It is hard to believe that Daniel Goleman’s book ‘Emotional Intelligence: Why it can matter more than IQ’ has now been published for nearly 20 years.
I first came across the concept 14 years ago and, at that time, it was still relatively new and was only starting to be incorporated into leadership and education settings in the UK. These days, I would be surprised to find a leadership course that didn't include it as a key part of developing the skills required for effective engagement with your staff.
But, to me, that seems to be the problem with so much emotional intelligence training. It has, in many cases, become the reserve of leadership training, whilst employees in roles that are not considered to have that responsibility are left to figure out effective communication and understanding others on their own.
Emotional intelligence skills can be learned and the more they are embedded in every part of an organisation, the more their positive effects on staff engagement, happiness at work, productivity and high performance will be felt. This is because, when we behave and communicate in an emotionally intelligent way, we are actively choosing behaviours and ways of interacting that enable ourselves and others to use the higher reasoning function of the brain, located in the pre-frontal cortex, for a greater percentage of time.
Negative interaction, stress and tension in the office all produce the well-known fight, flight or freeze response. Depending on the severity of the triggering event, our own ability to recover and subsequent responses by others, the chemicals responsible for this, adrenaline and cortisol, can affect our higher reasoning function for anything from 20 minutes to much of the working day.
By engaging your whole staff in emotional intelligence and making it a part of your corporate culture, much management time that is currently spent on dealing with issues caused by poor communication, lack of understanding and negativity could be dramatically reduced.
For more information on amygdala hijack, read Oak Growth's case study here; or our simple explanation of how amygdala hijack works.