Your team is awesome. You train them, helping to bridge any skill gaps with sophisticated learning management systems. You design activities to motivate team members. You want them to cling to your company’s mission and values.

But could you work on training your team’s emotional intelligence as well?

By 2025, three-quarters of the global workforce will be Millennials. Given that, strong chances are your team consists of them already.

My team of seven has four Millennials. These guys are creative, self-expressive, ambitions, and responsible team players. Focused on mindfulness, they eager for improvement and make me rethink what’s crucial for employees today.

According to the Levo Institute study, 80% of employees consider emotional intelligence a must-have for building their careers. Plus, 87% of Millennials say the emotional intelligence of their leader motivates to work better and strive for the company success.

These numbers speak volumes, don’t they? It’s time to start training your team’s emotional intelligence.

But that’s where you might hit a snag.

Emotional intelligence (EI) isn’t a hard skill like original writing or software programming that you can define, learn in classroom, and measure. It’s a soft, or interpersonal skill that is less tangible and subjunctive.

Also read: The Importance Of Emotional Intelligence In The Workplace

That is why EI isn’t that easy to train with step-by-step tutorials or software. It’s the case of psychology when trainees rethink their long-standing habits of self-control and interaction with others. To master this craft, you need to have a clear sense of what emotional intelligence is and what role it plays in life and career of every individual.

What is emotional intelligence?

According to Norman E. Rosenthal, M.D.,“emotional intelligence is the ability to perceive, control and evaluate emotions – in oneself and others – and to use that information appropriately.”

Psychologists have been studying the concept of emotional intelligence for years, but it was Daniel Goleman who applied it to workplace and leadership. In 1995, he published the book Emotional Intelligence where described EI as the ability to “handle ourselves and our relations” using four domains:

  • Self-awareness: knowing what we feel and why we feel it. (The base for productive decision-making.)
  • Self-management: handling our distressing emotions efficiently.
  • Empathy: knowing what someone else is feeling.
  • Relationship management: putting all domains together for better social skills and inducing desired responses from others.

Thanks to Goleman, trainers recognize the significant role of emotional intelligence today. He has revealed direct links between EI and business results of entrepreneurs. Also, he has proved EI influence on job performance, leadership potential, and general happiness of employees.

With that in mind, savvy recruiters and managers pay attention to soft skills of their employees, incorporating EI training into their talent management programs.

How to train EI to your team

First of all, check the EQ (Emotional Quotient) of your team members to understand what domains they lack for outstanding performance at work. It will help to enhance the training process and concentrate on EI competencies to develop.

There are twelve aspects you should consider.

How to Train Your Team's Emotional Intelligence

To recognize the weak spots of your mentees, try four main categories of EI tests.

  • MSCEIT, or an ability-based test. It asks respondents to solve emotional problems and assesses EI similar to how IQ tests measure cognition.
  • EQ-i, or a trait-based test. It assesses EI similar to how personal traits tests define extraversion/introversion.
  • ESCI, or a competency-based test. It measures a respondent’s expected EI, which may differ according to a role. For instance, a CEO will be expected to rate higher (be more competent) than a manager.
  • Genos, or a behavior-based test. It measures how often a respondent demonstrates EI actions, assuming that it’s a skill one can learn/change.

Following on from the results, you will concentrate on three strategies.

1) Educating them about EI

Introduce the concept of emotional intelligence to your team if they didn’t hear of it before. Explain its role for better performance at work, conflict management, and overall internal harmony of an individual. Long story short, lay the groundwork for broadening their emotional horizons.

  • Suggest booksor articles on the topic for them to read.
  • Discuss the core principles of emotional intelligence during your team building meetups.
  • Encourage your employees to test their EQ.
  • Recommend to watch motivational TED talks about EI.
  • Visit corresponding seminars or workshops together with your team. Or plan and organize your own.

2) Encouraging their social responsibility

As far as social responsibility is one of the EI highest levels, do your best to develop it in mentees.

Participation in volunteer events and donations to charity might help to enhance responsibility. Think of positive social changes to promote with your team. Do they align with each member’s values? In such a case, contact respective organizations to find out how you can help.

In my case, we gather goods and money for animal shelters and visit them once a month to help with cleaning and dog walking. Nothing develops empathy better than grateful faces and wagging tails! Also, it’s an opportunity to train your self-awareness and self-control.

3) Working on your own EI

As a trainer, you can’t teach anything you don’t know yourself. Work on own emotional intelligence to understand feelings of others, treat them with respect and professionalism, and manage their long-standing habits for better training.

Also read: 5 Questions Emotionally Intelligent Leaders Ask to Improve Employees’ Performance

Don’t judge your team, as they act from their knowledge and experience, not yours. Listen to mentees to recognize their viewpoints and reflect back to them. Understanding their feelings and needs is key to effective training activities.

What can help to understand your team better?

  • Conduct background and interests surveys.
  • Consider various team-building games to know each other better.
  • Spend 15-20 minutes every day to chat with the team, in a group or one-on-one.
  • Ask them to create work-style tables so you could understand their communication styles and expectations.

Key Takeaways

Emotional intelligence is an interpersonal skill, known as an ability to control own emotions and relate well to others. Together with IQ, it determines success in work and life. The higher EI you have, the better you understand others, value them, and identify with them on many levels.

Specialists have revealed the direct links between EI and business results. Its influence on job performance and general happiness is in no doubt, as well. With that in mind, managers pay more attention to emotional intelligence of employees today. What they do is incorporating EI training into talent management programs.

Why not follow their lead and design one for training EI of your mentees?

Image via

About the author:

Lesley Vos is a seasoned web writer, blogger at, and regular contributor to publications on business, career, and self-development. Connect her on Twitter to say hi and see more works of hers.