College interpersonal communications classes are usually a low-level undergraduate class full of rote textbook memorization, which is ironic because there are no actual interpersonal skills put into practice when you’re reading a book. As much as 80 percent of people working todaybelieve that a good relationship with the boss makes for a happy and productive workplace.
Here are our top five emotional intelligence applications that require daily practice to improve your relationships and your team’s performance.
If you’re not touching base with the members of your leadership team at least once a day, you’re missing an opportunity to get ahead of any potential challenges. Studies have also shown that regular face-time with the boss improves job satisfaction, thereby reducing turnover. Take every opportunity you can to give your title a face and a personality with the people you’re leading. They need to know you see them, and they need to see you in return.
This could be as simple as a quick check-in question like, “Are you all settled into your new house?” or asking about a hobby or the family. Be prepared to spend a few minutes with each team member talking about non-business topics that speak to that person’s values. Personal attention conveys caring, and people like to be seen and understood.
When you ask about the family or the vacation, really listen to the answer. Active listening is the art of silencing your brain and not thinking about your response while the other person is talking. Instead, commit to asking at least one additional follow-up question based on the other person’s answer, repeating back to them some part of what they said. That requires that you be fully engaged in the conversation. If you’re a good listener, your team will consider you more likable and trustworthy and be more apt to come to you with issues before they negatively impact the company.
You know that empathy means being able to put yourself in someone else’s shoes, but don’t get bogged down trying to figure out too many of those details. Instead, when faced with difficulty communicating, ask for direct feedback. Empathy helps you tailor your management style to your team members—building trust and opening up the lines of communication.
Interpersonal relationships are a two-way street, so remember to share a bit about you in the process. Don’t over-share, but do allow glimpses into your personal life. Let your team see that you’re human; it’s an insight into your values and personality that could help your leadership team follow you more readily because they know you personally.
Give of your time, your talent, and yourself more fully, and you’ll develop the types of relationships that make up truly dynamic teams. It all boils down to managing your human resources by improving your emotional intelligence quotient, and leveraging that while recognizing that you’re leading a team of actual people who have a life outside of the office.