Emotional intelligence improves leadership and reduces stress in organizations
07 de March de 2019
07 de March de 2019
Cristina Jardón, an expert on Emotional intelligence, Mindfulness and Self-Compassion, analysed the benefits of applying emotional intelligence in the professional world and its direct impact on the wellbeing of organizations.
"The only constant in our lives is change", explained Cristina to analyse the concept of innovation and relate it to the evolution of human beings. "Progress is a product of change seen as a positive thing". The change that we live with nowadays in organizations is set within the context of a VUCA environment (volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous), which has a direct impact on our nervous (sympathetic and cortical) and emotional system (defence, depression and fear of frustration). In these external cases, people become irritable, lose their temper, suffer from depression, stress, memory loss, etc. All these behaviours are the result of learned patterns and cause difficulties in relation to work and also when it comes to leadership.
Using learned patterns to respond to this scenario of change and turbulence (VUCA) will simply not work. Therefore, the expert in emotional intelligence recommends thinking outside the box and developing adaptive capacities related to the creative and emotional part of the brain. These capacities include divergent thinking, perspective, complex problem resolution, attention and focus, calm, clarity in decision-making, generating cohesive groups and purposeful leadership.
Before working on our emotional competences, we have to become aware and turn off our automatic pilot. "We move so fast that, in reality, we lose sight of what is happening", she explained, adding that "50% of the time, our minds are in drift mode (digression, impulsiveness, acting in patterns)". Within the context of this lull and process of full attention, it is useful to discuss mindfulness, a technique that helps us a great deal to "be conscious and realise what is happening with an attitude of curiosity and openness". With extensive experience in this meditation technique, the expert in emotional intelligence explained how this approach improves awareness, emotional regulation and attention capacity.
Cristina Jardón referred to Daniel Goleman's book "Emotional intelligence", explaining the importance of "training new emotional habits experientially, such as self-awareness, self-management, internal motivation, communication, empathy and leadership". Once this internal conquest has been achieved, the next step is to focus outwards at others. "Self-awareness enhances empathy", she explained, before introducing the concept of compassion, which she defined as helping and "serving others". Although this theory has not been developed to a significant extent, in the United States, they are putting into practice in the form of a new leadership based on influence from the perspective of wisdom and communication".
Emotional intelligence in a VUCA setting
Emotional intelligence appears to offer a response to the changing environments in organizations (VUCA). In fact, "it humanizes employees/managers/leaders by equipping them with the resources and skills that they need to monitor (in the sense of having clarity and realising) their own and other people's thoughts and emotions, distinguish between them and use this information to guide their own thoughts and actions". The benefits of applying emotional intelligence in the workplace include leaders developing creative and transformational leadership, better performance with focus and motivation, and greater wellbeing and happiness.
"The more we develop my emotional intelligence, the bigger the gap between reacting and responding becomes", explained Cristina, adding that, when applied to companies, this improves leadership (internal and external) and performance (collaboration), as well as enhance wellbeing and resilience in VUCA environments. In the expert's opinion, "as I develop my emotional intelligence more and more, not only do I feel better at an internal level, but I facilitate other people's lives more too".
To finish off, Jardón gave some examples of the application of programs based on emotional intelligence in technology companies such as Google and SAP (Search Inside Yourself), as well as the results obtained in terms of their employees' satisfaction, attention capacity, creativity and reduced stress levels.
Watch the full EAE web conference, "Applying emotional intelligence in business innovation" with Cristina Jardón at the following link.