Throughout our working lives we have probably all met a manager who doesn’t really “get” people and as a result their style of management leads to a work environment that is tense, motivation is down and relationships are awkward.

Having a leader in place who is emotionally intelligent is one of the key ways to improve the environment and productivity of your workforce.

According to EML Mutual Benefits Partnership Manager Kirsty Smith emotionally intelligent leaders can increase motivation, creativity and achievement, improve safety and promote more appropriate responses, reduce negativity, increase accountability and create better relationships and self-management among staff.

“While the benefits are really clear for why leaders should be emotionally intelligent, improving these skills can take some work,” says Ms Smith.

The first step is identifying where you’re going wrong. To get an idea of how you’re perceived by staff, spend some time observing how you react to people, examine how you react to stressful situations, and before you act, imagine how your actions will affect others.

While it can be a tricky area to pin down, there are some key common behaviours carried out by managers who lack emotional intelligence.

These include:

  • Catastrophising – avoid negative thoughts getting out of hand by challenging these thoughts
  • Black and white thinking – avoid all or nothing thinking which oversimplifies an issue, there are always shades of grey
  • Personalising – avoid taking (or allocating) 100% responsibility for an issue
  • Mind reading – people don’t necessarily see the world the way you do so thinking you know what they are thinking about may lead to some wrong assumptions
  • Overgeneralising – don’t base your entire opinion on something based on one single event, sometimes mistakes happen and things don’t go to plan but this won’t always be the case  
  • Filtering – get out of the habit of taking negative details and magnifying them by focusing on the unpleasant detail without acknowledging the positive aspects of the situation

If you’re guilty of any of these behaviours, it might be time to have a look at how you interact with your employees, and work on ways of improving your emotional intelligence to create a better work environment for all.

Some tips to improve your emotional intelligence include:

  • Staying focused in the present
  • Choosing your arguments
  • Forgiveness
  • Ending conflicts that can’t be solved