If you weren’t born with emotional intelligence (EI), don’t worry, you can learn. It’s a teachable skill that can be improved with practice. If you’re a manager, a high EI is critical to lead, inspire and leverage the best qualities of a team. If you’re lacking EI, you won’t be an effective leader, according to leadership experts.
What is Emotional Intelligence (EI)?
So, what exactly is emotional intelligence? Psychology Today defines EI as the ability to identify and manage your own emotions and the emotions of others. It is generally said to include three skills: emotional awareness; the ability to harness emotions and apply them to tasks like thinking and problem solving; and the ability to manage emotions, which includes regulating your own emotions and cheering up or calming down other people.
Why is EI Important For Managers?
Having a high level of emotional intelligence makes you a more successful manager, according to Hiam Sakakini, Co-Founder of ThinkChangeGrow. Sakakini says her experience as head of Leadership Development for Google taught her that EI was the difference between good leaders and great ones.
“Managers and leaders with high EI tend to create trust more quickly with the people in their team and with the team as a whole. We noticed that where there is trust there is innovation and a higher acceptance of failure or flearning (failing + learning).
“I noticed teams that had a high level of EI with each other tended to be best performing so there was a significant connection between EI, trust, innovation and high performing teams as well as overall happiness and engagement at work.”
This is a sentiment shared by Scott Stein, author of Leadership Hacks, who says the need for EI in managers today is more relevant than ever. “A new level of pressure to get more things done in less time, means the leaders with a high EI are winning the game. Unfortunately, many managers are going back to the old dictator style of leadership where they just tell their staff what to do and treat them like objects rather than people.”
So, What Happens When Managers Lack EI?
According to Stein, without an emotionally intelligent manager, negativity becomes endemic in the team. “Managers lacking EI often create a feeling of mistrust between them and their people. The manager stops involving their people in decision-making and staff start using excuses as to why things have not been accomplished.
“As this negative pattern takes hold, it starts impacting the culture of the organisation—with many staff turning against the manager. The consequences of this shift often end up in disaster. Staff will hide things from their managers and start crossing ethical and legal boundaries to reach targets. The leaders without strong emotional intelligence start losing their best and brightest staff. This compounds the impact with a talent exodus which results in less capable workforce.”
How to Improve Your Emotional Intelligence?
Emotional intelligence comes naturally to some people; they’re the ones who can relate to everyone on an emotional level. They care about people’s feelings and connect with others effortlessly. But if you don’t have this innate skill, don’t despair because you can learn to be more emotionally intelligent.
Develop Emotional Intelligence
You can learn to be more emotionally intelligent through a professional development program, such as Develop Emotional Intelligence. This short online course will provide you with the knowledge and skills required to develop and apply emotional intelligence in the workplace.
In this online emotional intelligence course you will learn how to avoid miscommunication, resolve conflicts and build a cohesive work environment.
Australian Online Courses
When you choose Australian Online Courses for your professional development, you choose quality, both in course content and support. Browse hundreds of industry-approved, flexible online courses covering a variety of subjects today. Simply visit us online or contact one of our friendly Learning Consultants on 1300 762 221.