Emotional intelligence or EQ is becoming increasingly vital to human success in the increasingly digital future of work. Emotional intelligence is the ability to manage one’s own and other people’s emotions, to discriminate between different emotions, label them appropriately and to use emotional information to guide thinking and behavior. Understanding people is an extremely complicated task. There are so many emotions and traits for every individual that we’ll probably never see two people that are exactly alike.
Simple triggers can arouse different emotions in different people. All these emotions and traits are what make us unique, but they are also what make being a leader or a good manager a difficult task. In this article we are going to discuss the role of emotional intelligence for managers.
Importance of Emotional Intelligence at Workplace
With globalization, teams have become multi-cultural and global and with that interactions have become complex. It is difficult to express emotions in some cultures whereas, few others are more expressive. For this reason, emotional intelligence has become imperative as a behavioral skill in organizations today.
Essentially, emotional intelligence at workplace refers to understanding, expressing and managing, good relationships and solving problems under pressure. Emotional Intelligence has a significant role to play at workplace, specifically for managers, enhancing not only performance, but also productivity of the unit. According to Goleman’s model, those with a higher EQ have a greater ability to self-regulate, and higher levels of motivation – which can in turn reduce their tendency to procrastinate, lead to improved self-confidence, and enable them to focus on achieving long-term goals.
World Economic Forum ranks Emotional intelligence sixth in the list of the top 10 skills needed to thrive in the workplace of the future. EQ affects everyday workplace decisions such as promoting, hiring and firing employees, decisions on important projects, performance appraisals, etc. Nearly 71% of hiring managers surveyed by Career Builder in 2011 said they valued an employee’s EQ over their IQ. A further 75% said they would be more likely to promote an employee with high emotional intelligence and 59% said they wouldn’t hire a candidate with a high IQ and low EQ. It is clear that emotional intelligence is thus an important asset for employees to succeed at workplace and enhance performance.
Emotional Intelligence for Managers
Many of us believe great managers are born, specifically, we attach certain characteristics to our version of what we believe is successful. The key traits most of us believe a manager should possess are passion, vision, fearlessness, infallibility etc. Great managers are aware of their own managerial style. For them, having awareness of how their style influences their team, makes these already great managers, exceptional. Effective managers not only identify, understand and manage their own emotions, but are able to do that with others in a very empowering way, referred to as having emotional intelligence.
Christina Boedker conducted a study on the correlation between leadership and organizational performance. After aggregating data from more than 5600 people across 77 organizations, she concluded the ability of a leader to be empathetic and compassionate had the greatest impact on organizational profitability and productivity. If you’re a manager, you often need to feel confident and in control in challenging situations with colleagues and customers. Managers with a higher EQ helps team to collaborate more effectively and identify the specific drivers that motivate individual employees.
Below are some tools of emotional intelligence for managers that can prove to be highly useful at workplace:
- Self-awareness – Self-awareness is described as ”the ability to recognize and understand personal moods and emotions and drives, as well as their effect on others.” Keeping a journal in which one can capture his or her personal thoughts and the emotions one is going through is a good practice for enhancing self-awareness. It also helps to slow down when one is experiencing anger or other strong emotions. Remember, no matter what the situation, one can always choose how to react to it if one is self-aware.
- Self-regulation – Self-regulation is about your commitment to personal accountability. Managers who regulate themselves effectively rarely attack others verbally or make rushed or emotional decisions, stereotype people, or compromise their values. Self-regulation is all about staying in control. Make a commitment to control your emotions, admit to your mistakes and anger when needed, and practice deep-breathing exercises to calm yourself.
- Internal Motivation – Self-motivated managers are driven to achieve their goals and they have extremely high standards for the quality of their work. Re-examine why you took this job and make sure that your goal statements are SMART. SMART goals when supported with internal motivation can help managers lead successfully.
- Empathy – For managers, having empathy is critical for managing a successful team. Managers with high empathy have the ability to put themselves in someone else’s situation. They help develop the people in their team, challenge others who are acting unfairly, give constructive feedback, and listen to those who need it. Put yourself in someone else’s situation and take the time to look at situations from other people’s perspectives. Also, respond to other’s feelings and address other’s emotions to establish effective communication and relationships.
- Social skills – Managers high on socials skills are great communicators. They are good moderators of conflicts and can manage tensions in the team effectively without affecting interpersonal relationships. Managers high on social skills are able to increase the team morale and help them deliver results.
Managing a team isn’t easy, but some make it easier for themselves by applying a few basic principles of emotional intelligence. The level of emotional intelligence you’re able to cultivate has an extraordinary and immediate impact on the people around you, and in many cases, on the trajectory of your career.
Henceforth, emotional intelligence for managers is an essential component of one’s work and personality.