August 27, 2020 | Barb Carr

Workplace Safety and Emotional Intelligence

Emotional intelligence has an impact on safety at every company. Staying focused on the task at hand is heavily influenced by not being controlled by emotions. At the 2019 and 2020 Global TapRooT® Summits, we offered a best practice session about leading with emotional intelligence. Benna Hughes and I also shared information about using it as a leadership skill in this 2019 TapRooT® TV segment.

We found out it’s such a popular and useful topic, that we’re bringing it back as a best practice session at the 2021 Global TapRooT® Summit, Knoxville, Tennessee, June 14 – 18.

Today, I’d like to share another tip about how emotional intelligence affects behavior change in the workplace and contributes to improved safety.

Emotions Intelligence Provides Data that Help Us Make Better Decisions

The first important step to good emotional intelligence is awareness. This means being aware when emotions rise up within ourselves in the workplace and being aware when a worker is experiencing an emotion. It’s important data. Emotions are neither good nor bad. They are data we use to make decisions.

When we view emotions as data, we can interpret them as revealing something about our state or another person’s state. However, most of us think of emotions as an asset (positive or negative). So, we focus on managing them and skip over interpreting them. Emotions are easier to manage if we interpret the data by becoming aware of what the emotions are before jumping into managing them.

Of course, we want all of our workers to keep their minds on the task at hand. But telling them to do that does not bring behavior change. Under stress, human beings go into “fight or flight mode.” Having self-awareness through emotional intelligence does bring about behavior change because it gives us data to interpret to make better choices.

We all know that safety professionals need technical knowledge and the ability to think critically. What we sometimes overlook is the value of soft skills too: like problem-solving, empathy and creativity. We can improve these soft skills by improving emotional intelligence in the workplace.

Save the date for the 2021 Global TapRooT® Summit, and make plans to join Benna and me for the Work/Life Balance Track. “Leading with Emotional Intelligence” is the first best practice session on the track, and is scheduled for Wednesday, June 16, 10:30 am to noon. Learn how better emotional intelligence leads to improved workplace safety.


Career Development & Opportunities, Summit, Summit - Sessions
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