As a manager or leader in your organisation, it’s vital to recognise all the tools at your disposal to bring the best out of yourself and your team members. You may have heard of the concept of Emotional Intelligence (EI), but how well do you actually apply it?

Emotional Intelligence is defined as,

“the capacity to be aware of, control, and express one’s emotions, and to handle interpersonal relationships judiciously and empathetically.”

Emotional Intelligence first gained popularity in the 1990’s following the release of the book by Daniel Goleman.  Goleman’s research found that EI accounted for 67% of the abilities deemed necessary for leaders to be successful and mattered twice as much as IQ or technical skill combined.

According to the latest Gallup research,

  • only 24% of employees in Australia are engaged (meaning involved in, enthusiastic about and innovating in their work and workplace), and this figure has not changed in a decade
  • 60% of Australian Employees are not engaged (doing enough to get by), and
  • 16% are actively disengaged (doing the bare minimum).

The biggest driver of employee engagement is the culture created by the leadership team.  Another way to identify engaged employees is by the level of discretionary effort that they put into their roles.

The challenge for many organisations is that promotions are given to employees that are smart (high IQ) or who know a lot (high technical skill) and little consideration is given to their level of EI.  Managers with high IQ and technical skill tend to create disengaged teams as they frequently like to demonstrate their knowledge and superiority, creating dependence in the process.

EI is a skill that can be developed over time and leads to a higher level of self-awareness and resourcefulness which enables the person to be flexible in their management style to bringing the best out of their teams. The challenge for many leaders is shutting down their ego (need for personal achievement and recognition) at work and focusing instead on helping their team to achieve great results.

So, I often get asked by managers what can they do to improve their emotional intelligence and I wanted to share my top 6 strategies with you below:

  • Remain calm and centred no matter how stressful the situation – understand that your mental state is created by a combination of your psychology (beliefs and thought patterns), physiology (body language and breathing) and focus.  When you control your physiology and your focus, your psychology and state will follow.
  • Take the time to take a genuine interest in the people around you.  Know their names, their interests and their goals. Greet people with eye contact, a smile and your undivided attention.
  • Listen with genuine empathy.  Don’t feel the need to solve everyone’s problems.  Sometimes listening is just enough.
  • Avoid the need to win in all your interactions with others. It’s not about winning, it’s about helping people to reach their potential while preserving trust and self-esteem for all parties.  Look for a win-win solution that creates true synergy.
  • For any situation that arises, ask yourself what is the best possible outcome that you can create from it and in order to do so, how do you need to show up and what needs to happen?  It’s creating a gap between stimulus and response that allows the best decisions to be made.
  • Take the time to show full appreciation to your team for a job well done.  Catching people doing things right is a great way to build a team.

At Rapport Leadership we run powerful immersive training experiences that help managers and leaders to improve their EI, confidence and communication skills to bring the best out of themselves and their teams in all situations.

If you’d like to find out more, drop us a line and we can tell you more about our range of public and on-site training programs.

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