Emotional Intelligence in 2020 isn’t a “nice to have”, it’s a MUST!
Do you remember back at the start of this year when we used to kid ourselves that we appreciated the importance of emotional intelligence? We may have even prided ourselves that we were quite good at it!
But on what basis did we think that.
Oh yes, we knew it was there in our arsenal of weapons. We may have talked about it. We may have told others that we had it. We may have even told ourselves that we had it but was it more conceptual than real? Was it just the on-trend thing to say? Where on the “tools for good management” list was it for you?
As this year has rolled out everyone has been affected by the Covid-19 pandemic and for many people it has been an emotional rollercoaster; one minute they are fearful, worried, anxious, angry, disappointed, frustrated and depressed. The next minute they are excited, relieved, elated and hopeful.
You will know first-hand that whatever emotions people feel affects their work. If they are feeling upbeat and positive it affects the way they work which affects their performance and results too. If they are feeling downbeat and negative, it affects the way they work which affects their performance and results too! We have to be acutely aware of the emotions our team is experiencing.
A useful tool to help us with this is the Kübler-Ross curve. This tool was devised by doctors and used in the medical world to identify the emotions people go through during grief. It has also been adapted and used in the corporate world to understand how to deal with change. By understanding the emotions people experience, we can plan how to support them.
Can I ask you to be a cold, hard manager for a minute?
Look at the axes on the diagram above. You will note that the vertical axis indicates morale which of course affects performance. When people start to slide down this curve, their performance will drop. This is not good news for you!
As a manager in charge of teams (perhaps remote teams) you have to be a black belt at noticing the emotions your teams are displaying. You need to be able to pinpoint what is going on for them, ask the right questions and provide the right support to help them get them up the other side of the curve. In order to do this your level of emotional intelligence will need to be second to none.
To stop people sliding down the curve we need to be regularly checking in with them, listening to what they are saying and perhaps more importantly what they are not saying. How do you do that? Well, by asking lots of open questions and then listening not only to the answer but also the tone of voice and don’t forget to observe the body language either. Now, that can be tough in this “Zoom” era, but we still need to be able to do it! Giving information is key during this phase too. If jobs are at risk, be as honest as you can – people appreciate that, even if the message is a tough one.
To help people climb the other side, again communication is key but perhaps it now needs to be more future-focused, inspiring people to take positive action.
Successful managers will be displaying huge levels of emotional intelligence at the moment. Do contact us if you would like to know more about this topic or to understand how to increase your level of Emotional Intelligence and then apply that to the workplace, come and learn all the hints and tips you will need on our Emotional Intelligence in Management and Leadership course.
Written by Russell Caird, Edited by Melissa Bain