7 Examples of High and Low EQ at Work
We know that high EI/EQ in the workplace is an advantage, but how do we know it when we see it? What does it look like? Emotional intelligence (shortened to EI or EQ for emotional quotient) can be defined as:
1. An Upset Employee Finds a Compassionate Ear
We all get moody sometimes, even at work. How a person deals with her coworkers or employees when they are having a bad day is a good indication about her EI/EQ level. If she doesn’t even notice the moodiness, ignores the employee, exacerbates the bad mood, or criticizes the employee and tells them to “snap out of it,” she probably has low EI/EQ. If, on the other hand, she notices that something’s up, offers her employee compassion and understanding, and tries to cheer the employee up or distract them from their woes, that’s a great indicator that she has high EI/EQ.
2. People Listen to Each Other in Meetings
Unfortunately, not all meetings are positive and productive; sometimes meetings can devolve into everyone talking at once, no one offering any input at all, or-worst of all-shouting and heated arguments. If an employee contributes to any of the above in a meeting, he is displaying low emotional intelligence. If he allows others to have their say, listens attentively and refrains from interrupting others, and gently but effectively keeps everyone on task, he is probably high in EI/EQ.
3. People Express Themselves Openly
A person who is comfortable speaking up about things that are important, and is just as comfortable listening to others talk about their own opinions, is showing high workplace EI/EQ. She is probably also adept at expressing her own emotions in an appropriate way and accepting of others who express their own emotions. A person who keeps things bottled up or gets upset when others disagree with her at work is likely low in emotional intelligence. She might spar with her coworkers about their opinions or-conversely-expect everyone to simply keep all emotions and opinions to themselves.
4. Most Change Initiatives Work
If a workplace is generally high in emotional intelligence, it likely handles change well. Change initiatives are probably taken seriously and carried out in earnest. On the flip side, workplaces with low emotional intelligence are resistant to change, fail to put in the effort necessary to make change initiatives succeed, or even actively sabotage them. Additionally, poorly though-out initiatives indicate that the management team is low in EI/EQ and does not understand how their proposed changes will affect their employees.
A workplace that offers flexibility and understanding of the complex, busy lives of organization members is one that is probably high in EI/EQ. Managers and executives who accept that people have differing needs and offer ways to work smarter are displaying a good sense of emotional intelligence. Managers and executives who refuse to allow their employees flexibility and hold strictly to the way things have always been done (when there is no need to do so) are showing signs of low emotional intelligence.
6. People Have the Freedom to Be Creative
Similarly, workplaces that allow their employees the opportunity to be creative and innovative are high in EI/EQ. Giving people the chance to practice their creativity and think outside the box is not only a welcome gesture for employees, it’s also a smart move for the workplace.
Workplaces that make their employees stick to strict policies and procedures (again, when there is no need for such strictness) are low in EI/EQ. Not understanding the value of creativity and the need employees have to be imaginative and invested in their work is a hallmark of low EI/EQ.
7. People Meet Out of Work Time
Finally, a good sign of emotional intelligence in the workplace is when organization members meet outside of the workplace. Organizations where employees enjoy happy hours, having lunch together, or other social activities indicates that there is a high level of EI/EQ present.
Workplaces that don’t feature such strong bonds and those in which employees do not spend any non-working time together are likely low in EI/EQ. When people are emotionally intelligent, they tend to get along and see the value in investing their time and energy into workplace relationships, but people low in EI/EQ are generally not interested in building quality relationships with their peers.