Emotional intelligence refers to a set of competencies and abilities that allows one to effectively recognize their emotions and that of others, label them, handle them, and take them into account when making decisions and behaving. Emotionally intelligent people are better at managing and understanding their emotions which allows them to make better decisions and to build better relationships both in personal and professional lives. Developed emotional intelligence allows one to communicate more effectively face-to-face and in the emails.
Tips for cross-cultural emotionally intelligent email communication between people who hold different ranks:
1. Addressing touchy subjects in the emails, try to take a break and edit the initial draft of the email a bit later to ensure that your emotions will not have a negative effect on the receiver.
2. When writing an email to subordinate, beware of your position of power and make sure that your email does not sound condescending as it is easy to slip into such an attitude.
3. Beware of possible cultural differences. It would be better to avoid any references to very narrow contexts and especially jokes that are not universally straightforward and clear to all people alike.
4. While it may be perfectly fine to use and occasional smiley-face, it would be better to reserve any stronger emotional expressions like writing an all caps, using exclamation marks, or excessive emojis because they may be interpreted very differently by people from different cultures and they may send misleading hints in communication between people with rank differences.
5. Beware of the fact that not seeing the person you are emailing may mitigate the inhibition of expressing strong negative emotions experienced in face-to-face communication which may lead to saying distressing things in emails. While this will not lead to immediate consequences, it may have a long-lasting effect on the professional relationship.
- Bradberry, T. (2013, January 11). Emotionally Intelligent Emailing. Retrieved from https://www.forbes.com/sites/travisbradberry/2013/01/11/emotionally-intelligent-emailing/#f0fbb417e3e2.
- Goleman, D. (2012). Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ. Random House Publishing Group.