Management: Develop Your Emotional Quotient

Management has changed over the last couple of decades. The old 80’s style of management and motivating people by fear has evolved and today’s management is a much more supportive, encouraging, inclusive and altogether more effective form of directing and developing people.

That said, although this is a softer approach, it is no less rigorous as it encourages people to take responsibility for themselves and become accountable for their actions. In a way, managers have a tougher job now than they did in the past. A more subtle approach requires a more refined skills set and many “old style” managers are finding it difficult to adapt.

fascial expressions

To stay ahead of the game, managers need to possess a high degree of emotional intelligence (EI). In the past, IQ was enough to get you to the top but in our current business environment, your emotional quotient (EQ) is just as vital and, in some cases, more so.

In an environment where IQ levels are likely to be comparable (such as an accountancy firm) your EQ could be the differentiating factor that sets you apart.

Many organizations are now measuring EQ at the recruitment stage and when developing management capability. A good emotional intelligence course is the ideal way to learn how to increase your EQ and become a better manager.

There are 4 areas of EI, all equally important for a manager. These were developed by the originators of the Emotional Intelligence theory – Professor Jack Mayer and Professor Peter Salovey:

1)     Recognizing Emotion

Good managers are able to recognize emotions in themselves and others. This requires an openness to emotion to be able to answer the question, “how am I feeling today” with a one word answer. Recognizing emotion also involves the ability to recognize emotion in others through their facial expressions.  Are they happy, sad, angry scared or surprised?

Our facial expression often reveals what our words do not and is vital for telling us how people really feel about our plans, proposals or opinions.

2)     Using

This is about the link between emotions and cognitive thinking. Successful managers know it is not possible to make a decision “with our heads or our hearts.”  Emotions are involved in every decision that we make and we need to pay attention to them.

If you know which emotions are useful for which tasks and can switch moods, create a mood task match.  Then you will be more effective and efficient in your day to day jobs.

3)     Understanding

Understanding the combination of emotions we feel at a deeper level is a vital element of EI. Understanding also involves identifying the causes of emotion as well as tracking how our emotions change over time.

Emotions follow logical patterns.  Knowing these patterns will greatly enhance your emotional “what if” planning.

4)     Managing

Finally, our skills at managing our own and others’ moods will determine how well we deal with difficult situations. Rather than ruminating or suppressing emotion, to be effective we need to go to the emotion (recognize it), get insight (through using and understanding) and then go through the emotion.

We can do this by implementing short or long term strategies to achieve the optimal emotional outcome for ourselves and others.

Fascial Expressions Photo via Shutterstock


Dale Kirke Dale Kirke works as a learning and development specialist at Thales Training and Consultancy focused on growing leadership skills development, building great teams and encouraging high performance. Dale has designed and delivered a range of learning and development solutions specialising in the areas of leadership and management, people and performance management, interpersonal skills and team development.

5 Reactions
  1. Mr Dale I have a question as you said that management has changed from 80’s so what is the main reason for the change or management has to adopt these due to increase in the degree of competition .
    As you pointed out that in order to become a successful manager one need to have a good emotional quotient, is there any other are EI other than the four discussed above that are important for a manager.

  2. Hello Dale, Heard people speak about the importance about EQ here and there. Luckily came across this one, was really informative. I got a good understanding. Thank you.. But Dale, could you please say few words about emotional ‘what if’ planning? What does that exactly mean? kindly clarify me..