Emotional intelligence is among the skills gaining momentum regarding talent search on the part of companies, as various studies, reports and forecasts about the future of the labour market concur.
According to Anthony Howard, CEO of Awaken Group and leadership expert, this increasing focus on knowledge, control and management of own emotions is closely related to the incipient “economy of feelings”. These notion, revolved around people and their relationships, will end up replacing the current paradigm of economy of knowledge.
Howard’s theory is as follows: technological breakthroughs linked to artificial intelligence will allow to automate many of the duties being performed within companies. As a result of that, less human talent will be needed to carry out production tasks, whereas those areas that require human interaction will demand more, since organizations give increasing relevance to personalized customer service. Consequently, highly-skilled workers trained in emotional intelligence will be the ones sought after mainly.
New trends in the labour market also lead to an optimal emotional management when interacting with others within an organization. In this regard, one of the most clarifying academic papers is the one written by Sigal Barsade, professor at University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton Management, and Donald E. Gibson, expert in conflict resolution.
In the article Why Does Affect Matter in Organizations? both authors argue that not only emotions, but also the state of mind and temper of professionals have an impact on objectives, decision making, creativity, talent retention, leadership and team work. All because emotions “spread” among the members of an organization as if it was some kind of “virus”.
Categorization of “feelings”
“Employees are not isolated “emotional islands”. Rather, they bring all of themselves to work, including their traits, moods and emotions”, as pointed out by Barsade and Gibson, who categorize the “feelings” that modulate the work environment within organizations as follows:
- Discrete: they’re basic emotions such as joy, love, anger, fear, disgust or surprise. They’re of short duration.
- Moods: they’re of medium duration and not always focused on a specific cause.
- Personality traits: they’re more permanent and reflect how professionals view life in general.
In order to train emotional intelligence at work it’s essential, first of all, to identify the type of emotions a professional feels stormed about in his work environment. Then, be aware of how he reacts before his own emotions so as to learn how to control them and avoid unpleasant situations such as burnout.
Having emotions under control doesn’t mean to repress them, states psychologist and researcher Peggy Drexler, who claims that repression “might cloud judgement, mitigate IQ and stress levels”.
Cultivating emotional intelligence is not only on the hands of professionals themselves. People in charge of organizations can also take measures such as: positive stimulation of employees; take excessive heat out of certain issues; bet on a positive work environment; and promote vertical and horizontal communication within the company.