I read an interesting story on emotional intelligence in the workplace in the Guardian this weekend, which I couldn’t resist sharing. The article is based on a recent report from occupational psychologists JCA, which studied 12,400 workers from 2001 to 2010, the results of which got me fairly worried.

According to the survey the “art of identifying, understanding and managing your emotions – and those of others – to improve you performance has, apparently declined since the start of the financial crisis.” Yes this decline is to be expected as staff come under increasing pressures at work, but it doesn’t mean the issue should be ignored by employers.

Emotional intelligence is one of a&dc’s five core elements of leadership and is something which we believe shouldn’t be underestimated. It is just as important to assess, manage and develop an employee’s emotional intelligence as it is their skills and competencies, as it will play an important part in their day to day roles.

To really understand how important this quality is in employees, we need to look at the attributes which make up emotional intelligence. You can break emotional intelligence down into sub-components; ability to recognise and mange your own and others’ emotions, manage the impact of emotions on others, influence peers and manage interpersonal sensitivity.

Each of these attributes will have an impact on how a team works together, how an employee works with stakeholders and how each member of staff works with their employer, and will contribute to an employee’s understanding of others’ views and how to get their point across coherently. Without the ability to do this, teams can quite easily become disconnected and productivity levels can decrease.

How then do you measure this fairly intangible attribute? At a&dc we use a variety of tools to do this, including:

·         Psychometric tools such as emotional intelligence tests

·         Business simulations including a role play or group exercise

·         360° feedback

Using one or all of these tools it is possible to assess where an employee is now in terms of emotional intelligence and integrate development programmes into their personal targets to help them grow and improve this skill. As the research shows, there has been a decrease in the use of emotional intelligence in the workplace.  I would say this is something organisations need to do now before the full effect has an impact on productivity amongst the team. Do you measure employees’ emotional intelligence? How has it benefitted you and your workforce?