Are lovable bosses born or made? The answer may be found in what experts like TalentSmart Cofounder Travis Bradberry call Emotional Intelligence (EQ). The good news is that this skillset isn’t as innate as, say, your actual IQ. You can learn to be more EQ and doing so can lead to amazing things. Not only can it generate happier employees (remember that old saying: people don’t leave jobs, they leave bosses), it can improve your career trajectory, too. TalentSmart found that EQ is responsible for 58 percent of job performance and that people with high EQ make nearly $30,000 more annually than their counterparts.
So how can EQ turn you into a boss who employees adore? Here are some of the top EQ-friendly traits TalentSmart identifies:
- Be present in your interactions.
This includes making eye contact, (truly) listening, asking questions, and putting away the phone and other distractions when having conversations. A recent study mentioned by Harvard Business Review found that among 33 leadership traits—including creating compelling objectives, expressing ideas clearly, and being receptive to input—the ability to be mindfully present is the most essential of all.
- Be genuine.
This doesn’t mean you should always be nice or that you should always tell the truth. Perhaps a better way to understand it is what Candor, Inc. co-founders like Kim Scott call Radical Candor™: the ability to challenge directly and show you care personally at the same time. You might call this tough love, and it’s an extremely difficult skill to master. Care too much without challenging, and you risk what Scott calls “ruinous empathy”; challenge too much without empathy, and you risk what she calls “obnoxious aggression.” For a better idea of how to strike the right balance, watch this helpful video.
- Be approachable.
This skill set includes being open-minded about new ideas and requests. It can mean having an open-door policy that empowers employees at all levels to speak up without fear. It can also include physical approachability: using positive body language, greeting everyone with a smile, and even remembering people’s names. Gone are the days in which intimidation equaled professionalism. All of these approachability factors can lead to increased interactions and more opportunities for managers to make their reports feel heard and appreciated, which a recent PayScale survey found as the most important component of job satisfaction today.
- Trust more.
An idea attributed to Warren Buffet is to “hire well, manage little.” When you score a slam dunk in the hiring process, you should be able to trust the people you hire to do their jobs without micromanaging them. In fact, trust is critical, says management consultant Tracy Maylett. “Workers who are free to make more choices are happier, more committed to their jobs, productive and less likely to leave,” he explains. For additional proof, read these cringeworthy micromanaging horror stories.
For more EQ attributes, read this article by TalentSmart and tell us: What skill sets are you working on this year? Do you find any more challenging to incorporate than others?
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