How important is emotional intelligence in your staff?

How important is emotional intelligence in your staff?

There is an interesting discussion going on in a LinkedIn group called Entrepreneurs & SMEs, which can be found under the Small Business Evolution category. The topic of discussion is: ‘how important is emotional intelligence in your staff?

There’s no question that it’s important for a manager to have staff that are high in emotional intelligence. People drive performance; emotions drive people. However, far more important is to have a methodology that the manager can use to lift the emotional intelligence of his or her staff.

I believe the secret is having a practical model of temperament, because it is temperament that drives emotions.

Temperament varies for each person and represents our emotional predispositions driven by our genes. Commentators often offer suggestions on how to improve your emotional intelligence, but I am not always convinced that these are effective and, as such, I have added my comments about these suggestions below.

1. Give people the benefit of the doubt

This is probably the worst thing you can do with a corporate psychopath.

2. Make all statements about your feelings

If you are working in very procedure-driven organisation, such as an auditing firm, this is great way of ensuring you will not get a promotion.

3. Seek clarification

Always good I agree, but some people have a temperament that is impulsive and others have a temperament that gets bogged down in detail. Much better you know yourself when you seek clarification.

4. Identify your stress response

This is very important but if you don’t have a systematic methodology it can be very difficult to work out your hot buttons.

5. Control your own negative thoughts

In their book The Emotionally Intelligent Manager, Caruso & Saloveysay this is probably the biggest mistake managers make with regard to emotional intelligence. It is very important when looking at a budget or investigating a new project not to discount risks by being over optimistic.

I teach and practice the Humm-Wadsworth model of temperament, which I think is the most practical tool to lift your emotional intelligence and that of your team.

For example, in the late 1970s I was general manager of TNT Payroll systems for four years. I taught and inculcated the Humm-Wadsworth to all or our sales and support staff.

Over an 18-month period the division won all 15 of its major tenders, when on a market share basis only one or two wins were expected. Volumes doubled, revenues quadrupled and annual profit increased 10 times in four years. 

High emotional intelligence in your staff is important; lifting their emotional intelligence in a systematic way is much more so.


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