Emotional intelligence is the “something” in each of us that is a bit intangible. It affects how we manage behaviour, navigate social complexities, and make personal decisions to achieve positive results. The ability to identify, understand and manage one’s emotions; the ability to identify, understand and influence others’ emotions (not the ability to manage others’ emotions). A values-neutral concept; emotional intelligence is neither good nor bad - it is just a set of abilities, emotions and beliefs which tend to lead to characteristic behaviours.
Why you need emotional intelligence in hospitality
In the hospitality industry, business owners need to rely on the good nature and service standards of their staff, perhaps more so than in other industries. For that reason, businesses need to ensure that their employees - particularly front facing staff that have contact with customers - are interacting with them in a way owners and managers see fit. Because of the nature of this field where human interaction is vital, high emotional intelligence will always be a trend in hospitality management.
For this reason, many hotels & restaurants have adopted research strategies to gather an accurate depiction of staff engagement and service. While bad employees are an inevitable part of any business, there are some considerations employers can make when vetting candidates that can help reduce the risk.
One way to gauge a potential hire's suitability and how well they may interact with customers is through evaluating their emotional intelligence. By promoting and encouraging a greater level of emotional cognizance, employers may stand to benefit both financially and in terms of employee relations.
However, it should be kept in mind that emotional intelligence in the hospitality field not only applies in an employee-customer interaction. It should also be highly present in employee-to-employee engagement, as well as interpersonal reflections in the context of work.
These five qualities of Emotional Intelligence
- social skills
Self-regulation is all about empathy towards employees and customers. By properly assessing and understanding the emotions of your audience, self-regulation will help you decide how to react and respond in the right direction.
The third quality, motivation, is determining what keeps your employees and staff motivated. Motivation strengthens the bond between leaders and employees in a way that keeping employees motivated help motivate the leader.
Empathy is another quality that supports the relationship among employees and between employees and customers. This quality lets you imagine yourself in the shoes of another, pushing you to go that extra mile for either your employee or customer.
Self-awareness focuses on intrapersonal reflection. The ability to understand and control one’s own emotions will ensure that personal problems will neither directly nor indirectly affect working relationships. As a leader in hospitality management, it is important to know how one’s actions and words affect employees under his care.
The last quality, which is social skill, allows one to develop effective communication, which will result in strong relationships with other managers and employees. Social skill is founded on listening, understanding, and knowing when to talk.
Signs that you have a high Emotional Intelligence
They have amplified feelings
They feel everything more deeply than others. They don't have a way to disconnect, so what others can just shrug off and not take personally, Emotional Intelligence take straight to their core.
You have a robust emotional vocabulary
All people experience emotions, but it is a select few who can accurately identify them as they occur. People with Emotional Intelligence master their emotions because they understand them, and they use an extensive vocabulary of feelings to do so. While many people might describe themselves as simply feeling “bad,” emotionally intelligent people can pinpoint whether they feel “irritable,” “frustrated,” “downtrodden,” or “anxious.” The more specific your word choice, the better insight you have into exactly how you are feeling, what caused it, and what you should do about it.
You’re curious about people
It doesn’t matter if they’re introverted or extroverted, emotionally intelligent people are curious about everyone around them. The more you care about other people and what they’re going through, the more curiosity you’re going to have about them.
You embrace change
Emotionally intelligent people are flexible and are constantly adapting. They know that fear of change is paralyzing and a major threat to their success and happiness. They look for change that is lurking just around the corner, and they form a plan of action should these changes occur.
You know your strengths and weaknesses
Emotionally intelligent people don’t just understand emotions; they know what they’re good at and what they’re terrible at. They also know who pushes their buttons and the environments (both situations and people) that enable them to succeed.
You’re a good judge of character
Much of emotional intelligence comes down to social awareness; the ability to read other people, know what they’re about, and understand what they're going through. Over time, this skill makes you an exceptional judge of character.
You are difficult to offend
If you have a firm grasp of who you are, it’s difficult for someone to say or do something that gets your goat. Emotionally intelligent people are self-confident and open-minded, which creates a pretty thick skin.
You know how to say no (to yourself and others)
Emotional intelligence means knowing how to exert self-control. You delay gratification, and you avoid impulsive action.
You let go of mistakes
Emotionally intelligent people distance themselves from their mistakes, but do so without forgetting them. By keeping their mistakes at a safe distance, yet still handy enough to refer to, they are able to adapt and adjust for future success.
You don’t hold grudges
The negative emotions that come with holding onto a grudge are actually a stress response. Just thinking about the event sends your body into fight-or-flight mode, a survival mechanism that forces you to stand up and fight or run for the hills when faced with a threat.
You neutralize toxic people
Dealing with difficult people is frustrating and exhausting for most. Emotional Intelligence individuals control their interactions with toxic people by keeping their feelings in check. When they need to confront a toxic person, they approach the situation rationally.
You don’t seek perfection
Emotionally intelligent people won’t set perfection as their target because they know that it doesn’t exist. Human beings, by our very nature, are fallible. When perfection is your goal, you’re always left with a nagging sense of failure that makes you want to give up or reduce your effort.
You appreciate what you have
Taking time to contemplate what you’re grateful for isn’t merely the right thing to do; it also improves your mood because it reduces the stress.
Romance isn't just a game
Emotional Intelligence take romance very seriously. When they consent to connection, they are trusting and confiding in that person on a very intimate level. This means they are comfortable with that chosen person.
Taking regular time off away from it all is a sign of a high Emotional Intelligence because it helps you to keep your stress under control and to live in the moment. When you make yourself available to your work 24/7, you expose yourself to a constant barrage of stressors.
They are born this way
Emotional sensitivity and empathy is an inborn trait. Don't try and change them, respect their differences.
They are naturally insomniacs
Their brains and hearts are always in overdrive. They toss and turn even when they are dead beat tired. As a result they are naturally night owls. They come alive at night, wondering about the universe and its mysteries. Be prepared to stay up late.
Quiet at first, they will open up after some time and presence. The more comfortable they feel, the more they will express.
Eleven Signs That You Lack Emotional Intelligence
You don’t get angry
Emotional intelligence is not about being nice; it’s about managing your emotions to achieve the best possible outcomes. Sometimes this means showing people that you’re upset, sad, or frustrated. Constantly masking your emotions with happiness and positivity isn’t genuine or productive. Emotionally intelligent people employ negative and positive emotions intentionally in the appropriate situations.
You get stressed easily
When you store your feelings, they quickly build into the uncomfortable sensations of tension, stress and anxiety. Unaddressed emotions strain the mind and body. Your emotional intelligence skills help make stress more manageable by enabling you to spot and tackle tough situations before things escalate.
You have difficulty asserting yourself
People with high Emotional Intelligence balance good manners, empathy, and kindness with the ability to assert themselves and establish boundaries. This tactful combination is ideal for handling conflict. When most people are crossed, they default to passive or aggressive behaviour.
You have a limited emotional vocabulary
All people experience emotions, but it is a select few who can accurately identify them as they occur. While many people might describe themselves as simply feeling “bad,” emotionally intelligent people can pinpoint whether they feel “irritable,” “frustrated,” “downtrodden,” or “anxious.”
You make assumptions quickly and defend them vehemently
People who lack Emotional Intelligence form an opinion quickly and then succumb to confirmation bias, meaning they gather evidence that supports their opinion and ignore any evidence to the contrary.
You hold grudges
The negative emotions that come with holding on to a grudge are actually a stress response. Just thinking about the event sends your body into fight-or-flight mode, a survival mechanism that forces you to stand up and fight or run for the hills when faced with a threat.
You don’t let go of mistakes
Emotionally intelligent people distance themselves from their mistakes, but they do so without forgetting them.
You often feel misunderstood
When you lack emotional intelligence, it’s hard to understand how you come across to others. You feel misunderstood because you don’t deliver your message in a way that people can understand.
You don’t know your triggers
Everyone has triggers - situations and people that push their buttons and cause them to act impulsively. Emotionally intelligent people study their triggers and use this knowledge to sidestep situations and people before they get the best of them.
You blame other people for how they make you feel
Emotions come from within. It’s tempting to attribute how you feel to the actions of others, but you must take responsibility for your emotions. No one can make you feel anything that you don’t want to. Thinking otherwise only holds you back.
You’re easily offended
If you have a firm grasp of who you are, it’s difficult for someone to say or do something that gets your goat. Emotionally intelligent people are self-confident and open-minded, which create a pretty thick skin.
Why Emotional Intelligence is Important
Without emotional intelligence it would be exceedingly difficult to interact effectively with others. Emotional intelligence allows us to perceive emotions, which then allows us to understand them. This enables us to understand another person’s motivations so we can communicate more effectively with them. Emotional intelligence further enables us to manage our own emotions. Without awareness, we are subject to our emotional states and will easily be caught up in them.
Perhaps most importantly, however, emotionally intelligent people know they’re in control of their own happiness, and nothing anyone else can say will affect that.