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Emotional Intelligence is the key to success in Aged Care

Advice for Candidates and Employers

 

Introduction 

Everyone working in Aged Care provides invaluable assistance to residents and patients. Working together, Clinical Care Coordinators, Clinical Care Managers, Registered Nurses, Residential and Facility Managers, ACFI Specialists and Personal Care workers ensure that the best care possible is provided, when and where needed.  

Delivering high-quality person-centred care requires excellent communication and relationship building skills, responsiveness, accuracy, problem-solving, empathy, self-motivation and collaboration with team members. 

 

These are the skills of Emotional Intelligence, which include:

  • Self-awareness

  • Self-regulation

  • Motivation

  • Empathy and

  • Social skill

In this HPG educational series we will discuss each of the components of Emotional Intelligence.

Part 1: Self - Awareness 

Self-awareness means having a deep understanding of one’s emotions, strengths, weaknesses, needs and drives.  

People with strong self-awareness are honest with themselves and with others. 

They are neither overly critical nor unrealistically hopeful. They recognise how their feelings affect them, other people and their job performance. 

People with high self-awareness are candid and have an ability to assess themselves realistically.

They are able to speak accurately and openly about their emotions and the impact they have on their work. 

Self aware people know and are comfortable talking about their limitations and strengths and demonstrate enthusiasm for constructive criticism. People with low self-awareness interpret feedback that they need to improve as a threat or a sign of failure. 

The following are interview questions focusing on Self-awareness.  

As a candidate, think through specific examples from your Aged Care experience and highlight your successes during your interview. 

As an interviewer use these questions, and the responses you hear, to determine a candidate’s strengths. 

Interview questions: 

  • How would you describe yourself? 

  • How would others describe you? 

  • What are your strengths? 

  • What are your areas for development? 

  • Tell me about a time when you’ve received feedback? 

As a candidate, be prepared to offer in-depth examples when further questioned by your interviewer. 

As the interviewer, listen to the answers given and probe further for additional insight. 

 

Part 2: Self - Regulation 

 

Success in busy environments like Aged Care requires high levels of self-regulation. 

The key to successful self-regulation is the ability to control or redirect impulses and moods together with the ability to think before acting.

Successful self-regulators still feel bad moods and emotional impulses, just as everyone else does, however they find ways to control them. 

Self-regulation is important because people who are in control of their feelings and impulses (ie people who are reasonable) are able to create an environment of trust and fairness. 

In today’s fast-moving and ever-changing environment people who have mastered their emotions are able to roll with the changes.

When a new initiative is announced they don’t panic. Instead they are able to suspend judgment, seek out information and listen to others. 

Self-regulation also enhances integrity – both personal and organisational. Many bad actions that happen are a function of impulsive behaviour. People don’t necessarily plan to lie, exaggerate, or misrepresent situations.

When an opportunity presents itself people with low impulse control just say yes.

By contrast people with high levels of self-regulation challenge impulses and build lasting relationships based on trust. 

People with emotional self-regulation therefore have a propensity for reflection and thoughtfulness; comfort with ambiguity and change; and integrity – an ability to say no to impulsive urges. 

 

The following are interview questions focusing on Self-regulation. 

As a candidate, think through specific examples from your Aged Care experience and highlight your successes during your interview. 

As an interviewer use these questions, and the responses you hear, to determine a candidate’s strengths. 

 

Interview questions: 

  • During busy times how do you feel? 

  • In these situations how do you think that you come across to others? 

  • Tell me about a time when there were lots of changes? How did you feel? 

  • What do you find stressful? 

  • What do you when you are feeling stressed? 

As a candidate, be prepared to offer in-depth examples when further questioned by your interviewer. 

As the interviewer, listen to the answers given and probe further for additional insight. 

 Part 3: Motivation 

People with high levels of intrinsic motivation have a passion for the work they do. They understand the importance of their role and the contribution they are making. They love to learn and are eager to explore new approaches to their work. 

People who are driven to achieve are forever raising the performance bar. People who are driven to do better also want a way of tracking progress. 

Whereas people with low achievement motivation are often fuzzy about results, those with high achievement motivation often keep score by tracking such hard measures as KPIs and results. 

People with high motivation remain optimistic when situations are against them. In such cases self-regulation combines with achievement motivation to overcome the frustration and depression that come after a setback or failure. 

The following are interview questions focusing on Motivation.  

As a candidate, think through specific examples from your Aged Care experience and highlight your successes during your interview. 

As an interviewer use these questions, and the responses you hear, to determine a candidate’s strengths. 

Interview questions: 

  • What motivates you to work? 

  • Why is this important? 

  • Tell me about the results you have achieved?  

  • How did you achieve these results? 

  • What do you do when you experience a set back or a failure? 

As a candidate, be prepared to offer in-depth examples when further questioned by your interviewer. 

As the interviewer, listen to the answers given and probe further for additional insight. 

Part 4: Empathy 

Empathy means thoughtfully considering other’s feelings, along with other factors, in the process of making decisions. It doesn’t mean adopting other people’s emotions as one’s own and trying to please everybody – because that would make action impossible. 

People with empathy understand the emotional make-up of others – they know what they are feeling. People with empathy are attuned to subtleties in body language – they can hear the message beneath the words being spoken. 

In today’s team-based environment empathy is an important component of collaboration. Within teams everyone must be able to sense and understand the view points of others in the group and to encourage them to speak openly about their feelings. 

The following are interview questions focusing on Empathy. 

As a candidate, think through specific examples from your Aged Care experience and highlight your successes during your interview. 

As an interviewer use these questions, and the responses you hear, to determine a candidate’s strengths. 

Interview questions: 

  • What does empathy mean to you? 

  • In the workplace why do you think empathy is important? 

  • Could you please describe a time when you used empathy to better understand someone else. 

  • Tell me about your team members. 

  • What’s important to them?  

As a candidate, be prepared to offer in-depth examples when further questioned by your interviewer. 

As the interviewer, listen to the answers given and probe further for additional insight. 

Part 5: Social Skill 

Social skill is the culmination of the other dimensions of emotional intelligence. People tend to be very effective at managing relationships when they can understand and control their own emotions and can empathise with the feelings of others. 

Socially skilled people tend to have a wide circle of acquaintances and they find common ground with people of all kinds. It doesn’t mean that they socialise continually but it does mean that they work according to the assumption that nothing important gets done alone. Such people have a network in place when the time for action comes. 

Socially skilled people are adept at working in teams.

They are expert persuaders – a manifestation of self-awareness, self-regulation and empathy combined. Good persuaders know when to make an emotional plea and when an appeal to reason will work better. Motivation makes such people excellent collaborators – their passion for the work spreads to others and they are driven to find solutions. 

Socially skilled people may at times appear not to be working at work. They are chatting in the corridors with colleagues or joking around with people who are not even connected to their ‘real jobs’.

Socially skilled people don’t think that it makes sense to arbitrarily limit the scope of their relationships.

They build bonds widely because they know that in these fluid times they may need help someday from people they are just getting to know today. 

The following are interview questions focusing on Social Skill 

As a candidate, think through specific examples from your Aged Care experience and highlight your successes during your interview.  

As an interviewer use these questions, and the responses you hear, to determine a candidate’s strengths. 

Interview questions: 

  • Tell me about other people you interact with at work, outside of your current team? 

  • What discussions do you have with them? 

  • How would you describe your relationship with them?  

  • What do you do to make work relationships successful? 

  • When you start a new job how do you build relationships? 

As a candidate, be prepared to offer in-depth examples when further questioned by your interviewer. 

As the interviewer, listen to the answers given and probe further for additional insight.