Site icon The Blog Relay

9 Emotional Intelligence Strategies to Transform Workplace Culture

collection of hands painted in red. Emotional intelligence and workplace culture
Photo by Tim Marshall on Unsplash

In today’s fast-paced and competitive work landscape, positive workplace culture and emotional intelligence are not just buzzwords – they are the secret ingredients to unleashing the true potential of individuals and organizations. Imagine a workplace where trust, collaboration, and mutual respect flow effortlessly. Where conflicts are resolved with empathy and understanding, and communication is clear and effective. This is the power of a positive culture infused with emotional intelligence.

In this article, we will explore the impact of emotional intelligence in the workplace, what an emotionally intelligent workplace looks like, and how to foster a culture of emotional intelligence in your organization.

The Cost of Lack of EI

Apple had a surprising (and rather public) spat with employees with its 2021 return-to-office plans, and it highlighted a lack of emotional intelligence. The move disregarded employee concerns about health risks, commuting challenges, and the desire for remote work flexibility. In a letter to CEO Tim Cook, employees clearly stated that they felt “not just unheard, but at times actively ignored.”

Though there is nothing wrong with the decision (going to the office, working face-to-face has always been an inherent part of work culture), however, the way this decision was handled seemed to lack empathy, and the resulting employee backlash made headlines and likely cost the company, several valuable employees.

Without emotional intelligence, poor decisions are made, communication breaks down, and productivity is hampered. Additionally, a lack of emotional intelligence in leadership can result in a toxic work environment, leading to further employee disengagement and increased turnover.

Studies show that a lack of emotional intelligence can cost an organization up to $500,000 annually due to employee turnover, reduced productivity, and decreased customer satisfaction.

What is Emotional Intelligence?

Emotional intelligence (EI) refers to recognizing and managing emotions effectively in oneself and others. Here are some examples of emotional intelligence in the context of the workplace:

What does an emotionally intelligent workplace look like?

So, opposite to what most people expect, EI isn’t always about being nice, understanding, or adjusting. It has more to do with awareness and your reactions that can save a team from splitting apart, make your personality strong and create a happy workplace culture.


In an emotionally intelligent workplace,

  1. Employees feel comfortable expressing their thoughts and emotions openly without fear of judgment or retribution.
  2. Leaders listen to their team, address their concerns and give them a space to share opinions and thoughts in decision-making.
  3. Colleagues support, offer assistance, and celebrate each other’s successes. There is a sense of camaraderie and shared goals.
  4. Employees are encouraged to address conflicts openly and find solutions that satisfy all parties involved.
  5. Feedback is given with the intention of growth and improvement rather than criticism. Management offers equal opportunities to everyone to grow and sharpen their skills per employees’ interests and aspirations. Training, workshops, etc., are regularly encouraged in an emotionally intelligent office!
  6. Emotional intelligence in the workplace encourages employees to stick around. People can forge stronger bonds and have honest conversations, which boost engagement, performance, and of course, retention.

How to foster emotional intelligence in the workplace culture?

EI sounds good in theory, but it’s harder to foster and maintain in practice as we exhibit so many emotions in different situations with different people. With remote working or hybrid approaches, it gets further challenging to connect!

61% of workers admit that they’ve let their emotions get the better at work.

EI isn’t a thing of a day or two; people need to invest in it regularly to see the benefits coming in. It requires supporting time and effort at every level, be it an employee, a leader, or an organization.

Here are a few techniques to start fostering an emotionally intelligent culture:

Image Credit: ©

At the Employee/Individual level

#1. Enhance Self-awareness

Start by increasing your self-awareness to understand your own emotions, strengths, and areas for improvement. Paying attention to your triggers and learning to managing your emotions is the key here.

To begin,

#2. Develop active listening skills

Give attention to others, suspend judgment, and respond with empathy and understanding. Be open to other perspectives.

To begin,

#3. Improve conflict resolution

Develop skills in managing conflicts by seeking win-win solutions and focusing on understanding all parties’ underlying needs and interests. Learn to communicate assertively, clearly, and respectfully. 

To begin, 

At Leadership/Management Level

#1. Lead by example

As a leader, your behavior sets the tone for the entire team. Exhibit empathy, active listening and self-regulation, and transparency in your communication. Show genuine interest in your team members’ well-being and actively listen to their concerns. When team members see these behaviors modeled by their leaders, they are more likely to adopt them.

To begin, 

#2. Encourage open communication

Enable an environment where open and honest communication is valued. Encourage team members to express their thoughts, ideas, and concerns freely. Actively listen to their perspectives and validate their emotions. 

To begin,

#3. Support professional development

Invest in your team’s professional growth by offering training programs, workshops, or coaching sessions focused on enhancing emotional intelligence.

To begin,

At Organization/Company Level

#1. Create an inclusive and supportive culture

Foster an inclusive environment where all employees feel valued and respected. Encourage diversity and provide equal opportunities for growth and advancement. Establish clear policies against discrimination and harassment. Creating a safe and supportive culture allows employees to bring their whole selves to work and foster emotional intelligence.

To begin,

#2. Provide training and development programs

Offer training programs and workshops focused on emotional intelligence for all employees. Include topics such as self-awareness, empathy, effective communication, and conflict resolution.

To begin,

#3. Recognize and reward emotional intelligence

Incorporate emotional intelligence into your performance evaluation and recognition systems in your workplace culture. Acknowledge and celebrate employees who demonstrate emotional intelligence in their interactions, teamwork, and problem-solving. Recognize individuals who show empathy. 

To begin,

Be more than smart!

Low EI leads to frustration, resentment, dissatisfaction, and poor teamwork. Conversely, teams with high emotional intelligence reap the benefits of solid bonds, fewer conflicts, increased retention, and boosted performance. The business, workplace culture – and the people that power it – thrives.

We cannot tell what may happen to us in the strange medley of life. But we can decide what happens in us — how we can take it, what we do with it — and that is what really counts in the end.

—Joseph Fort Newton
Exit mobile version