Emotional intelligence is becoming increasingly prized and sought after as a skill, not just because it helps you be a great boss, but also because of the culture it can help to build. This is known as change management. With change management, emotions are tied into the fabric of a company.
Managers are increasingly becoming coaches. They drive team development by establishing a culture of feedback and trust. All of this requires sensitivity and, by extension, emotional leadership skills.
Feeling Like a Person and not a Number
The power of emotions is often underestimated at work. When employees have a problem with each other but have to work in a team, or when a colleague has enormous difficulties in their private life, then it can often spillover into the workplace. This is where emotional leadership comes into play.
But what is emotional leadership all about? The term was coined by the American psychologist Daniel Goleman, who also created the term emotional intelligence (EI). In short, emotional leadership means responding appropriately depending on the employee and the situation and also responding to the needs of the employee. According to Goleman, bosses who use emotional leadership techniques are more successful in establishing a working atmosphere in which employees feel understood and treated as individuals.
Emotional leadership requires emotional intelligence and leadership skills, but there is one more key aspect: self-reflection . If you want to lead your team emotionally, you have to be self-aware and keen on professional development.
Coach, Motivator and Team Player in One
Anyone who believes that emotional leadership means a boss mollycoddles is wrong. Anyone who has emotional leadership skills is friendly, but also gives constructive criticism. This means being firm but fair and being someone who is open and approachable enough for employees to come to with problems before they escalate into issues.
Managers also encounter numerous situations in everyday life that require sensitivity. This has only increased over the past few months, in which the pandemic has also demanded a lot from many. Home office workplaces have had to be set up, people have had to work around and with their children, some incomes were reduced due to shortened hours while the cost of living has remained constant. With all of this going on, bosses have had to meet their employees on an emotional level.
Those who lead their team emotionally, taking these unusual circumstances, usually lead successfully. It’s clear: if an employee feels understood and taken seriously, if their relations with their superiors is good, if they are motivated and strengthened, then they’re happier. They’ll then be more productive and driven.
Social skills are more in demand than ever before amongst managers. Leadership is increasingly shifting towards more of a balance between technical skills and the ability to build good working relationships. But what does this actually mean? A great boss knows what makes each member of their team tick. They should be able to communicate positively, be able to give constructive feedback and have a natural knack for conflict management.
A true leader is also knowledge-oriented and eager to learn. It’s hard to imagine that people would gladly follow a leader who does not know what he or she is doing. That’s why great leaders should always be open to new learning opportunities in their field. Reading books and niche blogs is useful but investing in additional business education could give you even more credibility. If you are not able to enroll in a full-time business school you can always explore a variety of summer and winter school programs or online courses and gain relevant know-how.
You also need to make sure that it’s clear that this is your management style - and ask for feedback from those around you to see if this is what you’re emanating. After all, the annual Gallup Engagement Index shows that the majority of employees (85%) have little or no emotional attachment to their employer. The top brass is given as the main reason. Around eight-in-ten employees say their boss has good leadership skills. This is in stark contrast to the self-image of bosses. According to that exact same study, 97% of bosses consider themselves a good boss. The truth is probably somewhere in between. However, anyone who leads with openness and honesty, supports their employees and is more of a coach than a driver, leads not only emotionally, but also successfully.
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