Are your employees struggling with interpersonal interactions with customers or each other? Do you find yourself responding to customer complaints that should have been avoidable? Maybe you feel like your team isn’t as cohesive as it could be. The solution is to include emotional intelligence training activities in your IT staff development strategy.
Reasons to Offer Emotional Intelligence Training Activities
In the IT world, there’s no lack of training opportunities. Whether it’s skill-building, mastering new technology, or reviewing the latest best practices, there’s always something to learn. So why include emotional intelligence training activities on the never-ending training list – especially when it’s not directly related to the technical skills necessary to do the job? Emotional intelligence training can have a wide-reaching impact. Reasons to incorporate emotional intelligence activities into your training strategy include:
- Improved customer retention
- A more positive workplace culture
- Improved employee satisfaction
- Better customer feedback & increased customer satisfaction
- Improved relationships with clients
- Developing internal leaders
- Building a more cohesive team and improving coworker relationships
Emotional Intelligence Training Activities
Here are three emotional intelligence exercises to do with your team. These three are simple enough to incorporate into a regular staff meeting.
Before you introduce these exercises, be sure to explain the personal benefits of studying and working on emotional intelligence to your team. Like Simon Sinek says, “Without the why, the how and the what don’t matter.” Individual benefits include improved relationships, easier conflict resolution, less stress, more influence, and improved job satisfaction.
Exercise #1: Take an Emotional Intelligence Assessment
The foundations of emotional intelligence include self-awareness, emotion recognition, and emotional regulation. A great way to help your staff begin to develop better emotional intelligence skills is to have them take an assessment to identify their current EQ skills, so they can identify their strengths and see where they need improvement.
Exercise #2: Role-Play Scenarios
Have team members pair up to role-play a challenging interpersonal scenario commonly encountered in their work. Alternatively, have two employees role-play the scenario while the rest of the team observes. At Compassionate Geek, we’ve found it helps to explain that many people find role-plays awkward, but they’ve been proven to be helpful. Say, “I wouldn’t ask you to do this if it weren’t effective, so please take it seriously.” Afterward, reflect on the interaction:
- How did it feel to be the “customer”?
- What did their words, tone, or body language convey?
- Did the IT professional do or say anything to escalate or de-escalate the situation?
- How do you think the “customer” would rate the interaction? Why?
- What could the IT professional do differently to promote a better outcome?
After the debrief, role-play another scenario using the insights gained through the discussion to improve the interaction. Debrief again to see what changed.
Exercise #3: A Deep Dive into Feelings
Ask your team members to think about a difficult interaction with a supervisor, colleague, or client. Have them close their eyes and think about the following questions to help them reflect on their current feelings about the situation. As they better understand how negative emotions may impact future relationships, EQ scores will increase.
Here are questions for them to consider:
- Where did you feel the negative emotion? In your head, neck, chest, shoulders, stomach, or somewhere else?
- What emotion did you feel? Anger, frustration, irritability, or something different?
- As you reflect on this emotion, what other feelings did you experience that you didn’t recognize at the moment? Anxiety? Helplessness? Inferiority? Embarrassment?
- Put yourself in the customer’s shoes. What do you think they were feeling? What gave you that indication?
- What did you do when you first began to feel the negative emotion? Did you react right away? Did you remember to take a breath and stay calm?
- What could you have done differently to improve the situation?
After this exercise, debrief as a group to learn from each other’s experiences and identify key takeaways.
Emotional Intelligence Training for IT Professionals
Emotional intelligence training activities are helpful, but you’ll see the most benefits from a structured training program. Compassionate Geek offers emotional intelligence training designed for the IT professional. This online, on-demand course is available for individuals or entire teams. Add it to your company’s professional training offerings or use it in an employee’s individual development plan. Help your team improve their social awareness, develop relationship skills to improve their professional and personal lives, and improve their workplace performance. Learn more or register now!
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