Emotional Intelligence – a Prerequisite for Becoming a (Good) Manager

Emotional intelligence has been found to explain 58% of performance across several job types.  If you are aspiring to become a manager in the near future; here’s a few ideas on how you could work on improving your emotional intelligence.

In my last post, I discussed five components to achieving success in a general context. For some, becoming a manger would be a great success. If you are striving to be on that path a general recipe of success will do you no good, as general management does not necessarily entail great success in a specific area. Getting to a promotion is hard work in itself, but if you get the promotion to manage a team you will have the ability to deliver on the team targets if, say, you had a few clones of yourself. They would have your mindset, work ethic, and technical knowledge of the best practice within the niche you are to manage. However, you will faced a most difficult task; managing and motivating other people.

In order to deliver on a team scale all the wheels need to be oiled the right way for the machinery to function optimally. This requires due diligence with respect to each of the individuals’ personalities and needs. This leads me to emotional intelligence, which has been proven to be the single most important factor among 34 workplace skills in a study by TalentSmart. They found that emotional intelligence explains 58% of performance across all job types. Leadership, especially, involves a lot of interpersonal interactions. Hence interpersonal skills are needed to deal with employees and other colleagues which means emotional intelligence will be even more important compared to the average job.

The good thing is that emotional intelligence can be trained and improved. Let’s break down the dimension that make up emotional intelligence to see what you could start working on. Take a look at the model below that explains the four components of emotional intelligence:

EI matrix (lille)

A good place to start is understanding yourself. In other words, self-awareness is the foundation of emotional intelligence. You need to understand the inner workings of yourself before you can understand others (social awareness) and exercise self-control. It is not until these things are in place that you are ready to work on the social skills part of emotional intelligence.

Here’s a few ideas about what you could put on your development plan at your next update if you are aspiring to become a good manager in your near future. These ideas only relate to the awareness dimensions:

Self-awareness:

  • Map and understand your own strengths and weaknesses
  • Practice mindfulness; e.g. meditation, yoga, tai chi, physical exercises
  • Read the book “Thinking, Fast and Slow” by Daniel Kahneman to understand a few basic psychological ideas about why we do what we do

Social Awareness:

  • Practice active listening
  • Read a book or take a course related to understanding stress
  • In situations where colleagues’ viewpoints are very different from yours; make it a habit to try to adopt their viewpoint to understand them before reacting

Feel free to come up with additional suggestions in the comment section below.

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