Think about your favorite people you’ve worked with. Yes, they were good at their jobs but that is probably not why you remember them so fondly. In all likelihood, it was the attitude they brought to work every day that stands out. Great colleagues are friendly, supportive, encouraging, and an overall positive presence in the workplace.
Unfortunately, people aren’t formally taught how to be great colleagues. It takes years of life experience and self-awareness to learn what we can do better when working alongside others.
Using a modern performance review process, your organization can assess employees on a wide range of factors, including emotional intelligence (commonly referred to as EQ). The evaluation and ensuing conversation between employee and manager help each team member learn how they can improve at conducting themselves in a professional setting.
Most of us intuitively know what emotional intelligence is. We’ve seen the full gamut of how people handle their emotions and understand there are right and wrong ways to express our feelings.
But before we move forward, the official definition of EQ from Psychology Today is worth getting familiar with:
“Emotional intelligence is generally said to include at least three skills: emotional awareness, or the ability to identify and name one’s own emotions; the ability to harness those emotions and apply them to tasks like thinking and problem solving; and the ability to manage emotions, which includes both regulating one’s own emotions when necessary and helping others to do the same”
The workplace presents challenges we don’t experience in other areas of life. And given that our jobs take so much of our time and energy, we must remain level headed when things get tough. Let’s apply the three factors in the above definition to common work experiences and build a profile of an emotionally intelligent employee:
When a bout of stress inevitable hits an employee, they must stay composed and do whatever stress relievers work best for them. They should also work to resolve the source of the stress by effectively managing their time or discussing priorities with their manager. And if they see a teammate is having a hard time, they should offer a helping hand.
A great employee is open to how they can improve at what they do. They take feedback to heart and try to incorporate it into their work. And effective managers know how to deliver feedback in a calm and straightforward way, using examples to support their claims.
No one does their job perfectly. Employees should accept when they failed to reach a goal and avoid making unreasonable excuses or blaming others. They should also commit to learning from the experience and make strides to do better next time.
Regardless of their place on the org chart, employees should be friendly and supportive to everyone they work with. That means treating colleagues with respect and collaborating with others to accomplish common goals that help the organization succeed.
Emotional intelligence doesn’t mean unrelenting positivity. Things go wrong at work and employees should notice issues and resolve them with tact. That might require having tough conversations in a calm yet direct manner.
Self-awareness and a desire to grow are cornerstones of EQ. Employees should already have an idea of how they can improve at expressing their emotions and interacting with others during challenging situations.
Evaluating employees on imprecise factors like emotional intelligence requires a delicate approach. We recommend using a documented, HR-lead performance review process where employees are evaluated on a range of competencies, including the following EQ-focused criteria:
Additionally, you should create an employee performance review process that emphasizes emotional intelligence. The points below will help you evaluate EQ from all angles:
The simple act of including EQ factors in your performance reviews will help each employee consider if they’re the best person they can be in the workplace. They’ll see your organization values emotional intelligence as much as job performance and will harness all their feelings into productive and supportive energy.