Why Emotional Intelligence matters in the workplace

Not only should we be able to identify our own emotions, but those of the people around us as well, known as emotional intelligence

Most of us have been told to put our emotions aside at work and be all-business, all the time. Women tend to hear this message more often than their male counterparts, regularly being told they are being "too emotional" when it comes to high-stress situations, differences of opinion, high-stakes business matters, or even when they are just having a bad day. But no matter our gender, for the most part, the only emotions employers hope for or want to see in the workplace is happiness. Happy workers lead to productivity and overall success for the company, right?

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Yes and no. Happiness is certainly important, both on a personal and professional level. Without feeling a sense of satisfaction, a person's well-being as well as their workplace performance is sure to suffer. Yet happiness is so much more complex than an outward cheery disposition and a plastered-on smile.

As per Business Insider, "Happiness is not just about developing positive emotions, it has two other constituent parts: purpose and resilience. Having a clear and meaningful purpose is a key element in sustaining long-term happiness."

A large part of our purpose is what we do with our lives and how we feel about doing it. What we do for a living makes up a great portion of most people's sense of purpose, and even if we are happy in the general sense, having the ability to deal effectively with our other emotions will help us maintain and even increase this sense of contentment. Like Business Insider puts it, "Developing resilience is the third highly essential component of happiness, as it enables us to deal effectively with negative emotions when they arise."

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That is why we must allow ourselves to embrace our emotions – even at work – to remain, or even become happy, as well as a useful force in the workplace. Bottling up negative emotions will not lead to happiness – just the opposite. Workers may become frustrated, temperamental, or no longer have the drive to put in much effort. Not only should we be able to identify our own emotions, but those of the people around us as well, known as emotional intelligence.

As per Psychology Today, emotional intelligence includes three skills, "Emotional awareness; the ability to harness emotions and apply them to tasks like thinking and problem solving; and the ability to manage emotions, which includes regulating your own emotions and cheering up or calming down other people." This intuitive behavior is what makes working with others impactful and successful. In fact, TalentSmart notes, "People with a high degree of emotional intelligence make more money—an average of $29,000 more per year than people with a low degree of emotional intelligence."

Not to mention, emotions are what makes us human. With so much technology being developed and perfected every day, computers, robots, Artificial Intelligence, and the like are taking over roles people used to be required to manage. According to Business Insider, "Many indicators suggest that jobs of the future will require much more emotional intelligence to complement the sophisticated machines we work with. As more and more jobs are automated, the nature of the value that humans will add will evolve to focus around creativity, connectivity with others and self-fulfillment."

We need to stay aware of and connected to our emotions and learn how to handle them effectively and appropriately, even in the workplace setting. Not every day will be perfect, or even close to it, and it is OK to allow ourselves to feel it. When we can work through these feelings to arrive at a place of satisfaction once again, we will be better people and valued employees. So, do not take your emotions lightly. And never dismiss the feelings of those you work with either.

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By understanding and accepting our own and one another's emotions, we will all be happier for it.

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