Managers Need To Work To Deepen Their Emotional Intelligence

Managers need to find ways to boost their emotional intelligence
Managers need to find ways to boost their emotional intelligence
Image Credit: Abhijit Bhaduri

The world of management is filled with a number of different buzz words. One such word that we’ve been hearing for a while is “emotional intelligence”. The reason that managers should start to pay attention to this topic is because evidence is showing that emotional intelligence plays a big role in workplace performance if we can develop the right manager skills. Team members with high emotional intelligence perform better and usually experience better psychological and physical well-being. As managers, clearly this is something that we are going to have to take some time to get some manager training in order to get our hands around it. Let’s see what we should be doing to become more emotionally intelligent.

Take The Time To Label Your Emotions

I can only speak for myself, but I for one rarely like to talk about my feelings, despite the fact that my emotions affect every decision I make. Many managers are much more comfortable saying things like, “I had butterflies in my stomach” or a “lump in my throat,” rather than say what they are really feeling, which is sad or anxious.

In order to do a better job of becoming emotionally intelligent, take the time to practice labeling your emotions with real feeling words — anxious, frustrated, disappointed, etc. You can make this happen by checking on yourself a few times a day and paying attention to how you are feeling, even if you don’t announce it out loud.

Realize that Your Emotions Affect Your Judgment

Once you’ve taken the time to apply labels to how you are feeling, your next step should be to take time to consider how these emotions are affecting your thoughts and behaviors. For example, if you’re sad, it may cause you to be afraid of rejection, and you may underestimate your chances of success.

Another thing to think of is that if you’re overly excited about an opportunity, you may overestimate your chances. This could result in you taking risks without examining the potential consequences or drawbacks.

Managers who want to make better decisions need to recognize how their emotions are affecting their judgment. In doing so, they will balance their outlook of their own logic and emotion, and thus be better equipped to make decisions.

Reach A Conclusion As To If Your Feelings Are A Friend Or An Enemy

Managers need to realize that their emotions are a powerful force. Each emotion that we experience has the power to be helpful or unhelpful at different times. We need to understand that the same emotion can affect us in either a positive or negative way, depending on how we choose to use it.

Managers need to go through a process to better understand their emotions. The first step is to determine what you are feeling at any moment. The next step is to consider whether that emotion is being a friend to you or an enemy at the time. An emotion such as anger could be a friend when it helps you stand up for injustice. However, it could be an enemy when you’re entering a discussion with your boss. Likewise sadness can be helpful when it reminds you to honor a person that you no longer have. Keep in mind that it could be an enemy when it gets in the way of your motivation in life.

If you come to realize that sadness is being an enemy, you must do what you can to regulate your emotions. One way is to try to experiment with different coping strategies to help you do this. Perhaps meditation for a few minutes can help you calm down. Once completed, even a simple activity like walking around the building might help you cheer up.

You Are The One Who Is Responsible For Your Emotions

Managers need to keep in mind that they are the ones who are ultimately responsible for how they feel. We tend to say that our coworker makes us feel bad about ourselves, or perhaps we are blaming our boss for putting us in a bad mood. When we do this, we are letting other people control our emotions. Our ability to respond to our emotions, involves us accepting full responsibility for them.

We need to realize that only you can choose how you decide to respond to your circumstances and to other people. Keep this in mind any time you are tempted to think someone else is dragging you down emotionally. Instead of thinking “He’s making me mad,” maybe you would rather think something like, “I don’t like what he’s doing right now, and I’m getting mad.”

Take The Time To Notice Other People’s Feelings

When we are at work, we are not alone. Your ability to understand how other people are feeling is one of the key components to raising your emotional intelligence and engaging in team building. If you can focus on this then it will prevent you from interrupting someone you disagree with or jumping into an argument.

You need to pay close attention to other people’s emotional states. If you have the ability to recognize how someone is feeling, then you will better understand how that emotion is likely to influence that individual’s perception and behavior.

Limit The Time That You Spend Online

We need to realize that spending too much time on your digital devices will impair all of your relationships. In our romantic relationships, studies have found that having a smartphone present while spending time together can inhibit closeness and erode trust. Too much online time can also interfere with an individual’s ability to read or understand emotions. Setting healthy limits on technology would probably be a good idea. Make sure that you don’t have your phone out when you are talking face to face with people. Set aside periods during the day that you won’t use your phone.

Celebrate Your Successes And Reflect On Your Progress

Understanding how far you have come is something that you need to do constantly. This means that at the end of every day, reflect on your progress. Acknowledge your accomplishments. Also notice the areas in which you need to improve. Did you get defensive about some feedback, or did anxiety prevent you from talking to your boss? Be careful to learn from those mistakes, and do better in the future.

Managers need to understand that there is always room to sharpen your skills when it comes to emotional intelligence. One way is by enrolling in a training program that will help you if you’re feeling stuck. Keep in mind that you can always read a book or hire a coach to help you boost your emotional intelligence even more.

What All Of This Means For You

Emotional intelligence is much more than just some trendy buzzword. What it provides is a new way for managers to truly connect with the people on their team. If we can figure out how best to use it, then we can get the highest performance out of our team. The trick is knowing how to develop this critical business skill.

The first thing that we need to do is to take the time to label the emotions that we are feeling so that we better understand them. We need to understand that the decisions that we will be making will be influenced by our emotions. It is our responsibility to determine if our emotions are currently acting as our friend or as our enemy. Ultimately we are the ones who are responsible for our emotions and we need to take the time to notice how other people are feeling. In order to take charge of our emotions we need to limit how much time we spend online and reflect on our progress.

Most of us probably don’t have a great deal of emotional intelligence. We struggle to determine how the members of our team are currently feeling. However, the good news is that if we are willing to make the effort, we can develop the emotional intelligence skills that we need in order to become better managers. Follow these suggestions and you just might be amazed at the improvement that you see in your team.

– Dr. Jim Anderson Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World IT Management Skills™

Question For You: How do you think that you could measure how much emotional intelligence you currently have?

Click here to get automatic updates when The Accidental IT Leader Blog is updated.
P.S.: Free subscriptions to The Accidental IT Leader Newsletter are now available. Learn what you need to know to do the job. Subscribe now: Click Here!

What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

So here’s an important question for managers: how much of your week do you spend in meetings? I suspect that the answer is probably “A lot.” Too often back-to-back meetings are becoming the norm throughout the business world, leaving everyone frazzled and farther behind at the end of each day. We need to ask ourselves why does this happen? It sure seems as though pointless recurring meetings are one kind of calendar crud. Just as bad are ad-hoc meetings – those meetings that aren’t planned but get added whenever something comes up. Taken together, all of these meetings can easily quickly take over your calendar no matter how good your manager skills are. How can a manager help their team deal with this overflow of meetings?