There are so many qualities we expect leaders to have. We want them to be excellent decision-makers, level-headed and fair, great communicators, an inspiration to their teams, honest, and more. But emotions in the workplace aren’t always welcome, particularly in our leaders.
Men are supposed to be hard and emotionally strong. If they aren’t, our society takes it as a sign of weakness. Yet, with women, being overly emotional is seen as a weakness. Society has many contradicting rules when it comes to emotions, but injecting emotional intelligence into the workplace is beneficial, despite what many of us are told to believe.
Learning to understand, control, and be aware of your emotions in the workplace can set you up with a skill you never knew you needed as a manager. It’s called emotional intelligence and it will set your management style apart and make you a better leader.
How emotional intelligence changes the workplace
Emotional intelligence, or EI, is number six on The World Economic Forum’s report of the ten skills employees will need to possess if they hope to thrive. It comes above judgement and decision making. It is perhaps such an important quality because it helps foster excellent relationships with your staff. Emotional intelligence in leadership can help you become more self-aware and behave with humility.
You’ll be able to stay in control more effectively and remain calm when faced with difficult decisions. You’ll also become more empathetic. By putting themselves into the position of others, and understanding their feelings as well as your own, a great leader will have enhanced conflict resolution skills in the workplace, better communication, and know how to interact with staff to motivate them. Emotional intelligence helps to build a more productive team.
When emotional intelligence is lacking
A lack of emotional intelligence may cause more problems than leaders may think. It might be hard to realise that many of the problems that leaders face stem from a misunderstanding of the motivations behind staff actions. If a staff member is underperforming, for example, it could cause conflict over an extended period.
Without emotional intelligence, leaders are likely to ignore the root causes of underperformance and skip straight to discipline. But, by harnessing EI, and understanding how the employee is feeling, there could be a much simpler, more effective solution which benefits the employee and the leader.
A lack of emotional intelligence is likely to lead to misunderstandings, miscommunications, assumptions, and conflict at work. Just a simple change in the way you think can provide a smooth environment built on trust and showcase your position as an effective leader.
Civil Service College runs a range of courses designed to help civil servants become better leaders. Our Emotional Intelligence Leadership course, taught by Angela Blacklaw, will equip you with the skills to become more aware of your own thoughts and feelings and more aware of others’ in your team so you can build cohesion. To book your place, call us on 020 8069 9000.