Workplace Essentials

Beyond Workplace Politics: Using Social and Emotional Competencies

Within every organization exists workplace politics. Workplace politics involves the use of power and networking within an organization to achieve changes that benefit both individuals and the workplace as a whole.   

In 1990, two American psychologists, Dr. Jack Mayer and Dr. Peter Salovey, purported that if there was a cognitive intelligence or IQ then there must be an emotional intelligence. Daniel Goleman, the co-founder of the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL) theorized the social aspect of behaviour as a complement to the emotional. His definition expanded to: “Social and emotional intelligence involves understanding your feelings and behaviours, as well as those of others, and applying this knowledge to your interactions and relationships.” In his work with CASEL, he developed five interrelated sets of social and emotional competencies: self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, good relationship skills, and responsible decision making.  

Social and emotional intelligence refers to one’s ability to be aware of their feelings in the present moment. In the workplace, emotional intelligence also refers to one’s ability to communicate effectively with others in the workplace and control their impulses. There are several components of social and emotional intelligence including self-awareness, self-management, and social awareness. 

In order to deal with workplace politics, it is essential to have a high emotional and social intelligence. Emotional intelligence allows individuals to distinguish between formal and informal workplace politics, and better understand how to improve self-management through reflection. 

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