Emotional Intelligence: looking beyond the screen…

virtual leadership – remote teams – training needs – EI

We all know it: we’ve read it, we’ve heard it, all major research and consulting firms tell us the same… Emotional Intelligence (EI) is one of the most important management capabilities, especially now, during Covid-19 times. Leaders and managers are expected to have it – or learn it, if they don’t have it already.

But what is EI and why is it so important? What difference does it make to employees, teams and companies? More importantly, how can the manager ‘learn it’?

Emotional Intelligence in simple words is the capability of being aware of and managing your own emotions and being able to be aware of others’ emotions and to empathise with them. To cut a long story short, we know from the research that EI is needed within organisations to build supportive and caring environment – which in turn will have positive effect on our employee engagement and performance rates.

Yet, less than half of organisations provide EI training to their senior- and mid-management. This leaves the managers wondering how they can develop it, a lot of them will look for coaching and support outside of the organisation.

Here’s a list of some simple actions that every manager can take as a starting point towards developing their EI.    

1. Develop self-awareness: connect with your own emotions on a regular basis and ask why are you feeling this way? Then ask why one more time. This will help you dig deeper into understanding the root cause.

2. Authentic leadership: don’t be afraid of sharing your feelings with your team members, showing your positive, and negative feelings and thoughts will add authenticity to your management style and make you more relatable.

3. Heart check-in: run team catch ups in which you only talk about how you’re all feeling – this can be a great way to open a dialogue about emotional wellbeing and create a culture of safety and caring for each other.

4. Observe and listen: look for cues that can give you more information – physical (example: an employee looking tired and pale), behavioural (example: an employee being quiet and withdrawn in meetings), emotional (example: someone losing temper in an email reply), verbal (what they say, and is it what we’d normally hear from them).

5. Show empathy: showing that you understand and care can go a long way – no one expects you to solve all their issues but being a listening ear and expressing understanding can work miracles

Sources:

Capgemini, 2019:

https://www.capgemini.com/news/emotional-intelligence-report/

Boston Consulting Group, 2020:

https://www.bcg.com/en-nl/publications/2020/people-centric-transformation-going-beyond-the-crisis

Illustration: ID 131610980 © Hajnalikornel | Dreamstime.com

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