The Intersection Between Emotional Intelligence and Employee Appreciation

March 16, 2020 9:00 am Published by

Learn about the links between emotional intellience and appreciation at work

Emotional Intelligence is a big deal, and a lot of people across all fields have recognized its importance. Daniel Goleman labeled it the sine quo non of leadership. Travis Bradberry found high levels of emotional intelligence in 90% of top performers across a variety of industries. Actor David Caruso called emotional intelligence the “intersection” of head and heart. Jack Welch said that emotional intelligence was more important than book smarts in the making of a leader.

Emotional intelligence describes a person’s ability to recognize, manage, and influence emotions in themselves and other people. It is the skill you use to navigate social interaction: recognizing the emotional impact of what is going on in yourself and others and knowing how to respond for a positive, desired effect. It is that intangible element some people seem to have that always gives them an edge with others.

What does emotional intelligence have to do with appreciation in the workplace? Think about it like this, emotional intelligence is the engine that powers your ability to identify the need for appreciation and then delivering on that need with a skillful precision. Inspiring Performance is one competency in emotional intelligence. You already do that by making people feel valued through the 5 Languages of Appreciation. That skill you’re already using is where we find the intersection of emotional intelligence and appreciation in the workplace.

How can you improve your emotional intelligence? Let’s look at the components that make up emotional intelligence in the workplace and what you can do to improve them.

Self-Awareness: Knowing how emotions affect your decision-making, behavior, and performance is critical, probably the most important aspect of emotional intelligence. You need to know how your emotions interfere with or improve upon your ability to make people feel valued. Ask yourself when you didn’t follow the right steps of appreciation and failed to make someone feel valued: What was your mood? How were you feeling? What might have steered you from the right steps to uplift a colleague by letting them know they’re appreciated? Start taking inventory of your successes and misses and identify the emotions you were feeling.

Awareness of Others: Using the same measure as above, watch those around you. Take inventory of your colleagues’ successes and misses in helping you feel valued and making others feel appreciated. Identify their apparent emotional state and feelings and file that information in your memory bank for future reference.

Authenticity: Be yourself. Don’t fake who you are in the workplace. Ask someone close to you, both personally and professionally, to give you honest feedback as to how much of the “real you” comes out when you’re in your professional role. Obviously, you should remain professionally appropriate, but if you are a humorous and fun person in your personal life, you shouldn’t be an emotionless drone in the workplace.

Emotional Reasoning: This is where you cultivate your awareness of the influence of your emotions in your decision-making, problem-solving, and interacting with people and how you can use that knowledge intentionally. Maybe you need to manage your feelings when you are having a conversation surrounding a particular issue or dealing with “that” problem you must face. Move yourself into a helpful emotional state and use it to drive you into success. If you can’t tap that emotion at the moment, use your ability to analyze what that emotion does to bring you to the right decision and follow that line of thinking.

Self-Management: This is probably the most difficult component to develop. This is where you actively manage your emotions, responses, mood, behavior, and drive. Practice this one in a controlled environment where you feel safe and only with people you can trust to give you honest feedback. Use your trusted colleagues to help you invoke the desired emotion and then provide an honest assessment of your emotional reasoning when you feel that way. It will take time, but you can do it. For example, use your inventory from self-awareness to identify triggers that may spark impatience in. Ask your trusted colleagues to discuss their observations of you when this happens. In some cases, you will want them to softly introduce a trigger so you can identify in yourself when you feel compelled to react instead of respond. Then, you can use that experience to recognize signs within yourself to know that you need to take a thoughtful detour to bring out the appropriate behavior in spite of the feeling.

Inspiring Performance: As you develop the other five components of emotional intelligence, you will see your skill delivering appreciation and making people feel valued improve. With the 5 languages of appreciation you have a head start growing in this competency, and now you have a better understanding of what can further empower you to create a culture of appreciation in your workplace.


*Genos International developed and validated a model of emotional intelligence solely applied in workplace behavior. The competencies listed in this article follow Genos International’s model.


Dr. Jimmy Turner is a certified Appreciation at Work Facilitator and a Premier Partner. He is the co-author of the acclaimed book Faith Acts: A Provocative Call to Live What You Believe with best-selling author Dr. Dillon Burroughs. A Marine Corps veteran, Dr. Turner continues to serve his community as the Chief Operations Officer of the Chattanooga Community Kitchen. He also works with a variety of organizations as the lead consultant for Turner Solutions. Dr. Turner lives in Chattanooga, TN with his wife, Shay. For more information please visit


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March 16, 2020 9:00 am

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