Emotional intelligence has become an important concept for human relations. Emotional intelligence is the ability to focus on self-awareness, control impulses, and show self-motivation and persistence. It is also the ability to offer empathy and understanding to others (Goleman, 1995). Goldman has argued that emotional intelligence may be more important than IQ when determining the success of an individual in life. When dealing with others, emotional intelligence is critical. It is particularly important for supervisors to use emotional intelligence when dealing with employees.
One friend discussed a difficult situation with me. This friend had called off work past the appropriate time due to an illness in her mother. Her supervisor informed her that she needed to report to work or find coverage, which was allowed at this facility. My friend became upset and emotional; her mother had been intubated that day and the family was discussing terminating life support. She was too upset to explain this in detail. She abruptly quit, which was not her intention. The supervisor said, ‘Fine.’ She hung up then. This supervisor did not show emotional intelligence. While my friend was able to speak to human resources and explain the situation, her relationship with the nurse manager was strained after that. The supervisor did not show emotional intelligence. She is a nurse and should recognize that her employee was emotional. She should have offered empathy.
The nurse manager should have asked my friend to explain in greater detail what the concern was. If she had, she likely would have been able to elicit additional information that would have proved useful. She would have realized that the employee was not in the emotional state of mind to work her shift or to make important decisions such as quitting her job. If the nurse manager had offered empathy and understanding, my friend likely would have realized this and become a better employee in the aftermath. Also, facilities need to retain the nurses they hire. Emotional intelligence among nurse managers help to retain the nurses and even to recruit new ones (Tyczkowski, Vandenhouten, Reilly, Bansal, et al, 2015).
- Goleman, D. (1995). Emotional intelligence. New York: Bantam Books.
- Tyczkowski, B., Vandenhouten, C., Reilly, J., Bansal, G., Kubsch, S. M., & Jakkola, R. (2015). Emotional intelligence (EI) and nursing leadership styles among nurse managers. Nursing administration quarterly, 39(2), 172-180.