So, you go out and earn your MBA and a license to practice your craft. You keep up on your skills through specialized training and industry conferences. Certifications for various aspects of your trade fill your office wall. However, there is one category of knowledge that may be escaping you, Emotional Intelligence. Back in the 90’s a book by Daniel Goleman shed light on a list of key areas a good leader must master to be successful at team building.
Emotional Intelligence, according to Goleman, is made up of five areas: Self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy and people skills. While these terms may be self explanatory, they elude most business owners trying to make the most of their team. So here are a few ways to improve your emotional intelligence and begin making a better connection with your team.
Apply the Golden Rule – Treat others as you wish to be treated. Respect other’s input and don’t play favorites. When anyone in the company, from the lowest position to the highest, feels comfortable approaching you with an idea or bad news, you will have surpass a hurdle most CEO’s only dream of overcoming.
Be Trustworthy – Trust others and earn other’s trust because, without it, none of the rest of these efforts work. It’s easier said than done but, it’s worth the effort. Don’t mistake trust for respect. You can respect a person’s position and not trust the person.
Learn to Read People – How many times do you ask people how they are without listening to the answer? Stop it! Taking a genuine interest in a person and the things that they hold dear is important to creating an effective team. You will know your emotional intelligence skills have improved when you can simply observe a team member and know how their day is going.
Stay Versatile – Don’t get stuck on your own processes and be willing to consider outside input. Also be slow to speak, and quick to listen. Knee-jerk reactions are rarely the best way to handle any situation or communication.
Practice Patience – In the Bible this is often called long-suffering. As an entrepreneur, long-suffering is more applicable because we tend to be a driven bunch. Patiently waiting for team members to get on board, develop trust and interact with respect towards others can be a long agonizing journey sometimes.
Encourage Transparency – Having transparency in an organization will eliminate many emotional obstacles to effective communication and trust. This isn’t to say you air all the dirty laundry and leave the intellectual property on the share drive but being open about how things are going operationally and financially in an organization adds a certain power of inclusion and sense of purpose to the team.
Show Compassion – As said before about reading people, listen to what your team is saying in words and actions and then act upon what you hear. It’s one thing to acknowledge someone is having a difficult time and wish them well. It’s another to offer real assistance. This not only cares for a team member’s need but may also empower team members to be more compassionate themselves.
Emotional intelligence is a great skill set to add to your tool box. It’s something you won’t get a certificate or diploma for perfecting but, it will reward you in so many ways in your business and personal life.