Why Develop Emotional Intelligence in Key Managers?

January 20, 2022
Angela Huntley

Firstly, what is emotional intelligence? Emotional Intelligence (EI) is where cognition and emotions meet. EI supports our capabilities in motivation, empathy, resilience, stress management, reasoning, communication and conflict management. It’s an ability to read and respond appropriately in social situations and having a high EI correlates with better fulfilment, a happy life and successful career.

Why is this important for key managers?

The workplace is an evolving, dynamic environment, and managers are born overnight. As office life has evolved so has the research showing that individuals with high EI or those who have cultivated a high EI are more successful and work cohesively with their teams. Having a high EI also assists when managing change and stress points within a team. This improves effectiveness and efficiency in tasks and helps to achieve group goals and objectives.

A well-known study by Google called ‘Project Oxygen’ was launched in 2008. The objective was to assess what makes a good manager. The aim of this was to help inform future strategies for their management and leadership programmes. Surprisingly, evidence showed that the top 10 qualities that were characteristics of successful managers were linked to soft skills rather than hard skills, see below:

Google 10 characteristics for management and leadership

  1. They are good at coaching employees
  2. They avoid micromanaging and empower
  3. The manager supports career goals and performance
  4. They understand the businesses vision and strategy
  5. They collaborate well
  6. They have good communication skills
  7. They are decisive
  8. They help maintain a psychologically safe and inclusive environment
  9. They possess technical skills that can guide the team
  10. They focus on productive behaviour and results

(Google, 2008)

So, how can peer groups develop and support EI in Key managers?

Being a manager can be pretty hairy at times. Peer groups are designed to help managers develop EI by helping with their emotional management to increase performance. In turn, this helps employees to remain calm, develop good relationships, think logically, and meet goals and objectives.

“Employees leave bad managers, they do not leave companies”, Marcus Buckingham.

Luckily, most managers have reasonable interpersonal skills and peer groups may just be a way for them to reflect and sharpen up those all-important soft skills for self-improvement whilst communicating with other managers in the same arena.

Why not do it internally? Well, it may be that they are more comfortable with managers from other businesses and the learning may be more valuable. They may not work with many managers or have an option for this to occur in their day-to-day roles or they may never have time to organise an interesting programme for information sharing. Whatever the reason, peer groups can help develop key managers’ a ready-made setting! EI develops interpersonal skills, resulting in employee engagement and better retention rates and reduces costs.

During the Experience Bank Group’s managerial peer groups, key managers learn about personality and EI, this is a great way for managers to increase self and social awareness. The managers work from the core on their own improvements that can be transferred back into the workplace.

Peer groups create a safe and open environment where coaching techniques can be discussed.

‘I think there’s a lot of power in admitting that you don’t know everything’, Kit Williamson

Learning and sharing coaching techniques and embedding a coaching culture bring confidence and form psychological safety and trust into the workplace. This helps reduce micromanagement and provide guidance for on-the-job learning and job effectiveness long-term.

During peer-to-peer sessions, personal and business-related topics such as conflict or resilience are covered, overcoming these barriers through peer learning and guidance helps individuals map priorities and develop continuous professional development (CPD) plans for self-growth. Managers who recognise their own CPD can guide employees better to reach their career goals and increase performance.

As peer groups run over longer periods, the learning is more effective. The material is relatable and accessible at any point, this aids further self-growth and opportunities for reflection. Providing an opportunity for a person to realise their own skills gap, take control and increase their belief in ‘Growth Mindset’ is an effective way to gain engagement and develop new skills. These key managers will be successful in empowering others within the workplace.

A study in an Indian Garment Factory showed that employees who went through a soft skills course increased the number of garments they produced; increasing productivity by 20% compared to a control group. These individuals also wanted to engage in other learning programmes and their behaviour was contagious. Nearby workers had an increased eagerness and their productivity also improved (Adhvaryu et al, 2016).

Peer support and peer-to-peer learning increase confidence in key managers, resulting in better decision making and assurance in their managerial capability. When these managers collaborate, build assurance in their strategies and re-evaluate their vision, these communications skills are transferred into the workplace. If you would like to discuss this opportunity for your key managers or find out more about the benefits of peer groups, please contact Peter Neal on 07843 329393 or at peter@theexperiencebank.co.uk.

Visit The Experience Bank Group Key Manager Peer Groups