So, you just got promoted to management. First off, congratulations! That’s a huge accomplishment. Enjoy the new title, your fresh office digs and the bigger paycheck that comes with your elevated position.
Before you get too cozy in that fancy armchair of yours, now is a good time to think about the skills you’ll need to succeed in your new role. Obviously, you already have the hard skills that are necessary to tackle the technical aspect of your job. But what about emotional intelligence skills?
Emotional intelligence, or EQ, is something that many male managers lack. What is EQ, why is it important and which EQ skills, in particular, do you need to succeed as a manager? Allow us to explain.
What Is Emotional Intelligence?
A coworker who refuses to do a task anyway but hers. A boss who isn’t sympathetic to his employees’ needs. A manager who copes with stress by taking it out on his employees. These are all examples of people with low emotional intelligence.
Emotional intelligence refers to your ability to identify, understand and manage not only your own emotions but the emotions of those around you as well. A person with a high EQ knows how to process his or her emotions and use this information to make knowledgeable decisions in the context of his or her work environment.
Emotional intelligence has garnered significant attention from business leaders, and for good reason. According to a 2010 study published in the Journal of Organizational Behavior, having high emotional intelligence is strongly associated with improved performance at work.
Emotional intelligence is something that every manager—man or woman—should possess these days. Leaders with high EQs know how to manage the many different personalities of their employees to maximize their work performance and obtain specific goals.
Why Male Managers Need Emotional Intelligence
Sadly, men often lag behind in their emotional intelligence skills. According to a study published in the journal PLOS, women tend to score higher than men in EQ tests.
This finding isn’t surprising. From a young age, men are taught to hide their true feelings and to never show emotion. Consequently, male managers may struggle to achieve the following:
- Communicate effectively with coworkers
- Solve conflicts
- Be empathetic to others
- Manage their stress in healthy ways
- Motivate their team
- Make good decisions
In today’s workforce, having a high EQ is the key to effective leadership. Without emotional intelligence skills, your career growth and opportunities are almost surely going to be limited.
5 Emotional Intelligence Skills for Male Managers
If you suspect that your EQ is sorely lacking, we have good news. Research has shown that emotional intelligence skills can be learned.
Here are a few emotional intelligence skills every male manager should strive to develop:
You probably won’t get too far in life as a manager without being empathic. Leaders who can’t empathize fail to understand the unique problems that their team faces, which inevitably results in decreased job performance and loss of respect.
Empathy refers to the ability to perceive the emotions of others and resonate with them. Managers who have strong empathy will be sensitive to signs of overwork in their employees, show interest in their career goals and be compassionate towards them when they suffer a personal loss or setback.
How to Develop Empathy: Although everyone is born with a capacity to empathize, not everyone is particularly good at it. To improve your empathy skills, give your full attention to the other person when they come to you with a problem. Put yourself in their shoes by asking questions to better understand their experience and emotions. Try to find a shared connection that can help you relate to what the other person may be experiencing.
- Stress Management
Do you have trouble sleeping after making a mistake at work? Does your face break out all of a sudden right before a big presentation?
Work stress can take its toll on everyone, especially mid- to high-ranking employees with heavy workloads. As a manager, it’s up to you to find healthy coping strategies for your stress.
How to Develop Stress Management: One of the best ways to tame work stress is by making time for yourself. Eat a healthy diet. Make time for fitness. Don’t be afraid to book the occasional men’s facial. Practice meditation in the morning before work. If the stress is overwhelming, consider seeing a therapist learn a few stress management techniques. You’ll be a much better manager for it.
Self-awareness is the ability to identify and process your own emotions. What are your strengths and weaknesses? How do they affect your leadership? At the end of the day, you are in charge of your own success—thus, understanding yourself is key to becoming a more effective manager.
Self-awareness also involves knowing how your emotions and actions are being perceived by others. How do others react to your leadership style? How do they respond? Knowing the answers to these questions allows you to influence a given situation to prevent undesirable consequences.
How to Develop Self-Awareness: Take long walks and reflect on your life experiences. Though it may sound corny, it’s actually a great way to connect the dots on why you do the things you do. Keeping a journal to write down your discoveries can also be beneficial. Finally, don’t forget to get external input from those who know you best. Ask them to provide honest feedback on your strengths and weaknesses to help you improve yourself.
Want to move up quickly in your career? Focus on developing a sense of self-motivation. This soft skill is something that upper management looks for in new managers because it shows a strong drive to excel and meet personal goals.
People who are self-motivated have a desire to fulfill their own needs and goals. They tend to be action-oriented and strive to do better—to be better. Leaders with strong self-motivation inspire their team and boost their morale with their positivity and passion to succeed.
How to Develop Self-Motivation: There are several ways to feed the internal fire that fuels self-motivation. First, focus on becoming more positive. Leaders who see the positive in every situation are more likely to rise up in the face of setbacks. Another way to develop self-motivation is by writing down goals—both personal and professional. Establishing goals will help you stay focused and motivated, despite setbacks.
- Social Skills
Social skills, or interpersonal skills, describe your ability to work effectively with those around you. This term encompasses a broad range of soft skills, including empathy, active listening, verbal and nonverbal communication, leadership and persuasiveness.
Once you can understand your emotions and the emotions of those around you, that’s when you can influence the situation with social skills. For this reason, social skills are often considered the final piece of the emotional intelligence puzzle.
How to Develop Social Skills: Since social skills is such a broad term, it may be easier to focus on improving one social skill at a time. Consider starting with active listening, which involves listening to what others have to say and making a concentrated effort to understand what they’re saying. This skill will help you understand the emotions of those around you and help you develop empathy, which goes back to the first EQ skill we described.
Working on developing your emotional intelligence skills is well worth your time and effort. Not only will these skills help you succeed in your current position, but they’re also transferrable to your next job. Put simply, developing your EQ will serve you well in your career–no matter where you end up.