Ever since Daniel Goleman released his book, Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ, emotional intelligence has been recognized as a key indicator of management success. Previously, many managers were promoted for technical skills alone. If they had emotional intelligence, that was icing on the cake. No longer will that person be successful in today’s workplaces. According to the World Economic Forum Future of Jobs Report, “emotional intelligence will be one of the top ten most desirable job skills in 2020, above technical skills.”

According to Harvard Business Review, On Emotional Intelligence a company with a critical mass of emotional intelligence in the leadership team, outperformed yearly earnings goals by 20%.

So exactly what is emotional intelligence? Emotional Intelligence is composed of five skills:

  1. Self-awareness
  2. Self-regulation
  3. Motivation
  4. Empathy
  5. Social Skills

Self-Awareness means knowing one’s strengths, weaknesses, drives, values and impact on others.

Example: A software engineering manager knows that interruptions will interfere with his schedule, so he plans accordingly, and rather than feeling frustrated, he is in control of his schedule. He leaves chunks of time in his calendar for these interruptions.

Self-Regulation means controlling disruptive impulses, emotions & moods.

Example: A team loses a big sale. The manager, instead of yelling & overreacting, takes an analytical approach, engaging her pre-frontal cortex, the logic center of the brain. She convenes the team for a de-brief, to analytically uncover what went wrong and what they can do differently in the future.

Motivation (in this context) refers to intrinsic motivation, meaning, being driven to achieve for the sake of achievement (rather than salary or ego). This includes optimism, passion for the work, & commitment to the organization.

Example: A person has a major set-back or defeat, but rather than letting negativity & feelings of defeat get her down or depressed, she rather remains optimistic for the future.

Empathy is about understanding other people’s feelings, especially when making decisions. It incorporates skills of listening and really understanding how and what people feel. Empathy means thoughtfully considering employees’ feelings while making intelligent business decisions.

Example: A manager notices that one of the team is under-performing for several days or weeks. Instead of approaching him with criticism, she approaches him with care and concern, keeping in mind that something beyond his control might be affecting his work flow or behavior. She approaches him with an attitude of wanting to help.

Social Skills are about managing relationships and building rapport with others to influence them to buy in to her point of view, or move them in a desired direction. This person is persuasive, has an extensive network, and leads change.           

Example: A manager wants her company to establish a vibrant wellness group. She gathers a few people together to create an informal group which gets people moving more, eating healthy and practicing mindfulness. She persuades other managers around the company to do the same. The involved managers get together and show upper management how effective their teams are performing based on their enhanced productivity and levels of happiness, showing evidence of ROI: productivity, reduced absenteeism, & happiness.

In summary, emotional intelligence encompasses five key qualities:

  • Self-Awareness
  • Self-Regulation
  • Motivation
  • Empathy
  • Social Skills

These skills come naturally to some people, but not to others. But nobody is perfect, and we can all improve our abilities through practice, patience and feedback from others.

So why are emotional intelligence skills important?

Because in order to manage teams, managers must realize that they are not managing machines but rather people with human emotions. They have to keep in mind that people are their greatest assets, and that without them, the organization would not thrive.

And that just because someone has a task does not mean they are going to be able to do their best. They nay not have enough knowledge, or they may be frustrated that they didn’t get a plum assignment they wanted.

So it’s important to acknowledge people’s emotions so you can motivate them to do their best work. Navigating human emotions does not always come naturally to everyone. It is imperative that people be gauged for these skills or trained in these skills before they are promoted.

Here are three skills that help to enhance emotional intelligence:

  1. Recognition
  2. Regulation
  3. Co-regulation

Recognition is the ability to recognize what you are feeling and determine its root cause. In my Banish Burnout program this is one of the first steps. More information can be found in my BANISH BURNOUT TOOLKIT.™

Recognition is the ability to recognize what you are feeling and determine its root cause. In my Banish Burnout program this is one of the first steps. More information can be found in my Banish Burnout Toolkit.™

Regulation – means to reach an emotional goal, when  you are feeling out of sorts,  reminding yourself how you want to present yourself at work.

Co-regulation is the ability to regulate your emotions in support of others.

The main thing to remember is that new skills don’t happen overnight. They take educating yourself and practice.

If you need help with your emotional intelligence skills, ask someone in your organization to get together to talk. If necessary, engage your Lean In Circle or Master Mind group, or Accountability Partner to practice.