The Importance of Developing Emotional Intelligence in Remote Working | Learning & Development | Primeast

The Role of Emotional Intelligence in Successful Remote Workplaces

The ability to understand and control emotions is essential for success in the remote workplace. It is crucial that employees take care of their emotions and mental health when working remotely. If they become too tired, upset, or frustrated, it can negatively impact their work and their team’s performance.

What is emotional intelligence in a workplace setting?

What is emotional intelligence? Simply put, emotional intelligence is the ability to identify and manage emotions in oneself and others. It’s the state of being aware of one’s own thoughts and feelings, as well as understanding how other people feel. This can be useful in a workplace setting because it helps employees better communicate with each other, understand their co-workers’ emotions, and take appropriate action.

Emotional intelligence is a combination of five skills:

  • Self-awareness ─ the ability to recognise and understand one’s emotions. This skill helps you to be more aware of yourself and your surroundings. It also helps you to understand how other people are feeling.
  • Self-management ─ controlling one’s emotions and thoughts to be able to make positive decisions. It also helps people avoid getting swept up in negative emotions or thoughts that might lead them to act rashly or make poor decisions.
  • Internal (or intrinsic) motivation ─ the ability to stay motivated in the face of obstacles. It is the desire to do something that comes from within and not from external factors.
  • Empathy ─ the ability to understand how someone else feels or what they might be thinking without having experienced it themselves. Empathy helps you understand why someone might behave in a certain way or what they are trying to communicate by their actions or words.
  • Social skills ─ the ability to manage and influence other people’s emotions effectively.

The benefits of having an emotionally intelligent workforce working remotely

When a remote team benefits from being emotionally intelligent, that team is more likely to be high-performing. Team members will be happier in their work, collaborate more effectively, and make better decisions that help to improve productivity. An emotionally intelligent remote workforce will:

  • Communicate more effectively
  • Solve problems more efficiently
  • Develop improved innovation
  • Benefit from increased internal motivation
  • Have a better capacity to mitigate internal conflict
  • Collaborate more effectively as a team
  • Value internal and external partnerships

How can leaders and organisations help remote employees improve their emotional intelligence?

With the abundance of benefits available for organisations that develop emotionally intelligent remote teams, leaders must develop strategic thinking and leadership styles to embed and improve the emotional intelligence of their remote employees.

Here are 12 ways in which leaders can help their remote employees become more emotionally intelligent.

  1. Focus on relationship management
  2. There are many benefits that come from focusing on relationship management. One of them is better relationships with employees, derived from greater understanding, which allows leaders to provide adequate support for emotional needs

  3. Identify people’s strengths, weaknesses, and goals
  4. A leader’s own emotional intelligence should help them to identify the strengths, weaknesses, and goals of their employees. This is important because it gives clues as to how people think, what they can do, and why they do what they do. This allows the leader to give work that supports their people’s learning and development goals, and to maintain long-term motivation.

  5. Create a safe space to share ideas
  6. The emotional intelligence framework can be used to create a safe space for employees to share ideas. Employees who feel less inhibited in sharing their ideas and opinions are more likely to feel listened to and understood, and this helps to build trust and confidence.

  7. Promote active listening
  8. Active listening is an important skill for every employee to master because it helps them understand others better and connect with them more deeply.

  9. Embrace flexibility
  10. People are unique. They work differently and are most productive at contrasting times. By being flexible and embracing flexibility, leaders can help to enhance performance and encourage greater acceptance of new ideas and cultures.

  11. Be transparent
  12. Leaders should start by being honest with their employees and be open about their own emotions. This will promote others to be open about their own feelings and open up difficult conversations. This allows the leader to have better relationships with their teams.

  13. Hold accountability
  14. Holding employees accountable for their emotional intelligence, actions, and behaviours can help them improve their performance in the workplace.

  15. Give opportunities to practice soft skills
  16. Emotional intelligence is a skill that can be developed with practice, but it takes time and effort. Therefore, leaders must provide opportunities for employees to practise soft skills like empathy, understanding, and other social skills.

  17. Encourage peer-to-peer teaching
  18. Peer-to-peer teaching places people in positions where emotional intelligence is crucial for success. The leader can observe relationships and collaboration effectiveness, and provide constructive feedback on how employees can improve their emotional intelligence skills.

  19. Encourage honest feedback
  20. A culture of honesty and transparency will encourage people to be their authentic selves. One way of promoting this culture is to ensure that employees can give honest feedback without fear of being judged or punished.

  21. Learn to see conflict as an opportunity
  22. A leader’s role includes the responsibility to coach employees. As such, conflict should be seen as an opportunity to help people improve their emotional intelligence skills, by taking the time to reflect on different points of view and why others feel differently, as well as to help people understand and manage their own reactions and actions more effectively.

  23. Stay visible and approachable
  24. A key to improving remote employees’ emotional intelligence is by staying visible and approachable. Employees with high emotional intelligence are more likely to stay with a company for a long time, be more productive, and help the company grow.

    Leaders must make it easier for their employees to connect with them on an emotional level. This will give employees the opportunity to discuss difficult subjects, and the leader the opportunity to get to know and understand their employees more meaningfully. Each conversation is an opportunity to coach an employee to be more emotionally aware and learn more about themselves and become more effective team players.

The bottom line

Remote work can be an emotionally challenging experience for both the employee and their manager

To ensure that remote employees are happy and productive, managers should seek ways to improve the emotional intelligence of their employees. When this is achieved, managers will help employees to manage their own stress levels, work more collaboratively, and feel more connected to their work and their colleagues. The result will be a higher-performing team.

Does your organisational culture and leaders’ and managers’ emotional intelligence support your remote workforce?

Complete the Personal Values Assessment to get a comprehensive insight into your organisational culture.

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