Our business ancestors – who practised the “Rottweiler school of management” – would no doubt be appalled that the word emotion could be attached to leaders and entrepreneurs. Even today, there are some people who would argue the future lies in automation and staying lean, leaving no room for ‘touchy feely’ stuff.
We do live an age when technology is advancing at breakneck speed. Which – along with Artificial Intelligence, Big Data and the Internet of Things – is revolutionising the way we do business.
But perhaps that’s one of the burning reasons why the best business leaders and coaches are those who hold onto and offer emotional intelligence.
One of the best definitions of this concept is from Psychology Today. It describes emotional intelligence as “The ability to identify and manage your own emotions and the emotions of others.”
It’s connected to another phrase you may have come across – soft skills. Again, to use anything soft may seem to be an anathema to hard-nosed business people. But these are the personal attributes that help you to interact effectively and harmoniously with others, the core of your emotional intelligence.
Unless you are heading up a totally automated process and all your customer relations are online, then you will have to deal with the ambiguities and challenges of humans.
It has long been established that no company can get the best out of people by treating them as commodities. The principle of investing in people has been around for decades now – unlocking potential by uncovering and supporting individual ideas and ambitions.
More recently, the demands of equality and diversity have cut across how we treat both staff and customers. Or anyone for that matter.
Emotional intelligence is the natural progression of this in many ways.
It means understanding and appreciating that every individual has their own strengths, weaknesses, ideas, contributions and pressure points. If you take time to assess these, you get the best out of the person and you can pre-empt some of the less desirable issues.
Armed with an intuitive grasp of your own emotional profile, and an assessment of the team you have around you, you have the ability to manage far more than just the processes and procedures. An emotionally intelligent manager can think more clearly, and problem solve more effectively without the distractions of heightened emotions (within themselves or others).
We all know that a manager who is under pressure becomes shouty and unreasonable, deflecting and pointing fingers. Someone who is calm and focused is going to solve problems and relieve the pressure far more quickly.
Emotional intelligence also underpins better team building, mentoring, negotiations, communications and conflict resolution. To build and follow through effective strategy, you can engage and inspire staff more readily.
When you do hit obstacles or heavy workloads, you will have a strong enough relationship with your team to ensure that tasks are completed and deadlines met without disenfranchising people. You will know when the emotional wellbeing of staff is threatening their effectiveness, and be ready to make adjustments to get them through tough times.
You can’t inspire, encourage and motivate people from a distance – such emotional responses come from being shoulder to shoulder and knowing what buttons to press.
According to Daniel Goleman (journalist and author): “Leadership is not domination. It’s the art of persuading people to work towards a common goal.”
This all dovetails with the two main attributes people assess when establishing business relationships. Research has shown that what we look for these days is competence, but also warmth.
Technology may have changed the face of modern business, but the heart and soul still lies in the personal and social abilities of its leaders. To unleash your own emotional intelligence for superlative leadership, contact Delphinium Business Coaching Ltd today.