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Emotional Intelligence and Management – 3 Ways to Show Your Softer Side

When you look at any article or book that discusses leadership and management, you’ll notice that almost all of them praise emotional intelligence as a prerequisite for being a successful manager or a successful leader.

Why is this skill so important, and can we develop it? We are talking about and dealing with emotions every single day in our lives (ok, maybe some of us talk less about it), and based on how we understand and handle them, we can build (or destroy) relationships, connect (or drift apart) with other people and build our social network in general.

Being responsible for a group of people in your company, for their motivation, performance and results, means that, besides the fact that you are dealing with your own emotional world, you should understand and address the very same worlds of your employees. And that is the very core of emotional intelligence – the power of empathy.

Now, I like to believe that every one of us is constantly evolving as a person and as a professional, but how is (and is it) possible to boost our emotional awareness to improve ourselves as managers and leaders?

You’ll probably agree on this - we all had that one boss who was impatient, didn’t care what effect his behaviour had on others and who was able to turn an average office day into a roller coaster of anxiety and fear. This is exactly how a lack of emotional intelligence looks like in practice.  You don’t want to be this guy if you want your employees to be efficient and successful and your department/company to thrive.

What you can do to improve your relationship with your employees so that they can see you as a great motivator (and you probably are) is the following:

Work on your self-awareness. Yup, you have to know yourself better to be able to understand and get to know others as well. What motivates you? Why are you behaving the way you do? If you can truly understand the answers to these questions, you’ll be able to think more rationally and objectively address any possible issue. On the other hand, you’ll be able to understand your employee’s motivation and behavior better too.

React properly to any emotional trigger at work. It means, whatever happens, that makes you feel overwhelmed by negative emotions and ready to burst, breathe deeply and focus on the understanding that specific situation, rather than only judging it. For example, if one of your employees is frequently late for work, instead of accusing him of being irresponsible, try first talking to him and finding out why this is happening. When you know the cause, you could offer a solution, right?

Practice effective empathy. This one is simple – just listen to other people. You’ll be surprised how much you’ll find out about their needs, doubts, inspiration. And use that newly gained knowledge to improve your managerial approach and find the right way to motivate them. They will be much happier at their desks, and you’ll enjoy well-deserved respect.

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