Emotionally Intelligent Culture

Developing Emotionally Intelligent cultures at work – why?

Emotional intelligence is normally defined as a set of competencies that allow people to behave in an intelligent way, both within themselves and socially. People with good intelligence are responsible, resilient and resourceful. A growing body of evidence says that it is the deciding factor in success in business and in life. Yet changing to an emotionally intelligent culture, an idea many people do not feel confident about, or know how to be, will be a challenge.

Most of us have experienced organisations where traditional, tough-it-out cultures are deeply embedded. Where personal wellbeing and social needs are seen as the employees responsibility. Where managers in post have gained their positions within that framework, and have no interest in changing. Where the system has selected people who have a particular skill set, and it does not always include emotional sensitivity or responsiveness. Before you can change anything, you need to teach the skills that are essential for developing emotional intelligence in the workplace.

Key skills for success – the management of self.

The competencies of emotional intelligence all rest on a small number of key personal skills. These can be defined as the ability to understand and interpret emotional behaviour, and the ability to control one’s self using conscious thinking. These are technical abilities that can easily be taught by someone who has been trained to do so. It is a form of mental training that quickly shows learners how to manage the energy in their bodies, and make decisions about what to do with it. That is the secret.

People have been learning these skills for thousands of years. But the contexts of learning have changed in the western world. Many people do not get to experience the learning processes that create good emotional control. Modern psychology is now revealing and addressing these skills. Books are published daily and a range of suppliers now offer training in emotional skills, working at the competency or key skills levels. The future for more emotionally intelligent culture is promising for lots of reasons.

The consequences of poor emotional skills

Poor EI skills are a source of serious problems in businesses, and in all organisations that rely on human relationships. People with poorly developed emotional skills are:-

  • insensitive to what is going on around them
  • emotionally reactive
  • easily stressed
  • can shut down or go into defensive or aggressive modes when challenged
  • have poor personnel management skills
  • little understanding of the impact of their behaviour or decisions on others
  • are rigid, inflexible and slow to learn from experience
  • will be the bullies or the bullied,

The writing has been on the wall for businesses that condone abusive attitudes for some time. Post-Covid the idea that things might go back to normal is well and truly dead. The renewed focus on mental and emotional health and wellbeing requires all organisations to address their current culture. Public scrutiny is a harsh judge, and demands that companies ensure employees are safe and well supported by managers with the skills and personal development to do so. The reputations of businesses large and small rely on their getting this right.

Tackling Bullying

Bullying is a hard wired behaviour that everyone is born with. It derives from our primate origins, and happens when people have not learned the skills to counter and overwrite the chimp pattern. What works in a pack of animals does not work in a modern workplace. The whole purpose of emotional intelligence is to allow us to overcome old behaviours and learn new ones. And the law is clear on the responsibilities of companies to protect employees from harm. Knowing how to do this is another matter.

When more skilful people in powerful positions maintain tight control of the environment this can be helpful, but the people at the top bullying the bully is not changing anything at all. Often bullying will be driven underground and happen anyway. What is needed is education, learning and development. Emotionally skilled people do not bully. Simple skills training can release the internal pressure that drives bullying, and equip people with the skill they need to be a more supportive and supported member of the team.

The cost of failure

Poor EI skills in managers will drive away talent from your company or organisation. Because insecure managers never permit free or honest communications in their area of influence, you may never know why the best employees you had left the company, and took your customers with them. Attracting new staff when you have a reputations for harbouring bullies is likely to be difficult in a socially connected business environment. If enabling your staff to function at their best and work more creatively is not reason enough, avoiding the damage to your company that comes from poor emotional relations may be what drives you to act.

Emotionally Intelligent Cultures respect human qualities

An image of people working in an emotionally intelligent culture. Photo by Ronald Candonga
People work well together in an emotionally intelligent Culture

Emotionally intelligent people are;

  • competent, resilient, fast learners and good communicators
  • enjoy better health and wellbeing in every way that matters
  • they understand themselves and other people and can work with them in ways that are accepting, creative and sustainable
  • recognise interpersonal problems before they happen
  • take sensible and supportive actions to avoid crises, deal with practical issues and support their team while they get through the problem
  • understand people at a deep level and know how they will be impacted by events and systems
  • Customers will ask for them by name, trust them to help, and will develop loyalty to them that can supersede their relationship with the organisation; if they leave, their clients will go with them.

Isn’t emotional intelligence a matter of personality?

The important factor to remember is that these skills are learned. Everyone has skills, we learn them from our families and our social networks throughout life, and from dealing with the challenges that life throws at us. Early years at work are particularly important in shaping emotional behaviour at work. And teams that come together from different places will demonstrate very different patterns of behaviour at work. That’s why it is good to employ different types of people, it covers all the bases.

The growth of the female presence in the workplace is a key factor in the pressure to upgrade skills in managers who have been raised in masculine and abusive cultures. Women have learned different skills, and can bring those into the workplace. They know that people work better when they feel happy and supported, and large numbers of female founders set up their own businesses because they will not work in old fashioned, emotionally abusive organisations. Bullies develop their own competitors.

Bringing training into the workplace

People who have been lucky enough to learn good EI skills find training easy and enjoyable. Experience and research show that it is learners who have not been so lucky who get the most from training and coaching. The relief from pressure and sense of freedom from distress that come from learning skills are highly rewarding. And as soon as people have the key abilities in place, they rapidly develop the competencies of emotional intelligence. Feeling better is it’s own reward.

Taking control of your inner engine is liberating. Training will not change personality or take away one’s feelings, it makes bad emotional drivers into better, happier road users. It is not possible to be damaged by having better emotional skills.

Does training work for everyone?

Not everyone will be able to benefit from training . People in crisis require healing, not training. While training will not harm them, it may be difficult for them to cope with the challenge. All trainees with Campbell Education are required to complete the application process, which is designed to identify individuals who are not ready for training at this time.

The second group who do not gain much from training are those who are too heavily invested in creating distress and mayhem in order to manipulate others. Other people do benefit from training in being better able to cope with the drama they create. For anyone working with difficult customers or stressful colleagues, dramas don’t need to be critical if you are in control of your own gearbox.

How can I bring emotionally intelligent culture into my organisation?

Equipping staff with a shared set of skills, a mutual language to allow communication, and a modern understanding of emotional events is a great way to start.

Campbell Education offers training and coaching in the key skills that underpin emotional intelligence. Helen Campbell can train groups in basic skills using a technical training approach designed specifically for workplaces. Technical Performance Training has been developed with men in mind, but will suit anyone who is able to cope with life and has the most basic grasp of technology.

Ensuring that managers are well developed really matters. Teaching them first, and helping them bring their new skill to their teams, is a powerful way to bring change. Teams can be trained in workshop settings, and doing this with the help of their own managers gives a powerful message. Management and executive coaching works by challenging past assumptions in a non-judgemental way. It teaches the basic skills in the context of work and supports managers as they work to apply their learning to the department in their care. Dismantling obstacles to thinking using painless and private techniques means that emotions become the powerhouse of your business, not the problems. That is the essence of emotionally intelligent culture.

Finding out more

Whether you choose to focus on tackling problems, or aim for cultural excellence, creating an emotional revolution in your business or organisation may be the best investment in your staff you ever make. Training and coaching with Helen uses training techniques that are unavailable elsewhere. They are non-judgemental and value free and do not conflict with belief systems. There is no downside to learning emotional skills, and everything to gain. Contact the office or book a discovery call for a conversation on how staff training can improve your organizational performance.

Email: campbelleducation.co.uk

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