Four Ways to Bring Emotional Smarts to Your Job

Here’s a simple equation that all new (and old) supervisors need to keep in mind: Emotionally intelligent bosses = happier employees.

That was the net result of a study led by the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence. In a survey of close to 15,000 employees across the U.S., the center found that employees with emotionally intelligent bosses “were happier, more creative, and who perceived more opportunities for growth.”

But what does emotionally intelligent supervision look like? The center highlights these attributes:

  • Reading and acknowledging employees’ emotions
  • Helping them channel feelings
  • Inspiring enthusiasm, and
  • Managing their own emotions

It might sound daunting, but there are some simple ways that you can bring emotional smarts to the job on a daily basis. Here are some examples, along with links for further reading.

Do a Vibe Check

We are all told that, as employees, we need to advocate for ourselves. But we all know that’s often not easy unless our boss makes a point of asking. So, make a point of asking.

If an employee is working a big project, check in from time to time to how they’re feeling about it, said Joshua Freedman, CEO of 6 Seconds, a non-profit organization focused on sharing best practices for emotional intelligence. If you’re picking up signs of stress, then be sure to ask.

Just acknowledging that stress can help them feel better, Freedman said in an interview with the Society for Human Resource Management.

Read the full article here.

Be Quiet and Listen

When touching base with your employees one-on-one, you need to listen more than you talk. A lot more.

“I have an 80/20 rule for communicating with my team members,” said Zander Fryer, CEO of High Impact Coaching, in an interview with Forbes.

“My goal for an employee one-on-one is for them to be talking 80% of the time and me for 20%,” Fryer said. “This ensures that they feel heard, that I better understand them, and that we can build strong relationships.”

Be Quiet and Listen (Zoom edition)

Video conferencing has a way of messing with our non-verbal cues. For example, just casual movements that you wouldn’t notice in person can seem magnified and distracting when captured on camera.

In a recent article, Freedman recommended making an extra effort to be still when someone else is talking. He also recommends leaning in and looking at the camera, not at the person’s face on the screen.

If you’re not looking at the camera, “it can seem like you’re avoiding contact,” he wrote. “You don’t have to obsess, but once in a while, intentionally look [the person] in the eye.”

Proofread Your Messages for Tone

It’s commonly understood that it’s easy to misinterpret the tone of an email or text message, given the lack of non-verbal cues (e.g., tone of voice, facial expression, etc.). It turns out it’s worse than that.

Research has found that people perceive positive tones as neutral, and neutral tones as negative, according to Liz Fosslien, coauthor of “No Hard Feelings: The Secret Power of Embracing Emotions at Work.”

“So the next time you’re about to send one of your reports a message, pause to emotionally proofread what you wrote by putting yourself in the recipient’s shoes,” Fosslien wrote in an article at FastCompany.com.

“Don’t fire off a note at 9 p.m. that says, ‘Let’s talk tomorrow,’ when you mean, ‘Your slides look great overall, but I have a couple of small comments I’d love to talk through tomorrow,'” she wrote.

You can learn more about emotional intelligence at the upcoming NextGen Government Virtual Training Summit.

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