Three Easy Ways Help Millennials Develop EQ

The Millennials you’ve hired are smart — they have high IQs. But what about their EQ?

According a study by the National Association of Colleges and Employers, college graduates are not proficient in the EQ-world of critical thinking, communication, and professionalism. A recent article in the Wall Street Journal was titled, “Workplace Training Adds Handshakes, Eye Contact”. If you are an employer, you may be starting to notice this.

What is EQ?

EQ is “your ability to recognize and understand emotions, and your skill at using this awareness to manage yourself and your relationship with others,” according to the book Emotional Intelligence 2.0. In other words, it is ‘soft’ skills, or ‘people’ skills, and is a better predictor of workplace success than IQ.

There is good news— employees can improve their EQ through training.

Three Ways to Improve EQ

Encourage Reflection. When meeting with your team members, have them take the time to reflect on significant conversations and social interactions. Ask them to assess their own behaviors and responses to other people. What were they feeling during the interaction? What were their motivations? How could the conversation been handled better? This is not navel gazing. This thoughtful exercise in self-awareness is a building block of EQ.

Help Them Chill. Within reason, encourage your employees to take their allotted vacation time. Studies show that Millennials are the least likely generation to use their vacation days. Releasing built-up stress will help employees manage their emotions more effectively in the workplace. Also, you can encourage daily stress relief by offering and encouraging exercise, meditation and yoga. Less stress allows your employees to be more open and aware of themselves.

Look for Low-EQ Moments. Millennial employees crave feedback and want to receive it on a routine basis. Giving criticism doesn’t have to be painful for anyone involved if it’s actionable and useful, so give them pointers on how to navigate complex situations at work. If you observe one of their low-EQ moments, take them aside and provide some coaching to turn it into a teaching moment. They’ll appreciate the coaching.

Intelligence and experience are important in career success, but emotional intelligence is the key to unlocking real career satisfaction. Helping your Millennial employees develop it will ensure they have better professional relationships, are more effective at work and mesh well with the entire team.