Is your office heart smart? Learn more about how adding emotional intelligence to your interactions can create a more efficient and effective way to reach those you work with.

We’ve all heard of IQ – the intelligence quotient based on how well we perform on mental tests compared to our peer group. Less well known is emotional intelligence. You may not have considered how your workplace requires a healthy blend of both IQ and EI (as its pioneers Drs. John D. Mayer and Peter Salovey originally abbreviated it in 1990).

Yes, smart and well-trained staff members are essential to running a superior chiropractic practice, but even the most Mensa-worthy employees will only get you halfway to your office communication goals. How team members speak, hear, and respond to each other can greatly improve when they learn to factor in their feelings – and those of their colleagues – as a vital counterbalance to simple administrative thinking.

This guide will explore the concept of emotional intelligence and explain how it works in practice so you and your colleagues can connect with greater clarity and compassion.

What is Emotional Intelligence?

Your IQ rating can stand apart from your emotions, however emotional intelligence can’t be separated from cognitive and rational thought. A good score on the latter depends on how we take the data life gives us, weigh it with the resulting feelings, and combine both sets of information before trying to communicate with others.

Developing greater emotional intelligence thus relies heavily on viewing feelings as simply more data to be analyzed and not hastily acted upon. It’s an acquired, but essential, skill for clear-headed and hopefully more productive communications.

What does an office without emotional intelligence look like? At best, they’re automated places where employees feel like a robot more than a person, their needs and feelings are rarely if ever addressed, and where vulnerable communication seems uncomfortable or impossible.

At worst, they’re places where things get personal, where frustration and anger steer decisions more than shared goals, and fear or resentment can cripple or even completely close communications. Here’s how to avoid such an unfeeling fate for your office.

How an Emotionally Intelligent Office Operates

These five key traits are regularly practiced by emotionally intelligent communicators and help them keep office interactions clear and calm:

  • Asking Questions

People in high EI workplaces ask themselves what they’re feeling, why they’re feeling it, and what is the most productive way to act on the feelings. They also ask the same things of others during communication to clearly understand how each person is feeling, what led them there, and what positive resolutions can be made.

  • Controlling Non-verbal Communication

Did you know that 55% of communication is non-verbal? Consider learning the 55/38/7 rule as a valuable tool to help regulate negatively impactful body language, vocal tones, and inflection.

  • Practicing Empathy

Thinking ourselves “into other people’s shoes” puts colleagues on the fast track to mutual understanding. Emotionally intelligent people can think beyond themselves and even set their own emotions temporarily aside to focus on the feelings, motivations, and perspectives of team members.

  • Recognizing Triggers and Recurring Reactions

Do certain styles of communication you employ repeatedly cause negative reactions with one or more people? Perhaps you’ve noticed negative emotions in yourself when you’re addressed a certain way. These are strong indicators that some EI work needs done on one or more sides to improve communications.

  • Projecting Consequences

Low emotional intelligence can lead us to say or do things we later regret and that could negatively affect office dynamics. Those with high EI understand the stark difference between an imaginary solution that satisfies an emotional reflex, and an actual one that will have real consequences on multiple levels.

Enhancing the positive traits that you already have and cultivating those you’re weaker on, will take your communicating skills to the next level.

Taking an Emotional Intelligence Test

Harvard University recommends four effective EI tests for professional development ranging from 10 to 45 minutes in length with prices ranging from free, to $9.95 and up to $49. Choosing one to fit your office’s needs is time and money well spent.

Managers and supervisors can take such tests themselves and share them with their staffs. Together, a team can learn to recognize, accept, and use their emotions to become more caring, confident, and collaborative. Try it today to discover how close your office is to being that most productive of environments: a culture of communication.

Dr. Ray Foxworth, DC, FICC, is founder and CEO of ChiroHealthUSA. For over 35 years, he worked “in the trenches” facing challenges with billing, coding, documentation, and compliance, in his practice. He is a former Medical Compliance Specialist and currently serves as chairman of The Chiropractic Summit, an at-large board member of the Chiropractic Future Strategic Plan Committee, a board member of the Cleveland College Foundation, and an executive board member of the Foundation for Chiropractic Progress. He is a former Staff Chiropractor at the G.V. Sonny Montgomery VA Medical Center and past chairman of the Mississippi Department of Health.