Friday, 24 July 2015 11:57

It takes emotional intelligence

A recent survey in the USA points to the striking lack of emotional intelligence amongst business leaders. The four most commonly cited problems are those of leaders who do not recognise employee achievements, do not give clear directions and don’t make time to meet and interact with their people, or simply refuse to meet with them at all.

Business is essentially about people, as it always has been and always will be. In order to help them achieve the productivity of which they are capable, leaders must connect with their people by giving recognition, providing clear direction, using constructive feedback, and holding sincere interactions that generate trust.

The ‘how to’ takes some practice.

Make recognition of good performance more meaningful by describing specifically what you are pleased about. Instead of saying ‘Your team is doing well; keep it up’, say ‘I admire the way you have got everyone in your team working together on your goals’.

Make use of one of the simplest and most effective forms of recognition by learning and using employees’ names. Saying ‘I’m not good with names’ is not an excuse. Work at it.

Ask people what they think and listen carefully to what they say. If you always have the ‘right’ answer, if you insist in having things done your way, or if you take credit for the ideas of others, you can be sure you’ll not get the best from your people.

Tell people how they are doing…constantly. In particular, millennials need more coaching and feedback than previous generations.

Keep people in the loop. Offer real explanations in good time, trusting that employees will accept ambiguities and uncertainties if they are communicated honestly. You will be accorded more respect when you share as much as you know as soon as you can. Real explanations are always better than no explanations.

In the words of Lou Solomon, CEO of Interact who carried out the survey; In a business environment that is woefully lacking in employee commitment, leaders who aren’t actively connecting with people are themselves a liability.

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