People have different needs, wants, personalities and experience various problems in life. This fact translates to the idea that everybody has his or her way of expressing emotions. Becoming successful in life, therefore, requires the skill of managing emotions and solving problems. Critical in this is emotional intelligence: the ability to identify and manage one’s emotions and that of others. It also involves harnessing emotions during problem-solving and when developing interpersonal relationships with other people either at the workplace or home. Individuals who have the ability to control or manage their emotions are more likely than others, to build healthy relationships with other people. Also, they are likely to address or look at problems calmly as they do not get angry easily. Developing and using emotional intelligence is important not only in our personal lives and at home but also in the workplace. It is especially important when managing stress at the workplace, building working relationships with co-workers and when communicating with a workforce containing workers having different cultural and ethnic backgrounds. The following paper aims to demonstrate the use of emotional intelligence in the workplace when communicating to a diverse workforce and when managing stress and building workplace relationships.
With the growth of ethnic diversity, most organizations in the United States and elsewhere across the world are hiring workers with different cultural beliefs, values, and perception. Realizing that embracing cultural diversity at the workplace has a significant influence on performance, productivity, and reputation of the company, most organization managers seek to have a diverse workforce. This includes a balance of, amongst others, gender, language, capabilities cultural values and beliefs. As earlier mentioned, everybody has a unique of expressing emotions towards other people. For this reason, it is important for business managers to display emotional intelligence in their practice as leaders (Kite & Kay, 2012).They should understand that all workers have unique values, preferences, and needs. Employees, on the other hand, should use their emotional intelligence when communicating with co-workers, putting into consideration cultural and language differences (Farr & Tippins, 2013).
It is important to note that leaders often experience emotions that significantly influence their ability to lead the employees in the workplace, especially if the workforce is culturally diverse (Farr & Tippins, 2013). In this case, they may have emotions that promote or undermine their ability to lead. It is also worth noting that emotions are expressed in different cultures, differently. In a larger picture, the difference relates to how an individual interprets the emotions as they are expressed by other people from different cultures. Take, for instance, two workers working at the same workplace where one employee is a Taiwan national and another is an American national. How the Taiwan worker experiences his or her emotions influences how the other worker interprets the emotions or feelings displayed by that worker. The Taiwan worker’s emotions can be interpreted through his or her body language or facial expressions. Another example that shows how emotions are displayed in other cultures is when, for example, an employee is working in a firm located in a foreign country. In this case, such an employee would express feelings that would influence how another worker from that country interprets the emotions.
Another way in which emotions are expressed in different cultures at the workplace is through beliefs and values. For example, workers from the Muslim faith may display emotions or feelings in response to organizational policies that perhaps, hinder them from exercising their cultural practices linked to their religion. Some organization managers, in this case, would misinterpret such workers’ emotions, assuming that they the types of workers who only want to ignore the policies of the company. Having this perception negatively affects the way the managers interact with all workers from the Muslim faith.
As part of leadership, it is important for leaders to acquire emotional intelligence at the workplace if they are to positively influence the performance of the workers (Gleeson &Crace, 2014). More specifically, they should have the ability to communicate with a culturally diverse workforce. It is true that managers lacking in emotional intelligence are less likely to gauge the expectations and needs of the employees. Also, managers who react without filtering their emotions and feelings are more likely create mistrust among the employees, thus jeopardizing working relationships (Gleeson &Crace, 2014). Employees who also react erroneously out of emotions are likely to have negative attitudes, feelings, and perceptions towards the company. This is a situation that may compel them to quit their job. To effectively communicate with a diverse workforce, managers ought to develop emotional intelligence and understand how to use it in their leadership (Davenport).
In relationship management, an employee should understand his or her emotions together with those of other workers to build and maintain strong working relationships (Chang, 2015). Relationship management involves not only ability to understand the emotions of others (Exforsys, 2010; Chang, 2015) but also incorporates the ability to lead, persuade and communicate with other without isolating any worker. This is an important aspect that would assist an employee to inspire and help other to realize their potential at the workplace (Exforsys, 2010).
Incorporating emotional intelligence at the place of work relates to the functionality of people and relationships. Relationships, in this case, may involve relationships between the top management team (directors) and between the staff. Working relationships also involves the relationship between an organization and its suppliers, networking contacts, customers and other key stakeholders that have a significant influence or contribution in the business (Dwyer, 2012).Therefore, both managers and employees can use their emotional intelligence to develop working relationships through many ways like managing conflicts at the workplace (Cherniss & Goleman, 2001).Conflicts at the workplace may arise, for example, due to harsh treatment by some senior leaders or implementation of policies that favor a small group of the workers. As a leader with emotional intelligence, the organization manager should not react out of emotions, but rather intervene by first identifying the views and perception of all the employees regarding the newly implemented policies. Secondly, the manager should allow the employees to give their opinions on what is best for the company. By doing this, the manager can internalize the feelings and thoughts of the workers, and the give the final decision without oppressing any employee. What matters most, in this case, is partnership, teamwork, leadership and management skills.Founded on an outstanding practice, emotionally intelligent leaders excel in improving the performance of the workers and that of the organization as a whole. Emotionally intelligent firms have a workforce that is motivated, efficient, confident, happy and committed to duties (Dwyer, 2012).
In conclusion, emotional intelligence is an aspect that influences human interaction at home and the workplace. It focuses on how we access other people and how we build relationships with them. From the paper, it is clear that emotional intelligence is important in the workplace as it enables organization managers to communicate with a diverse workforce without alienating any worker. Other than helping in building workplace relationships, emotional intelligence also helps in improving the performance and productivity of the business. Businesses whose workers are emotionally intelligent work efficiently, effectively and with great confidence and motivation. I, therefore, believe that emotional intelligence is vital in organizational leadership. For this reasons, organization should include emotional intelligence as a deciding factor when selecting new personnel to head the various departments in the company.
Chang, A &Ee, J. (2015). Preparing Youths for the Workplace. World Scientific.
Cherniss, C., & Goleman, D. (2001). The emotionally intelligent workplace: How to select for measure, and improve emotional intelligence in individuals, groups, and organizations. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Davenport, B. (n.d.). 5 Ways To Boost Emotional Intelligence In The Workplace. Retrieved from https://liveboldandbloom.com/02/self-awareness-2/emotional-intelligence-workplace
Dwyer, J. (2012). Communication for Business and the Professions: Strategie s and Skills.
Exforsys. (2010, March 21). Using Emotional Intelligence to Build Relationships. Retrieved from https://www.exforsys.com/career-center/relationship-management/emotional- intelligence-build-relationships.html
Farr, J. L., & Tippins, N. T. (2013). Handbook of Employee Selection. Hoboken: Taylor and Francis.
Gleeson, B., &Crace, D. (2014, November 29). The Use of Emotional Intelligence For Effective Leadership. Retrieved from https://www.forbes.com/sites/brentgleeson/2014/12/29/the- use-of-emotional-intelligence-for-effective-leadership/#10b1c4765618
Kite, N., & Kay, F. (2012). Understanding emotional intelligence: Strategies for boosting your EQ and using it in the workplace. London: Kogan Page.
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