Emotional intelligence is about how well or how poorly we relate to ourselves and to other people around us. Very simply put, emotional intelligence is the ability to manage, recognize and understand our emotions, as well as those of others.
Our lives have been upended by a sea of change. Change affects our emotions. Emotional intelligence helps us to handle those changes reasonably well, even if we don’t like them. The way we work has changed. Some are remote, some are half and half, some are entirely on site. It takes emotional intelligence to adapt to these changes. Emotionally intelligent people are more adaptable.
Our screen time has skyrocketed. The more we feed our screen time, the less we nourish our emotional life. The more we are connected electronically, the less we are connected emotionally.
Many people feel starved emotionally, especially with the physical estrangement we have been experiencing. Emotional intelligence is the finest nutrition to satisfy emotional hunger. When someone is hungry for food, we give them a plate of rice or a piece of bread, and that hunger can be satisfied. But the hunger of someone who feels alone, unwanted, unheard, that hunger is far more difficult to satisfy. Indeed, emotional hunger is one of the most painful types of hunger to experience in life because the feelings of being unwanted goes deep.
Emotionally intelligent people leave others in a state of increase.
Whoever walks in and out of your life, try to leave them in a state of increase. Whether it’s an email, face-to-face conversation or a Tweet, try to add something to another person’s life rather than withdraw. Sometimes we are given just five seconds to make a permanent impression on another person’s life, and other times we are given five years. Emotionally intelligent people use that fraction of time to leave them in a state of increase. It boils down to how we want to be remembered.
Emotionally intelligent people leave people, places and jobs better than they found them.
They are lifters. They understand a very basic human principle. That in any encounter, whether it’s a Tweet, an email or face-to-face conversation, they leave a good aftertaste. It’s about how you make someone else feel long after that encounter has taken place.
People weak in emotional intelligence leave a poor aftertaste. Have you ever had to pick up after a former employee left and you didn’t know the password to open a software program, so you had to pay an IT guy to break the code? They left your office in a worse state than they found it. That’s an example of leaving a poor aftertaste in the workplace.
Knowing how to address employee absenteeism helps to create an emotionally engaged workforce. Here are some steps you can take and questions to ask yourself:
- Minimize the behind-the-scenes activity by bringing relevant office matters out into the open.
- If there is indifference toward two employees, talk to them to find out why.
- Is there one toxic employee who is infecting everyone? Do something about that employee. Either give a warning or fire them, if you have the authority to do that.
- Would flex work schedules better support emotional engagement?
- What about hosting a company retreat to create an emotionally engaged workforce?
- Have a disengaged employee? Let them in on the big picture. Make them feel like they are a part of the larger picture of your company and are not working in solitary confinement of their home. It makes employees feel purposeful.
- Set clear expectations, particularly for those who are working 100% remote and are left to their own devices. They are more likely to get disengaged quickly.
- Uncover hidden talents that are completely unrelated to work. For example, Sarah, who does credentialing, has been working for eight years on that job and is a disengaged employee. In a conversation, you gather that Sarah loves to make sushi – totally unrelated to her job. How do you capitalize on that talent and interest? Ask Sarah if she would be willing to do a sushi-making class for the staff next week.
- When you share news and updates, don’t only share the good news. Share the bad too. You don’t want to sweep problems under the rug. I have found that people relate better to struggles rather than achievements.
- When a disengaged employee comes up to you, actively listen. If they open up to you, there is a level of trust that they have in you. Don’t betray that trust.
Those are ten emotionally healthy ways to handle employee absenteeism and disengagement, thereby creating more emotionally intelligent employees.
About Preethi Fernando
Preethi Fernando, the writer of "Emotional Intelligence," is an author of 12 books and a keynote speaker. She leads webinar workshops, training and seminars for companies and organizations. Preethi is originally from the exotic island of Sri Lanka and now calls beautiful Colorado her home. To contact or schedule Preethi for a speaking engagement or webinar, you can email her directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.