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engaged-hr-meditation-roundWhat is emotional health, exactly? And, why should our emotional wellbeing matter in the workplace?

We tend to pay a lot of attention to our physical health, and mental wellness has become a hot topic in management. In this fourth instalment for Healthy Workplace Month, we’re looking at emotional wellness.

We all hear talk of the importance of “emotional intelligence”, or EQ, but what does it look like and why is it important? Emotional intelligence can be hard to pin down – but you can definitely tell when your employees’ quotient is low. Are you noticing interpersonal conflicts, drama, distracted behaviour, or difficulty handling stress in your workplace? You may recognize these indicators that your workplace’s emotional EQ could use some attention, but once you know it’s a concern, how do you fix it?

We have some great tips on just that!

Dollarphotoclub_60690145Research suggests that those with high levels of emotional intelligence make the strongest leaders, and employees who rank highly in emotional intelligence have these qualities in common:

  • Are better self-managers
  • Tend to be more self-confident
  • Build better relationships with colleagues and clients
  • Are generally more resilient
  • Adapt more smoothly to change
  • Are more likely to problem solve creatively

The list goes on, and these are all things we want to see more of in the workplace!

Helping your employees develop their EQ can be as simple as building emotionally intelligent practices into your workplace culture. Here are some strategies to help you get there.

The Four A’s of Emotional Wellness

1. Awareness

Awareness of self and others is a big contributing factor to emotional intelligence. As a leader, encouraging awareness means sensing when to offer support to others, but also includes knowing when to seek support. Take time in your day to cultivate your own level of awareness –

check in with staff to make sure they’re not checked out. Twitter_logo_blue

Connecting with employees on a human level means addressing potentially toxic moods before they happen, so seek support and don’t be a closed book. Try listening more than you talk, and observe what people aren’t saying with words. Maintaining balance involves reaching out, being honest about your limitations, and not over-stretching yourself. If you’re doing a good job at demonstrating balance, chances are good that your employees are noticing and following suit. Click here for some ideas on simple ways to offer support to employees.

2. Acceptance

Becoming aware of self and others takes practice, and we don’t always like what we see. The reality is that we’re all a work in progress, so stop trying to attain perfection. In fact, if you take advantage of your mistakes, and use them as learning tools, you will see far greater progress than if you turn the other cheek and pretend things aren’t happening! Focus on cultivating and appreciating your strengths, and do the same with employees. Approach “workplace whoops” moments with curiosity – there is no shame in growth.

Another way to show acceptance is to give employees assistance when necessary to keep them from floundering, but also allow for opportunities to demonstrate resourcefulness, problem-solve creatively, and build self-esteem. Providing encouragement to “figure it out” also builds trust and fosters a culture of learning. There is nothing like giving someone the message that they got this to improve their sense of self-esteem.

3. Adaptability

As we evolve, our world is getting smaller, and organizations that demonstrate flexibility thrive. We need to practice adapting and responding to the changing circumstances around us without losing our cool. We all cope with some amount of workplace stress. This is normal, and developing ways to cope with curveballs without internalizing or lashing out is an essential factor contributing to an emotionally well workplace. So, instead of trying to escape change, embrace it. Get excited about new projects and challenges, and employees will too.

4. Accountability

Emotional wellness is an intentional choice. We choose our attitudes, our actions, and where we place our energy. Our emotional wellness is a reflection of that intention. The world is your mirror, and practicing intention nurtures emotional wellness.

Juggling our busy lives and strenuous workloads can create a high level of stress for anyone. By using a positive lens and reframing how we think and talk about responsibilities, it is amazing how much better our ability to manage that stress is.

We can’t always choose what the day will bring, but we can choose how we approach challenges. Mentally rewrite your “have tos” as “want tos” and remembering the bigger picture “whys” helps keep stress responses in check. You get to control whether a task is intrinsically rewarding or not! You can always find a reason to want to do something, and if you can’t, why would you take on those tasks to begin with?

Your Engaged HR Assignment

The takeaway here? Emotional competency can be developed through conscientious practice and application. Know yourself, provide support, and invest in activities you care about. Try reframing challenges and transitions as opportunities to cultivate resilience and build emotional stability. Worry less about employees making mistakes, and focus more on providing them with opportunities to learn from new experiences.

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