Last week I talked about just how important it is to cultivate emotional self awareness. When we have a good read on our own emotions we are better able to express them in health, productive ways. With emotional self awareness we become better leaders. The same is true for members of your team.
How can you, as a leader, help others develop emotional intelligence?
I’m sure very few people wake up and think, ‘how can I actively sabotage my workplace today?’ But a lack of emotional intelligence in the workplace can do that very thing.
A more silent type of sabotage, but sinister nonetheless.
How can you help develop emotional intelligence in others? The most important step is to lead by example. What you do, so too will others. Exhibit emotional intelligence and others will follow your lead. To be more intentional about developing emotional intelligence and perhaps hasten the process, mix in these habits as well:
Build your workplace relationship
Before you can expect people to change, you need to know them. Start forming genuine relationships with people on your team. Ask questions – what are their hobbies? What do they enjoy doing on weekends? You don’t have to cross personal boundaries to inquire about your team member’s personal life. After all, when we come to work, we bring our whole selves. Most of us are not that good at compartmentalizing.
Show your workers that you care about them as a complete person and they will know you truly do want to help them achieve success at work.
Give specific and usable feedback
A strong communicator knows that specific feedback lands more strongly than general observations. Don’t use vague words like “good” or “unhelpful” when you’re giving someone feedback on their work presence.
When giving feedback, use words that speak to both the person and trait you’re addressing. Rather than saying ‘I’d like to hear more from you’, say ‘I’d like you to speak up more in larger meetings. You’re a strong worker who performs well under deadlines and I’d like you to share some of your ideas with the whole team the next time we discuss an upcoming project.”
Now you’ve given someone context for what you want from them and a specific place, topic and time to do so. General feedback often goes overlooked because people don’t know what exact steps to take afterward.
Praise workers often
The importance of positive feedback can’t be overstated. Everyone likes to hear they’re doing things well, so feel free to tell them! Praise drives workers to work even harder and draws people to your positive attitude.
Take a sentence like this: “Karla, I’ve noticed you keep a really organized desk and consistently turn in projects ahead of time. I’d love it if we can give a joint presentation on workplace productivity to the rest of your department.”
This is a great thing for an employee to hear. You have noticed specific strengths of theirs and outlined a way for them to use those skills to help everyone get better. You’ve let your employee know that you notice them, you value their work and you want to utilize their skills. This kind of praise will help build your workplace relationship.
Using tactics like praise, specific feedback and fostering relationships are all key to developing emotional intelligence in others. People begin to notice the work habits they have and they respond to the atmosphere that fosters them. When a worker knows they can expect a boss to notice the details of their work, they notice the details of their work. When an employee knows the boss holds him- or herself accountable, employees hold themselves accountable.