As a part of our continuing mission to help business leaders succeed and connect without limitation, FutureYou recently hosted an event addressed by award-winning international speaker Anna-Lucia Mackay, the best-selling author of ‘The Four Mindsets: How to Influence, Motivate and Lead a High-Performance Team’.
We share her insights into how to unlock the potential of your team’s emotional intelligence.
The role of emotional intelligence
Your team’s ‘hard’ skills – in areas like finance, IT, law, data analysis, design and marketing – are vital to your organisation’s success. But don’t overlook the value of the number one ‘soft’ skill – emotional intelligence. It covers the way people listen, communicate, understand different personality types, cooperate and resolve conflict, helping themselves and everyone around them to stay motivated.
You can certainly recruit for emotional intelligence. But it’s also important to develop the emotional intelligence of the employees you already have.
Emotionally intelligent team members can manage their own emotions in the workplace and interpret and influence the emotions and reactions of others. The result is that these feelings are channelled into positivity and progress rather than conflict and impediments.
How to build your team’s emotional intelligence
Here are some proven strategies:
- Set an appropriate example. Leaders need to be self-aware and monitor and control their own emotional reactions.
- Develop motivation. Focus on the positive and fulfilling aspects of your job, and encourage others to do so.
- Demonstrate that you value your team. Actually listen, cultivate empathy, and make it clear you’re open to honest opinions and reactions. And don’t forget to say thank you.
- Emotions are not the same thing as personality. Encourage your staff to identify and express how they feel (‘I feel discouraged’) rather than what they are (‘I am discouraged’).
- Advocate speaking out. Confidently expressed opinions are better than pent-up resentment. Offer assertiveness training to those who need it.
- Provide stress management training. Keep an eye on employee workloads and deadlines. Stress management training for individuals can help.
- Make objective feedback a standard event. Get everyone accustomed to giving and receiving both negative and positive feedback. That includes the team leader.
Everyone thinks differently
Human intellectual diversity is both a blessing and a challenge.
Particular types of task need distinctive types of mental process, which is why some people become accountants while others flourish in marketing. Team leaders will find themselves managing people with varied approaches to thinking, reasoning and creating, so they need to be aware of what causes this.
Left brain or right brain? And why does this matter?
The human brain is divided into two halves, called hemispheres. Different parts of the brain control different functions, and are more active when particular tasks are being done. Past theories about individuals being either left-brained (analytical, methodical) or right-brained (creative, artistic) are largely discredited.
In fact, the two sides function differently, but work together. The left brain processes language, but the right brain may interpret the mood and tone of the words. The left brain is involved in maths and logic, but the right brain may be better at making an estimate and working out whether a result is in fact accurate.
More recent theories about the brain, particularly that of creative thinking researcher Ned Hermann, suggest that organisations will get better performance from employees by capitalising on each individual’s varying levels of access to four brain quadrants – analytical, practical, relational and experimental.
To get the best results, managers must identify their own quadrant or thinking style preference, extend their reach into other quadrants when required, and recognise and take advantage of the thinking styles of other team members.
Leveraging emotional intelligence
Here’s how to take advantage of this knowledge about emotional intelligence and the way the human brain functions:
- Develop different management approaches to handle diverse team members in varying situations.
- Recognise that various communication styles may be necessary for meetings and day-to-day, not ‘one size fits all’.
- Channel positive emotions to improve your team’s accountability, focus and results.
- Spread the word to achieve improved performance, productivity and revenue for the whole organisation.
FutureYou understands emotional intelligence
Managers are encouraged to contact one of our experienced consultants to discuss how they can help motivate and influence their high-performing team, or recruit emotionally-intelligent talent.
FutureYou can also help candidates looking for a role in an organisation where emotional intelligence is appreciated.
And don’t forget to check out our Anna-Lucia Mackay event video below.