Good managers have great time management, planning, co-ordinating and decision-making skills. They are seen as reliable managers that can get the job done. But what distinguishes good managers from great managers?
Think about it. When you remember a great manager that you have worked with, it isn’t their time keeping or planning skills that you remember – it is how they treated you and the rest of the team that stays with you. The essence of a great manager is the way they interact with others, treat their team members and build strong relationships. It is their emotional intelligence that sets them apart from the rest.
What is emotional intelligence?
Emotional intelligence is the ability to identify and manage your emotions, and recognise other people’s emotional state. It is the ability to harness your emotions in constructive and positive ways, and help others manage their emotions in order to guide thinking and behaviour.
Emotional Intelligence is comprised of four key elements:
1. Self Awareness
Self awareness is knowing and understanding your emotions, behaviours, beliefs, motives and desires, and how they impact other people. It is about understanding how people perceive you as well as your own responses to people in particular situations. Being self aware means you understand why you feel or react to situations in a certain way.
2. Self Management
Self management is the ability to control your emotions and behaviour so that you can achieve a positive outcome. It goes hand-in-hand with self awareness as by being able to understand your reactions to different situations and the impact you have on others, you can practice self management by controlling and adapting your emotions and behaviours to suit each particular situation.
3. Social Awareness
Social awareness is a raised level of consciousness, having the ability to sense other people’s emotional state and understand their reactions. By being genuinely empathetic and appreciating their state, you can adjust your responses and behaviours to communicate effectively with them and develop solid rapport.
4. Relationship Management
Relationship management is the ability to connect with others, to inspire and positively influence situations. It is the ability to easily develop rapport through respect, communication and trust. People feel comfortable with you,and are able to talk freely. Core to good relationship management is being a good listener, being authentic and by being genuinely interested in others.
Why managers need to be emotionally intelligent
Management is more than the ability to coordinate activities. It is primarily about people management and building strong relationships with teams, colleagues, senior management, stakeholders and clients. Teams need to feel valued and respected in order to be motivated to do well, while stakeholders, senior management and clients need to feel confident in your ability to deliver.
Managers with strong emotional intelligence are better able to relate to others, irrespective of who they are or their personality type. These managers are effective and influential communicators as they easily build solid rapport with others, are seen as trustworthy and capable managers.
Developing your emotional intelligence
The first step in enhancing your emotional intelligence is to develop your self awareness. To do this you need to understand your emotions, behaviours, beliefs, attitude and reactions. You need to assess why you react in certain ways to particular situations and then reflect on what emotions, and the underlying cause, drive you to react in that way. You need to understand your personality and behaviour influencers.
There are plenty of books, courses, quizzes and surveys that enable you to develop your self awareness, however this is just a start. To become truly self aware, you need to ask other people for their perspectives after all how you see yourself isn’t necessarily the same as how other people see you. Coaching is also a really effective way to develop your self awareness and overall emotional intelligence as it helps you understand your behaviour, helps you to see yourself from a different perspective, challenges your beliefs and assumptions and helps you to develop your social awareness, self management and relationship management skills.