So EI (emotional intelligence) seems to be the new trend for people development nowadays. Most managers think about EI as just a tool to build a more positive team or healthier work environment.
But EI is about so much more than this... here I focus on the purely pragmatic, tangible results.
Businesses don’t promote people who are just “nice”; they promote those who get things done through others. Particularly, those whom others will follow to increase brand awareness, productivity and profitability.
EI can help you be that person. That is, a true leader who can benefit his organisation, his team and make more money by securing the next promotion or regularly getting a good commission or bonus. And as you move up the ladder, EI can help you retain this performance.
Here are four secrets that successful managers know about using the core skills of EI:
1. Start with self-awareness: When you understand who you are as a people manager, you can then use your natural abilities and work on your communication challenges.
For example, a more results-oriented manager may view team members as “agents” to get things done (left brain). If this is you, then you may need to develop the more empathetic (right) side of your brain to be on the same page as the other right-brainers within your team.
Right-brainers may perceive a left-brain communication style as being forceful rather than collaborative in trying to achieve team goals. If you were a more right-brain manager working with left-brained competitive, goal-driven people then you would also need to adjust your communication style to win their support.
2. Control your emotions: As a manager you can get squeezed in the middle, receiving pressure from top management as well as from your team with their day-to-day personal and business challenges. Mastering EI skills can help you learn how to never take it out on others.
It makes you look out of control, jeopardises your business relationships and risks putting you in the “vulnerable managers” category within the company.
3. Find your empathy: Learn how to put yourself in other people’s shoes, including those you may dislike. This skill will transform your relationships at work.
If your job requires you to interact with customers, it will also help win more clients and keep disgruntled customers who may otherwise be unhappy with your company’s service.
4. Invest in your relationship with your team: Here are some practical tips you can start implementing today which won’t cost you much effort or cash:
• Explain to your people how each role matters to the departmental objectives and how these all relate to the company’s vision and key performance indicators (KPIs). People need to feel a part of something bigger and that their work has real value
• Coach for performance. If you don’t know how, learn! Coaching as a tool helps you to empower people, to instill a sense of accountability, and to motivate them to achieve their targets
• Take time out. Go for coffee, bowling, on safari — whatever is suitable for your company’s culture and budget. The simplest things can make a difference to building a coherent team
• Show your appreciation and give credit when it’s due.
• Involve your team in the big decision-making processes. They will feel that their opinion matters and will be more likely to care about what’s good for the long term
• Be a role model. You can’t ask your team to stay late if you don’t for example. They look up to you and need to see the congruence between what you do and what you ask them to do.
Be careful to select training that goes beyond EI as self-development only. Focus on courses that team you how to take advantage of key emotional management techniques to drive results, profits and promotions. These include how to:
• Propel positive impacts in workplace culture (making it an attractive place to work);
• Align with your organisation’s values to achieve peak staff performance; and
• Improve the bottom-line (productivity and better service, creating ‘sticky’ customers).
The writer is the CEO of HNI Training & Coaching.