How to Build Diverse and Inclusive Workplaces Using Emotional Intelligence

June 22, 2021

Modern workplaces are no longer the homogenous places they once were. These days, almost every workforce is made up of a combination of different genders, cultures, languages, and religious differences. 

As a result, leaders need to take a proactive approach to build workplaces that are inclusive and supportive of the diverse perspectives and experiences employees bring to the table.

The key to success is high emotional intelligence. 

What is Emotional Intelligence?

Emotional intelligence refers to a person’s ability to recognize, understand, manage, and reason with both their own emotions and those of others around them.

Building your emotional intelligence isn’t just about being successful in the workplace – taking the time to develop a deeper connection with your emotions, and understanding that helps you react more calmly, and empathy, are skills you can apply to every area of your life.

How does emotional intelligence enhance diversity and inclusion in workplaces?

1. It builds empathy

Empathy is one of the pillars of successful leadership, especially in diverse groups.

Empathetic people are able to picture what it’s like to be in someone else’s shoes and understand what they’re going through.

More importantly, people with high emotional intelligence are willing to help others improve their situation, which can be invaluable in a workplace setting if a teammate is struggling.

2. It reduces unconscious bias

Unconscious bias is defined as prejudice in favour of or against a person or thing as compared to another, in a way that is usually considered unfair.

Individuals with high emotional intelligence are aware of their own unconscious biases, and actively work to eliminate them and act with as much fairness and equity as possible.

3. It creates an inclusive culture

Research has shown that emotional intelligence is a predictor of multicultural competence.

Individuals with high emotional intelligence can appreciate varied perspectives and experiences, and work to create positive and supportive environments where diversity is celebrated and appreciated.

4. It improves mindfulness

Diverse workforces can create positive or negative social situations, which is why it’s essential to ensure that all team members have well-developed emotional intelligence.

When we take the time to understand and reflect on our own emotions and the experiences that trigger those feelings, we can work to mitigate negative behaviours or thoughts as they arise.

Start building your diverse and inclusive workplace today

The foundation for diversity and inclusion at work is emotionally intelligent leaders and employees. At EI Advantage, we’re experienced practitioners and coaches who are committed to helping you develop the “soft skills” that you need for success.

To get started, simply sign up for our next EQ-i2.0 / EQ360 Certification coming up on June 22 – 25! 

You can also subscribe to our mailing list to receive hand-picked leadership tips and strategies delivered to your inbox once a month.