Developing Emotional Intelligence in Workplace

The following guidelines represent the best current knowledge about how to promote emotional intelligence in the workplace.  They apply to any development effort in which social and emotional learning is a goal.  This would include most management and executive development efforts as well as training in supervisory skills, diversity, teamwork, leadership, conflict management, stress management, sales and customer relations.

Evaluate the Organization Needs

Determine the competencies that are most critical for effective job performance in a particular type of job.  In doing so, use a valid method, such as comparison of the behavioral events interviews of superior performers and average performers.  Also make sure the competencies to be developed are congruent with the organization culture and overall strategy.

Analyze the Individual

This analyze should be based on the key competencies needed for a particular job, and the data should come from multiple sources using multiple methods to maximize integrity and validity.

Assess with Care

Give the individual information on his/her strengths and weaknesses.  In doing so, try to be accurate and clear.  Also, allow plenty of time for the person to digest and integrate the information.  Provide the feedback in a safe and helpful environment in order to minimize confrontation and defensiveness.

Developing Emotional Intelligence in Workplace

Give Them Choice

People are more motivated to change when they freely choose to do so.  As much as possible, allow people to decide whether or not they will take part in the development process, and have them set the change goals themselves.

Motivate People to Contribute

People will be more likely to contribute in development efforts if they perceive them to be worthwhile and effective.

Organizational policies and procedures should encourage people to participate in development activity, and supervisors should provide encouragement and the necessary support. Motivation also will be enhanced if people trust the credibility of those who encourage them to undertake the training.

Connect Learning with Values

People are most motivated to pursue change that fits with their values and hopes.  If a change matters little to people, they won’t pursue it.  Help people understand whether a given change fits with what matters most to them.

Adjust Expectations

Build positive expectations by showing learners that social and emotional competence can be improved and that such improvement will lead to valued results. Also, make sure that the learners have genuine expectation of what the training process will involve.

Developing Emotional Intelligence in Workplace

Assess Readiness

Assess whether the individual is ready for training.  If the person is not ready because of insufficient motivation or other reasons, make readiness the focus of interference efforts.

Trainers and Learners

Trainers who are warm, genuine, and empathic are best able to engage the learners in the change process.  Select trainers who have these qualities, and make sure that they use them when working with the learners.

Setting Goals

People need to be clear about what the competence is, how to acquire it, and how to show it on the job.  Spell out the specific behaviors and skills that make up the target competence.  Make sure that the goals are clear, specific, and optimally challenging.

Setting Manageable Goals

Change is more likely to occur if the change process is divided into manageable steps. Encourage both trainers and trainees to avoid being overly ambitious.

Developing Emotional Intelligence in Workplace

Provide Performance Feedback

Ongoing feedback encourages people and directs change.  Provide focused and sustained feedback as the learners practice new behaviors.  Make sure that supervisors, peers, friends, family members or some combination of these give periodic feedback on progress.

Experiential Methods

Active, concrete, experiential methods tend to work best for learning social and emotional competencies.  Development activities that engage all the senses and that are dramatic and powerful can be especially effective.

Build in Support

Change is facilitated through ongoing support of others who are going through similar changes. Programs should encourage the formation of groups where people give each other support throughout the change effort. Coaches and mentors also can be valuable in helping support the desired change.

Develop Insight

Self-awareness is the cornerstone of emotional and social competence.  Help learners acquire greater understanding about how their thoughts, feelings, and behavior affect themselves and others.


Author: Rona

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