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Why today’s leaders are focussing on Emotional Intelligence (EQ)

Over the past few years Emotional Intelligence (EQ) has become a hot topic, particularly in the workplace. Hard skills alone aren’t enough to create strong leaders, with research showing that those with a high EQ are more self-aware, motivated and empathetic – crucial traits for successful management.

“The importance of EQ in management is becoming increasingly recognised as playing a role in the success of an organisation. Leaders with higher EQ are better at engaging staff and stakeholders by creating a positive atmosphere, and improving overall communication,” says Kris Grant, CEO of ASPL – a management consultancy firm.

To inspire more leaders to begin working on their EQ, Kris shares five benefits to harnessing EQ in management:

It creates a positive atmosphere: If a leader can regulate his/her emotions and the emotions of others, they are more likely to create a positive atmosphere within the organisation. For instance, if a manager expresses anger about something or holds onto their frustration for a long period of time this will be noticed by employees who will then embody this stress or fear their anger will be directed at them. When a manager has emotional intelligence, they can quickly tackle any negative emotions that they notice within themselves or others and set a positive atmosphere within their organisation. As a result, you’re more likely to see a lower turnover rate and higher employee engagement.

It can motivate employees: Due to the positive atmosphere that EQ brings to the workplace, employees can become more engaged in their role. Managers will also notice employees become more motivated, not only to be successful in their own role but also to understand their role in the execution of the overall strategy. It is integral for each employee to understand both the organisation’s clients, brand, vision and strategy and how their team contribute to driving success.

Mindfulness is crucial to a successful organisation: One of leader’s greatest challenges is their employees showing up for work without actually being “present” or “mindful” of the tasks and activities at hand. Utilising EQ keep assist with you trusting your gut instincts when one of your employees are not engaged or are going through the motions. By practicing consciousness in meetings and throughout the day with your people will increase not only productivity but outcomes as well.

Empathy is crucial to a successful organisation: When a manager appears to have little empathy, or a poor ability to recognise, understand and consider how others are feeling, they can be seen as the stereotypical unapproachable boss. A manager who excels in social awareness and practices empathy will strive to understand their colleagues’ feelings and perspectives, enabling them to communicate and collaborate more effectively. It also helps them manage a team or organisation by facilitating a culture where coaching and engaging others is the norm, making decision-making more innovative and encouraging ‘visionary’ or ‘transformational’ styles of leadership.

It creates open and honest communication: If a manager has high EQ, they have better social skills. This means that managers can communicate proactively through issues and will not only be open to hearing good news but challenging news as well. Instead of sweeping things under the rug, managers with high EQ can deal with issues without resorting to confrontation. As a result, employees feel comfortable voicing concerns with managers and managers can effectively make decisions to deal with these issues. Open and honest communication also encourages people to feel supported and therefore motivates individual performance.

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