Managing with emotion

Being a good manager means having the ability to deal with the EQ or emotional quotient of your team effectively. Some of the qualities that should be part of the EQ management toolset are listed below.

A good manager tries to keep his team balanced between work and play. As the saying goes, all work and no play makes Johnny a dull boy. A winning team has to work hard, however they should play hard as well in order to balance work. If team members are not able to pursue their passion outside of work, they may get stressed out and not perform at peak. For instance if you have a person on the team who loves to go bike riding, effective management strategy might be to ensure that the employee gets his/her daily dose of bike riding in before, during or after work. In my team I try to have team outing that include fun activities whenever possible. This may include bowling, barbecues, company sponsored lunches, baseball games and other such activities.

Patience means having the ability to work on long term goals that may not produce immediate results. When employees have quarterly reviews it’s very easy to focus on short term goals that produce results in 3 months. However long terms goals should not be sacrificed. One possible approach is to break down long term goals into short term deliverables and use that as a means of meeting short term quarterly goal reviews. Strategy is generally long term, so have a 1 year, 2 year and a 3 year plan for your team.

Having enough emotional bandwidth to not just hear the other person, but also making a genuine attempt to understand their view point is important. I have often found that empathy is one of the most lacking skills in today’s technical worker base. At numerous points I have noticed employees calling other as ‘idiots’ when their view point is not appreciated. When others are talking at many times we are just waiting for them to finish so that we can speak. We are not actively listening to them or trying to genuinely understand what they are saying.

We all make mistakes and we should own up to them. Although at times we do feel like we are in-vulnerable, however when we do make a mistake we should be honest and open. The worst possible thing to do is to try to blame someone else, or not take responsibility. “I am God’s gift to humankind” is a term that can be easily attached to some people. I have never worked at a company where the company leadership has said “we are second best, the other company is better than us”. It’s always been “we hire the best and the greatest”. Going with this rule every company has the worlds best and greatest people, making me wonder where the mediocre and the low performers are. Although there are cases wherein zero tolerance should be adopted, as in discrimination based on race, gender or religion, there are many other cases wherein forgiveness should be used first. Acknowledging shortcomings and coming up with plans to deal with them is a far better approach.

Being humble means sharing credit and being inclusive rather than exclusive. As the saying goes ‘we are standing on the shoulders of giants’. Unless you have come up with an innovate idea, such as E=mc(2), most of the time work is completed due to a team effort. Projects in companies are a team effort. Yes, individual leadership does matter, and in the end individual should get rewarded, but as part of a team effort. Thanking others is very important when sharing success. Effective thank you award speeches acknowledge the efforts of others more than your own.

“My way or the highway” is another attitude which should be discouraged. Being inclusive means learning from the mistakes of others, and validating the opinions of others when making decisions. No one has the answer to all problems. This is not the matrix wherein there is a blue pill and a red pill and only one is the right way. Life and work is mostly shades of gray. When making important decisions reach out to the appropriate stake holders and seek to cover as many bases as possible. Although moving fast is good, by ignoring important stake holders you can end up doing things ineffectively. I am not saying that you look for a ‘no’ answer more than a ‘yes’ answer, nor am I am saying that we not move fast by including other stake holders.

Be generous when it comes to giving praise, advice and support. Reward your team as much as possible and don’t hesitate from helping others. I have gained a lot of goodwill by helping others when needed. Additionally praising others generously has helped my team gain valuable influence.

Do you think using emotional intelligence is more powerful than using technical intelligence in managing a team? Share your comments in this blog.