Season 1, Episode 0

What is Emotional Intelligence? Dr Ben Palmer breaks it down to Marie El Daghl

Marie [00:00:03] Welcome to Emotional Intelligence at Work brought to you by Genos International. Before we talk about how emotional intelligence works at work, it’s important to know what it is. I am Marie El Daghl host of EI at Work. My co-host is Dr. Ben Palmer, CEO of Genos International and a leading expert on the topic of EI. Ben, what is emotional intelligence?

Ben [00:00:32] I like to talk about emotional intelligence by firstly talking about the science of emotions and then positioning, what is emotional intelligence? I think that helps us really understand the full value of the concept. So, if you look into the science of emotions, you’ll see that the way we feel influences three very important parts of ourselves. Firstly, the way we feel influences our thoughts and the decisions that we make. At work, you wouldn’t ask the boss for a pay rise or more resources if the boss was in a bad mood, right because the boss is much more likely to say.

Marie [00:01:02] Nope.

Ben [00:01:04] Yes, secondly, emotions show up in our tone of voice, in our facial expressions, in our body language. So, they’re very much a part of our behaviour. And because of that, they’re integral to how we connect, communicate, collaborate with each other. And finally, the way we feel influences the way we perform. One of the most robust findings in the social sciences, by way of example, is that in workplaces where people typically experience more pleasant emotions than unpleasant, they far outperform organisations where people more prominently experience unpleasant emotions. So, where people feel valued, cared for, consulted, informed, understood, those kind of workplaces on average far outperform organisations where people feel on average, worried, concerned, anxious, stressed, tired and so on. So, if that’s the backdrop, the way we feel influences the way we think and make decisions, the way we behave and the way we perform, what emotional intelligence is a set of skills that help us perceive and understand and effectively respond to emotions. These skills of emotional intelligence can help us make more informed and better decisions. They can help us interact, communicate, collaborate more effectively with people, and ultimately, they can help us perform. And that’s why emotional intelligence is so important in workplaces.

Marie [00:02:23] And so who should develop it?

Ben [00:02:26] Well, first and foremost, I think emotional intelligence should be developed in people who perform roles where there is a high level of emotional labour and emotional regulation required. We’re going to talk with some people in education that’s another job, think about leading a school or being a schoolteacher. You’re constantly, you know, dealing with emotions. You have the potential and future of young people in your hands. And with that sort of high stakes environment come heightened emotions. One minute a school principal can be promoting student of the week. The next they can be dealing with a difficult period over one of the most sensitive topics that a parent or a student or school ever will deal with and haven’t there been a few schools dealing with that lately. And the next minute you can be helping a single student through personal crisis. So, in other words, occupations that involve high levels of emotional labour and require high levels of emotional regulation should be a no brainer for emotional intelligence. Leadership has become that as well. So, lots in different leadership roles really now we look to leaders not only for guidance on how we should do our work, but leaders should be creating that kind of workplace culture where people feel valued, cared for, consulted, informed, understood. And that’s why emotional intelligence is seen right now as we emerge from COVID as one of the most critical skills for leaders as we look into this decade, I should say, and beyond. The other roles that emotional intelligence is really a big predictor of success in are those that have a high interpersonal component, marketing, sales, customer service and even those roles that require actually good empathy. So think about Web X designers and online user interfaces and things like that. Those jobs, digital transformation skills combined with emotional intelligence is the emotional intelligence is helping them think about actually how to make this technical stuff work for the end user and the typical Joe blokes at the end of the computer, i.e. myself, those kind of roles now really require good empathy, good awareness of others, the capacity to create an experience online for people that brings beneficial effects.

Marie [00:04:42] So what is the Genos model?

Ben [00:04:45] If you look into emotional intelligence, there is kind of three approaches. There is what is called the ability approach where you’re looking at people’s actual abilities, then there’s called the trade approach, which looks at people’s preferences for emotions. You know, I find it easy to talk about the way I feel. I find it easy to reflect on my feelings. And then there is the competency approach, which really looks at how well you demonstrate emotional intelligence. And that’s the approach that Genos has gone down. We think the other approaches are very important but we think organisations are mostly interested in what you do, not what your preferences are or what abilities you might have. You know, very bright people do very stupid things; very emotionally intelligent people sometimes use it for good and sometimes use it for evil. And so with our approach, we’re looking at the positive demonstration and use of emotional intelligence, whether you demonstrate the behaviours of it. So, yes that’s what the Genos model really is. It’s a competency based model measured through behaviours that help you understand how well you’re demonstrating your self-awareness, how well you’re demonstrating your empathy, how authentically you are able to express how you feel and create a culture of vulnerability and openness, how well you reason at an emotional level, how well you demonstrate to others your emotional management capabilities. Are you John McEnroe or are you Bjorn Borg or are you somewhere in between? And finally, something my mother is very good at, how well you actually demonstrate the skills of being able to positively influence the way others feel. They’re the six competencies of the Genos approach,

Marie [00:06:17] And it’s obviously doing really well because it’s exported globally, what difference does it make to organisations?

Ben [00:06:26] It makes a difference to productivity and workplace performance, if you think again about the science of EI, what you’re literally doing is sharpening people’s decisions, helping people get along, collaborate, communicate, and connect with each other more effectively. If you’re working with sales and customer service, you’re improving those variables. And so, for businesses, you get productivity enhancements, customer loyalty, customer profitability on the top end. But emotional intelligence is also shown to be critical to our job satisfaction, to our capacity to cope with change, to how we experience stress and ultimately our well-being. So, when you develop an emotionally intelligent organisation, essentially what you’re also doing is reducing stress, increasing engagement, improving your employment brand, helping people be more open to and embracing change. And with that, you’re reducing a lot of H.R. related costs. So, we call emotional intelligence the bar line for our company, as you know, is game changing for business and life changing for people. So, the second part of that, why is it life changing for people? Well, because you’re not only helping them be a better colleague or a better leader or a better customer salesperson, you’re also helping them be a better partner, a better sibling, a better friend, a better parent. You know, I get tickled pink when people say that the team’s a bit more engaged but I’m getting along better with my 15-year-old that’s the sort of thing that really Genos is in business for, making emotional intelligence game changing for business and life changing for people.

Marie [00:07:58] Great, thank you, Ben, really excited to be working on this important podcast with you, especially at this very important time. So do join in as we take a look at the impact of emotional intelligence at work all around the world.

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