If you want to build great teams, you need people who can read people
“Building up a team of emotionally intelligent employees can have a surprisingly powerful impact on your company’s overall performance,” claims CEO Jason Demers, writing for Entrepreneur.
Your company needs emotionally intelligent employees to foster positive relationships with both clients and staff, and to spot and troubleshoot potential sources of conflict early.
What is emotional intelligence?
According to Psychology Today, emotional intelligence is “the ability to identify and manage your own emotions and the emotions of others”. The advantages of employing staff who possess this quality are manifold, yet it’s unlikely that you will find emotional intelligence listed alongside prior experience and skills on most job interview templates.
How to spot emotional intelligence
Emotional intelligence is not a straightforward quality to assess at interview, but there are strategies you can apply.
- Direct questioning – What do they say about their past relationships with co-workers?
- Gauge their reactions – Do they know how to read the room?
- Offer hypotheticals – Do they respond calmly and offer appropriate solutions?
The advantages of employing emotionally intelligent managers
As well as having appropriate industry or subject expertise, we need our managers to be good at handling relationships with both staff and clients, and good at spotting problems early. A manager’s level of emotional intelligence will dictate how well they achieve this.
Good communication is key to relationship building. Around 93% of communication is nonverbal, made through our body language and tone of voice. Emotionally intelligent people are good at reading nonverbal cues from others, as well as being better communicators of their own thoughts and feelings.
Another key factor in building good relationships is the ability to stay calm. Loss of control can lead to poor decision-making and can damage relationships. An emotionally intelligent manager will be aware of their own reactions to stress, and have strategies in place to deal with them.
When it comes to teamwork, an emotionally intelligent manager will “relate well to others and communicate effectively”, resulting in a united team that’s cooperative and mutually supportive.
Spotting problems early
Emotionally intelligent people have empathy with others and can recognise and predict behaviour patterns. They are quick to spot if somebody is acting out of character, which enables them to jump in quickly if a co-worker is struggling.
As well as being attuned to signals of stress or boredom in others, an emotionally intelligent worker will also be self aware, and will be able to identify and act on any warning signs that crop up in their own behaviour.
A manager who is in tune with others is also more likely to be able to gauge a client’s emotions. Given that a client whose needs are not being met is likely to leave without ever telling you why, your manager’s ability to recognise that dissatisfaction and address it early could be a real asset to your business.
Emotional intelligence is a key ingredient in good management, and if we want our staff to possess it, we need to start actively recruiting for it.