Research now shows what we intuitively know to be true – that effective management is closely related to emotional intelligence (EQ). In fact, when one researcher evaluated the emotional intelligence of hundreds of people at work, he found that 90% of the top performers rated high in emotional intelligence.
Emotionally intelligent leadership has been shown to reduce turnover, create more effective work teams, improve organizational culture, foster creative problem solving and even help employees accept change.
And the best news is, that managers can improve their EQ by putting into practice some simple strategies that we share with all our executive coaching clients.
But let’s take a step back for a moment.
What exactly is Emotional Intelligence?
According to Peter Salovey from Yale University and John D. Mayer from the University of New Hampshire, EQ is the “ability to monitor one’s own and others’ feelings and emotions, to discriminate among them and use this information to guide one’s thinking and actions”.
Specifically, people with a high EQ are able to defer immediate gratification and exhibit self-control in order to improve their chances for long term success,
participate in activities that are good for themselves and serve a greater good of the team or organization, express their emotions appropriately, and adjust to each situation.
Here are some simple strategies to help your managers boost their emotional intelligence at work:
Look For The Positive –
This is probably the most important strategy for improving EQ. Human beings are naturally wired to look for the negative, scan for what is missing, and focus on what is wrong. The problem is this type of thinking can limit our ability to connect with people and motivate team members. We encourage managers to get into the habit of noticing the positive and using positive language when interacting with their team members. This mental shift can be strengthened with practice and can have an enormous impact on the manager’s effectiveness.
Consider another Explanation-
When managers with low EQ, get into a conflict, they often blame the other person for being difficult. Instead, we teach them to pause and ask themselves, “Is there another explanation for this conflict?” This strategy does two things. It unlocks their mind from the black and white “me vs. them” position and it opens the door to thinking about other reasons why the conflict exists. Asking “Is there another explanation?” is an effective EQ strategy that managers can learn quickly, and see immediate results.
Develop a Gratitude Attitude –
The ability to tell someone that you appreciate their contribution is a critical EQ skill for all managers. We help managers develop an “Attitude of Gratitude” habit by encouraging them to say “Thank You for doing such a great job” at least 5 times a day. This simple behavioral shift can engage employees in ways that other rewards cannot. Social recognition is a currency that all managers have access to, but we have found that only the managers with a high EQ truly take advantage of this valuable motivational strategy.
Your managers CAN increase their emotional intelligence and in turn create a positive work environment where people thrive, perform, and like coming to work each day.