According to www.helpguide.org, “Emotional Intelligence is the ability to identify, use, understand, and manage your own emotions in positive ways to communicate effectively, empathize with others, overcome challenges, relieve stress, and defuse conflict.” In two of my previous blogs “Emotional Support During Employee Reintegration” and “11 Signs You Have High Emotional Intelligence”, I talked about the importance of both being empathetic and adapting the way you communicate with employees using emotional intelligence (EI). Organizations must focus on upskilling their managers’ capability to communicate with expanded EI when leading virtual teams.
Why? Many employees are feeling stress, worry, and/or anger as a result of the windfall of events in 2020. These events include Covid-19, riots, and political polarization. With many teams now working remotely, EI is no longer a nice skill to have but a critical competency to keep diverse employees working as a team and moving forward.
Here are Five Steps to start Upskilling Your Emotional Intelligence as a Manager:
- List your hot buttons. With today’s diverse workforce, there will be differences in opinions on many different subjects and views. Managers need to be examples to their teams. As a manager, it is important to see how you react in different situations and to different subjects. Does a particular situation/subject get your blood boiling? If so, list out those subjects and situations so you can examine them closer. Also, list out subjects that you think might be hot buttons for your team.
- Understand your own emotions. Once you have a list of hot buttons, it is time to look at the “Why” behind your emotions. Try and understand what about these subjects makes you react emotionally. In other words, look for evidence that supports your feelings. Then look at the list of subjects you wrote for your team. Try and see things from their perspective.
- Manage your own emotions. Understanding why you feel strongly about a subject can help you to logically deal with a knee jerk reaction of anger or agitation when your hot buttons are pushed. At Dale Carnegie we like to say, “practice makes permanent.” If you want to develop good habits you must practice them, so practice writing out a few different responses that you feel take the emotion out of your response. Rehearse them out loud to make any adjustments necessary. The goal of this practice is to help you respond calmly and keep a bridge of communication intact with your team when discussing these subjects.
- Prepare for your reaction. Well, we just said practice make permanent so practice writing out the responses your team might have to the situations or subjects you think are their hot buttons. Read these out loud and then practice responding to them calmly to defuse any conflict that could result from the situation. This will help to further develop your empathy muscle.
- Communicate more effectively. Remember there are many different viewpoints on many different subjects on your team. Make it a priority to stop and check your “Why” before you react to a situation. Try hard to respond in a positive way, empathize with others, and defuse conflict. You may not be perfect out of the gate, but the more you practice the more Emotional Intelligence you will develop.
Emotional Intelligence like any other skill can be learned through diligence and work. Whether your team is remote or comes together in the office, Emotional Intelligence is needed to overcome challenges and relieve stress. Organizations that focus on upskilling their managers with emotional intelligence will be able to bring diverse viewpoints and teams together to thrive in the years to come.
Interested in learning more, join us for a complimentary 1-hour webinar, Upskilling Managers: Leading Virtual Teams, on November 19, 2020, at 9:00 AM.