9 JANUARY, 2023


Emotional intelligence (or emotional judgement) is the ability to recognise, manage and regulate one’s own emotions in addition to understanding and reacting appropriately to the emotions of others.

In the context of the workplace, emotional judgement has a direct impact on team harmony, employee engagement and overall productivity. Individuals in the workplace constantly apply emotional judgement in responding to colleagues, building positive relationships with stakeholders and managing their own emotions. Emotional judgement is an essential asset for anyone whose role encompasses collaborating as a team, working with clients or communicating with customers.

What does emotional judgement look like in the workplace?

In both work and social settings, emotional judgement is often conveyed through nonverbal cues such as body language and facial expressions. The abstract nature of emotional judgement makes it somewhat difficult to identify, however the impacts of developing emotional intelligence at the workplace can be experienced throughout an entire organisation.

Employees who are self aware

Self awareness describes our ability to ground ourselves in reality. But self awareness is not an intrinsic trait – it is a learned behaviour that must be continuously worked upon.

Self aware employees will naturally be more successful in their role as they are able to purposefully advance their skills. This in turn benefits both their overall career and their ability to complete their day-to-day responsibilities efficiently. As they regularly reflect on their emotional states and identify behavioural patterns, self aware employees are more in-tune with their needs and better able to separate their decision making process from their emotions.

A highly self aware employee will gladly take on challenges in a calm and professional manner, letting the overarching company mission guide their actions.

Employees who are excellent listeners

The art of listening is key to all effective communication. Listening reduces misunderstanding, avoids the likelihood of disruptive conflict and encourages empathy. An employee who is an excellent listener will deeply understand their tasks and be able to effectively communicate with co-workers, clients and customers alike.

In the workplace, listening skills can manifest in numerous ways. Employees who are excellent listeners will tend to:

  • Avoid interrupting.
  • Exhibit genuine interest in conversations through both verbal comments and nonverbal cues.
  • Seek clarifications rather than assume.
  • Demonstrate effective communication skills through using thoughtful and powerful language.

Employees who are empathetic

Empathy is the ability to see and relate to the emotions and experiences of others. In the workplace, empathy can help create a sense of trust and support among team members, which can further enhance teamwork and collaboration. An empathetic employee will demonstrate respect for colleagues, clients and customers. This in turn solidifies a positive work environment where employees feel that they are valued for their contributions.

Empathy is particularly important when leading people and is a key indicator of strong leadership skills. Leaders must be able to work with people from various departments, cultures and backgrounds. Supportive and empathetic leadership will inevitably boost the morale of employees and help support a thriving work culture.

Employees who embrace constructive conflict

Constructive conflict involves embracing new ideas that will move a business toward its goals. It can empower teams to tackle new opportunities and reassess pre-existing problems with a sharp eye.

Constructive conflict occurs when employees feel comfortable to challenge prevailing ideas and views. Employees who gladly accept constructive conflict will be able to respectfully and appropriately disagree with others and provide helpful suggestions and opinions. They seek feedback on their performance and will not hesitate to seek clarification on how to approach problems or challenges faced by the organisation.

Why is emotional judgement important?

Emotional judgement is vital for navigating the workplace and inspiring your workforce. Effective emotional judgement will convey optimism, credibility and actively build trust amongst team members.

Some of the main benefits of valuing emotional judgement in the workplace include:

Increased engagement

A workplace that encourages well-developed emotional judgement will naturally have increased engagement amongst its employees as they feel more connected to the overarching company mission.

Improved productivity and performance

When a business makes emotional judgement a priority, it can deliver a higher return on investment. A workforce that encourages emotional judgement amongst employees will subsequently build stronger team relationships and more effective pathways for communication.

Maintain a healthy workplace culture

Well-developed emotional judgement amongst employees will naturally promote a healthy workplace culture. An emotionally aware workforce will encourage employees to feel valued, safe and committed to the company’s purpose.

Enable more level headed decision making

Emotional judgement allows employees to separate their decision making from their emotions.

An employee with well-developed emotional judgement skills will readily take on challenges in a calm and professional manner. Their decisions will not be influenced by personal emotions but rather they will adopt a level headed approach to decision making where all views and opinions are appropriately considered.

How to promote emotional intelligence in the workplace

Here are four strategies to improve emotional intelligence in the workplace.

Lead by example

Proficient emotional judgement is particularly important in leadership positions. Leaders can have a positive impact on their teams by stabilising emotions within the team and motivating others to behave in an emotionally responsible manner.

Develop effective communication channels

Leverage tools and technologies that facilitate collaboration, such as project management software, online collaboration platforms and virtual meeting tools. These tools are particularly beneficial for encouraging employees to openly share their thoughts and feelings. Increased discussion is a precursor to greater emotional judgement as it provides opportunities for employees to practise honest communication without fear of reprisal.

Provide avenues for collaborative work

To harness the benefits of well developed emotional judgement in the workplace, it is important to foster a positive team culture that values teamwork and collaboration. Of course, this is an ongoing process that must organically develop over time. Reassessing workflows and individual responsibilities to include opportunities for collaboration is a practical starting point.

Emphasise employee health and wellbeing

There are a number of ways organisations can emphasise employee health and wellbeing in the workplace:

  • Offer wellness programs. These programs may include gym memberships, access to healthy snacks in the staff kitchen or stress management resources.
  • Encourage regular breaks and time off, both of which help to prevent burnout.
  • Promote healthy physical activities, such as ‘walking’ meetings or participating in group fitness classes.
  • Provide a supportive work environment. There is no singular definition of a supportive work environment, but this may include offering resources for mental health support, promoting work-life balance and addressing any issues that may be negatively impacting employee wellbeing.

Developing strong emotional judgement in the workplace is an ongoing process that begins with training

It is crucial that companies take a comprehensive approach when implementing strategies to improve emotional intelligence in the workplace. Soft skills training is a highly useful initiative that provides employees with the opportunity to build a suite of collaboration skills that are instrumental in developing emotional intelligence in the workplace.

DeakinCo. offers a wide variety of training and workplace solutions that can be tailored to suit the unique needs of companies and their employees. Learn more about how DeakinCo. helps workplaces finetune their human skills and prepare for the future by getting in touch with our team.