A good manager needs strong emotional intelligence

What does it take to make a top manager?  Is it having a first class degree or doctorate? Well, a lot has to do with one’s emotional intelligence. Emotional intelligence (EI) is the ability to reason using emotions and how to use these emotions to enhance thought and behaviour. Generally, EI improves an individual’s social effectiveness, meaning that the higher the EI, the better are one’s social relations.

What does it take to make a top manager?  Is it having a first class degree or doctorate? Well, a lot has to do with one’s emotional intelligence. Emotional intelligence (EI) is the ability to reason using emotions and how to use these emotions to enhance thought and behaviour. Generally, EI improves an individual’s social effectiveness, meaning that the higher the EI, the better are one’s social relations.

Therefore, a person with high EI can perceive emotions better, use them in thought, understand their meanings, and manage emotions than others.

Management has changed over the last couple of decades. The old 80’s style of management by fear has given way to a more supportive, encouraging, inclusive and a holistic form of directing and developing workers. Although this is a softer approach, it is no less rigorous as it encourages people to take responsibility for themselves and become accountable for their actions.

In a way, managers today have a tougher job than those in the past decades. This is why one has to use a more refined skills set and EI to become a top and inspiring manager. There are four areas that influence one performance as advanced by the proponents of the emotional intelligence theory, professors Jack Mayer and Peter Salove, that determine a good manager:

Recognising emotion

Good managers are able to recognise emotions in themselves and others. This requires an openness to emotion to be able to answer the question, “how am I feeling today?” with a one word answer. One should also be able to recognise emotion in others through their facial expressions; are they happy, sad, angry, scared or surprised? Our facial expression often reveals what words do not and is vital tool reaveling how people feel about our plans, proposals or opinions.

Using

This is about the link between emotions and cognitive thinking. Successful managers know it is not possible to make a decision “with our heads.” Emotions are involved in every decision that we make, so we need to pay attention to them. If you know emotions are useful for which tasks and can switch moods, create a mood-task match, then you will be more effective and efficient in your day-to-day tasks.

Understanding

Understanding the combination of emotions we feel at a deeper level is a vital element of EI. This also involves identifying the causes of emotion and tracking how our emotions change over time. Emotions follow logical patterns, meaning that you have to know these patterns to enhance your planning ability.

Managing

One’s skills at managing their own and others’ moods will determine how well we deal with difficult situations. Rather than ruminating or suppressing emotion, we need to recognise the emotion, get insight (through using and understanding) and go through the emotion to be effective managers.

It is imperative to note that mature leadership requires not just high intelligence, but also emotional intelligence. This is because emotional intelligence helps managers to better understand subordinates, navigate their unarticulated needs and interests and build a strong foundation for the company.

The writer is an entrepreneurship trainer.

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