ideas into action. Rarely will you be able to achieve things alone! This is directly linked with some styles of leadership based on recognition and inspiration (in contrast with authority, for example).
The best way to mobilize others is to make them part of your project (your objective) from the beginning.
Choosing the right people is also important, in the sense that they need to share your own values, or at least the values you are addressing. Otherwise, if what you propose doesn´t matter to them they will lack the motivation.
This competence refers to the ability of making decisions when you are not certain about the consequences. Making decisions is not easy and you will never be 100% of the result. You will never have all the information or a totally clear picture and if you try to have it, you will risk to be paralysed by analysis.
However, we are not telling you not to make decisions based on a previous reflection. On the contrary, we encourage you to do that! And to do so, there are different techniques you may use:
Pros and cons. It is a very typical way of making a decision. You write 2 columns, in one of them you write the positive aspects of doing something and in the other one the negatives. With that in front of you it may be easier to make a decission, seeing if there are more pros than cons and how important in relative terms they are.
SWOT analysis. It is a more sophisticated method to make decissions, based on current strenghts and weaknesses and possible opportunities and threats.
What if. More than a technique, this is an approach to change the perspective you look a decision to make. Instead of focusing on which the effects could be (try to guess the future) you focus on what can happen if you do different things.
This video offers you a better explanation, with real examples, of what we mean with this What if approach:
Related to “mobilizing others” but not the same, this competence refers to being able to be part of a team and collaborate with others. It is very much related with empathy and social skills (communication, cooperation, leadership…), remember from module 1?
To be a good team member there are a series of features you should meet, being the most important ones:
Good communicator and good listener, in the sense of being able to expose your ideas in a clear and respectful way, taking into consideration other´s opinions and listening to their own ideas as well. Here one tip: listen to UNDERSTAND not only to REPLY.
Being empathetic, i.e. being able to be in someone else´s shoes, understanding their problems and concerns.
Having a cooperative spirit, being always able to work hand in hand with the rest of the team to achieve common objectives. It is not a competition, it is a cooperation. As most, compete only with yourself!
Being committed and taking responsibility, with the team, with the organisation, with the common project and with your own values, assuming that you have a part to fulfill.
Self-reflection, motivation, empowerment
You will be able to identify your achievements and your strong points.
You will be able to motivate yourself using examples of your own past.
Why this activity is important?
Insecurity, low self-esteem, frustration… are features that jeopardise our ability to stay focused, value ourselves and stay motivated to pursue our objectives. By thinking of situations where you were successful, identifying why you were successful and which competences you put in practice to achieve an objective you will feel more confident on your possibilities and abilities. This is something that you can always come back to when you feel down.
Description of the activity
Write in a paper what you consider your 5, 10 or 20 biggest achievements. Include from little things to big ones, since you were a child.
Identify why did you get your achievements, which were the competences you used (was it your perseverance? Your wit? Your ability to make relations?)
Read the list up load and whenever you feel down read it again. You will see that after looking back to all you have achieved in your life you will realice it is already a lot and therefore you can achieve even more!
Active listening, leadership, persuasion
You will be able to share your objectives in a way that inspire others.
You will be able to create a team who shares your same values.
Work in groups. You can test with your friends.
Why this activity is important?
It is important to be able to communicate an idea and to explain why it is important to achieve it and what we want to achieve by implementing it, hot it is important to fulfil our values. What you communicate and HOW you communicate are equally important so you can transmit others not only the words but also the emotions (enthusiasm, happiness, motivation) to others and you can detect who would be really interested to be on board because that person shares the same values and enthusiasm as you.
Description of the activity
Choose an objective you would like to achieve (it can be professional or personal related) and before sharing it, make an individual exercise to find out why that is important for you and how do you think you would feel after achieving it.
Once you have that clear, share that objective with a group of people (your family, your friends, your classmates…).
Ask for their opinions, listening carefully to what they think and try to find out who shares your interest and enthusiasm about your idea. Pay attention to how they react, their body language, their facial expressions, if they are more active or more pasive in the conversation, if they show criticism or curiosity…
As an activity for yourself, after the conversation write in a paper who would be in your team and who would not and why.
Check your conclusions with them to see if your impressions were right and asked them why they felt persuaded by your idea or why not (was it because of your explanations? Because of your enthusiasm or lack of it? Because they share or not your values?).
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