How cultivating emotional intelligence can boost job satisfaction

By Jill Meyer-Lippert, RDH, DrBicuspid.com contributing writer

July 28, 2020 -- The coronavirus pandemic and subsequent shutdown have significantly affected the dental industry in multiple ways. Team members may be experiencing new physical challenges regarding personal protective equipment (PPE) or have concerns about job security and safety. On the other hand, practice owners and managers are faced with the challenge of balancing team members' concerns with the need to meet patient demand and increased costs of business, while trying to recover financially from the mandated shutdowns.

Increased stress and uncertainty equal decreased job satisfaction. With the already existing shortage of dental professionals in the workforce, the dental industry simply can't afford a mass exodus of qualified team members.

Where does emotional intelligence fit in?

Jill Meyer-Lippert, RDH
Jill Meyer-Lippert, RDH.

Emotional intelligence (otherwise known as emotional quotient, or EQ) is defined as the capacity to be aware of, control, and express one's emotions, as well as knowing how your mindset and actions affect you and those around you.

EQ consists of the following main factors:

  • Self-motivation: Self-motivation involves a passion to work for reasons that go beyond external drives, such as surroundings or power. It is based on an internal drive to pursue goals with energy and persistence.
  • Self-regulation: Self-regulation is the ability to control or redirect disruptive impulses and moods and the propensity to suspend judgement and think before acting. Identifying strategies to use in response to negative triggers and properly labeling our emotions improve impulse control.
  • Self-awareness: Self-awareness is the ability to recognize and understand your moods, emotions, and drives, as well as their effects on others. While it can be difficult to see ourselves clearly and objectively, descriptors in EQ assessments provide opportunity for an honest reflection within ourselves.
  • Social regulation: There is a constellation of abilities involved in building a network of good relationships. To build good social regulation, a person must be able to "take the emotional temperature" of others and respond in ways that build rapport and common ground. Good social regulation and social skills, such as collaboration, are crucial to quality work and personal relationships.
  • Social awareness: Everyone is in his or her own unique emotional state every day, which can affect his or her job performance and relationship with others. Because of this, working on social awareness can improve your own personal interactions. Just as you can practice taking your own emotional temperature throughout the day, you can make a point of becoming more observant of others' feelings as well.

Anxieties and conflict can be a challenge in the best of times. Through the process of identifying areas of EQ in need of attention and growth while cultivating positive changes through awareness and mindful routine, team members can create a positive culture to achieve career longevity.

Jill Meyer-Lippert, RDH, is a community relations manager for Custom Dental Solutions, which provides practice development and business solutions for privately owned dental practices. She has served patients in clinical dental hygiene for more than 25 years. During her clinical career, she founded and continues to own a company called Side Effect Support, which is dedicated to helping cancer survivors manage short-term oral side effects and long-term damage to oral health associated with oncology treatments.

The comments and observations expressed herein do not necessarily reflect the opinions of DrBicuspid.com, nor should they be construed as an endorsement or admonishment of any particular idea, vendor, or organization.


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