In the last few decades, psychologists have recognised emotional intelligence as a valuable skill to help improve communication, management, problem-solving, and relationships within the workplace. Emotional intelligence is especially important in multiculturally diverse organisations. How does it help exactly? And how can organisations cultivate it?
Better understanding leads to a happier workplace
Great effort to increase emotional intelligence in so many workplaces has been made so that employees are more self-aware, can better manage their emotions, and understand others.
Self-awareness is the ability to understand yourself better and the emotions that you are feeling. Understanding how you respond to certain situations can lead to better management of your emotions. Employees also need to understand how their reactions in certain situations can impact others.
This then leads to a better understanding of others and understanding the nuances of human emotion in the workplace, which leads to better collaboration among employees and a happier workplace in general.
How can organisations cultivate it?
It sounds more work than it actually is. Emotional intelligence just requires one to stop and think about a certain situation, rather than immediately responding. It’s like hitting the pause button for a second to analyse what you’re feeling before you hit the play button again.
For diverse organisations, this can be very effective especially when dealing with cultural differences. Before getting offended by a co-worker’s remark, stop and think about the person who made the remark and think about his cultural background. Is his remark offensive in his culture? Or it is a usual remark that is shared within his culture?
Another way of cultivating emotional intelligence in a diverse organisation is to show empathy for others. Put yourself in their shoes and think about how they will react to the things you say or do. For you to be able to do this, you need to be aware of their culture and background. You need to do your research so you understand what is offensive and not offensive for them.
Lastly, it is important to practice the skill of listening to understand, not to respond. When there is a conflict, it is only natural to defend yourself when you feel threatened. However, being defensive only heightens the conflict. What can be done? Instead of immediately responding to someone by defending yourself, try to listen and understand where they are coming from. This can be done by displaying empathy. Empathy plays a large role in this because you can only understand someone if you know what they are feeling or going through.
Understanding diversity in cultures is important to keep the workplace a safe and happy place to work in. It is important that leaders give importance to promoting emotional intelligence with their employees. This is essential to the success of any culturally diverse organisation.
If you are looking to improve emotional intelligence in your organisation, enquire about our global leadership immersion program now. Get in touch with us today and we can get started in cultivating a culturally diverse organisation for you.