Why emotional balance is key to success in the workplace

According to a recent study, employees with high Emotional Intelligence (EI) are likely to cope better with stress, be more dedicated to their jobs, and display a greater sense of empathy for colleagues. Expert advice on ways to boost your EI

According to a recent study by Galit Meisler of the University of Haifa in Israel, employees with higher Emotional Intelligence (EI), also known as EQ, are more satisfied with and dedicated to their jobs.

Defined as the ability to identify, access and control one's emotions, and that of others, a high EI translates into emotional stability, helping an individual deal with work stress and act positively in work situations.

According to psychologist Varkha Chulani, employees who indulge in office politics are low on EI, and exhibit their insecurities through jealousy and rage. "These emotional imbalances are not good for the office environment," she says, adding, "An EQ test could help organisations hire employees who are more emotionally balanced."

Akshay Mishra, assistant vice-president with a financial firm, agrees with the findings of the study. "As a team leader I have to constantly deal with stress, while staying positive towards my team," he says.

He goes on to give an example of a colleague who failed to meet any of her sales targets. "I was forced to give that client's account to someone else. Instead of trying to prove her capabilities, she went directly to the client without first speaking to me. That demonstrated low EI on her part," says Akshay.

Psychiatrist Anjali Chhabria confirms that people with higher EI do better at work because they are able to understand and express emotions more appropriately than others. "Emotional distress can become a cause for low efficiency. Effectively managing stress and positively coping with it are traits of a person with high EI. People with high EI also exhibit effective leadership skills as they are able to empathise with others and relate to them in an effective manner," she says.

About the study

According to the study by Galit Meisler, a researcher at the University of Haifa, Israel, employees with higher levels of EI are more satisfied with and dedicated to their jobs. The research implies that employers can make an educated guess about whether employees will be happy at work by measuring EI.

Meisler surveyed 809 employees in two public organisations and two private companies. He examined the effects of EI on office politics, employees' attitudes, feelings of justice and burnout. Employees who did not analyse and control their emotions demonstrated unfavourable attitudes such as burnout, desire to quit, and negligent behaviour.

Mind your body language

Master eye contact, facial expressions, tone of voice, posture, timing, and pace to be perceived as someone who is positive, ready to listen, invested in the work, and interested in the welfare of colleagues.

Deal with it

High stress levels can throw rational thinking, and decision-making out the window. Develop coping mechanisms and stress-busting skills to stay balanced, focused, and in control.

Have a sense of humour

Use humour to deal with challenges. Humour will help you take hardships in your stride, bounce back from setbacks and petty annoyances, relax and compel you to seek creative solutions..

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