By: Daniella Lee
In today’s job market, it’s hard to find work and even harder to keep it. The workplace can be so cut-throat that getting stabbed in the back happens as often as running out of post-its. Okay, so this may be a little far fetched but I’m sure there is an Omarosa near your cubicle. So what can you do to make sure you stand out from the other employees, like that crazy bitch in accounting? Make sure to pay attention to your emotions, and don’t let anyone mess with your paperwork.
Staying smart with your emotions has become a hot topic between your boss, management and the HR department. Emotional Intelligence (EI) is the ability to control your emotions and utilize them when working in groups toward a universal goal. Employers see this as a crucial skill. This interest comes from research stating that EI is a predictor in job performance, negotiations, leadership, trust, work-family conflict and stress (pretty much everything you need to survive a typical 9-to-5 job). A study conducted by Ernest H. Boyle, Ronald H. Humphrey and associates at the Virgina Commonwealth University specifically looked into the relationship between emotional intelligence and job performance.
What does it mean to be emotionally intelligent? Boyle and Humphrey pull from previous research to operationalize their definition of EI.
“The sets of abilities (verbal and nonverbal) that enable a person to generate, recognize, express, understand, and evaluate their own, and others, emotions in order to guide thinking and action that successfully cope with environmental demands and pressures.” (Rooy and Viswesvaran)
Boyle and Humphrey gathered data from 43 studies and performed a 3-part test to classify their findings. These series of tests, known as EI streams, measured EI and its effect on job performance. The first stream was a four-branch ability test which categorizes that EI into different branches. They were perception and expression of emotion, emotional facilitation of thinking, understanding and analyzing emotions and employing emotional knowledge. The second stream used a self-report measure to capture the emotions that employees were feeling the workplace. The final stream used to measure the data was a traditional test to measure social skills. These guys are thorough.
The EI streams measured the main concepts behind EI. Boyle and Humphrey’s main hypothesis in this study was to prove that all three EI streams are correlated with job performance. Each section of the test confirmed Boyle and Humphrey’s main hypothesis. “The three streams of EI research, ability measures, self- and peer-report measures, and mixed models, all predict job performance equally.”
The ability to control your emotions and understand those of your co-workers tends to result in better job performance and, more importantly, can help you dominate in the workplace. EI helps with group tasks, customer service, and those with a high level of EI can persuade the moods of others. (Boyle and Humphrey, 2010: 77). The next time you talk to that sucky co-worker with a bad attitude you can flip her mood if you’re an EI jedi.
Coping with the stress and pressure of a fast-paced career can make us or break us. The workforce is becoming more competitive and being able to stand out means brushing up on your EI. Employers are looking for people who can control their emotions and influence the emotions of others around them. EI can up your job performance and the next time you have to work on a project with that lady from accounting (she really is a total bitch) you’ll be able to get her to play nice.
The Relation Between Emotional Intelligence And Job Performance: A Meta-Analysis
By: Ernest H. O’Boyle Jr., Ronald H. Humphrey, Jeffrey M. Pollack, Thomas H. Hawver and Paul A. Story
Virginia Commonwealth University. Richmond, VA
Journal of Organizational Behavior 2010