If you frequently observe team members hugging, laughing or even saying, “you rock” or, “I so appreciate you,” you are witnessing healthy workplace love. Yes, appropriate love in the workplace is a great thing! Obviously, we are not talking about inappropriate sexual harassment -- that's a whole different story. But there is something to be said for an environment where people feel comfortable expressing appreciation, respect and caring for their co-workers.
When employees can feel really comfortable and supported in the workplace, magic can happen -- innovation peaks, creativity stirs and collaboration naturally happen. This is how really great results are produced. When you create an environment where “we win” is supported over “I win,” you will create a much more supportive and collaborative work environment. And what’s not to love about that?
Beyond the feel-good vibes of having a positive work environment, a high level of emotional intelligence is also the strongest predictor of performance success, according to a study by TalentSmart.
According to Daniel Goleman, the author of Emotional Intelligence, five key components constitute a person’s level of emotional intelligence (EQ); self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy and social skills. A person’s level of EQ affects how he or she manages behavior, navigates social complexities and makes personal decisions that achieve positive results.
EQ at work
In a workplace where EQ components are evident, co-workers have high levels of trust in each other, so they feel secure in taking risks, sharing ideas and finding creative ways to solve problems. When conflicts or issues arise, they are handled maturely and efficiently. Workers with high EQ are better able to work in teams, adjust to change and be flexible.
However, in a workplace where emotional intelligence is at a lower level, people feel unappreciated and overworked. They are often unwilling to help each other. It’s easy to see how such a workplace can quickly lead to low morale and stalled projects.
Building better EQ
When hiring new employees, you can aim to hire those with high EQ levels, or you can work to improve the existing EQ among your employees. Begin by modeling emotionally intelligent behaviors such as:
1. Embrace differences. Most workplaces today are extremely diverse. Backgrounds, life experiences, choices and worldviews -- we all bring something different to the table. You don’t have to become an advocate for each person’s unique traits, but you can embrace those differences to benefit the workplace as a whole. Do this by looking for ways to assign people with unique talents and abilities to certain situations where they would be a good fit and by looking for common ground among people and celebrating both the similarities and the differences.
2. Listen deeply. Focus on listening as much as you talk. Every person has a need to feel heard, and being a good listener can help your employees feel that they have a voice. Even if you can’t implement an employee’s idea or solve a problem she may have, your willingness to listen will make a difference.
3. Care about others -- and show it. It may seem easy to simply care about your employees, but it can be difficult for some bosses to show it in a genuine way. Take time to understand your employees’ points of view, and make exceptions to the rules when necessary. Make it a priority to express your appreciation to them in a genuine way.
If emotional intelligence is something that your workplace just doesn’t embrace, consider making an argument for how this can effect not just employee morale, but your company’s stock performance too. Glassdoor Chief Economist Andrew Chamberlain recently found an important economic link between company intangibles, such as employee satisfaction, and broader financial performance among large publicly held companies. In fact, a multi-year financial analysis revealed public companies recognized for high employee ratings outperform the Standard & Poor (S&P) 500 by 122 percent.
So don’t be afraid of a workplace where employees love each other. This could be the key to achieving your organization’s goals.