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How Employers Can Support Staff with Children During COVID

The modern workplace as we knew it is likely gone forever. COVID-19 has turned many industries and their respective workplaces upside down. For most office and administrative positions, employees are now working remotely – and there’s a chance they’ll never return to the office full-time.

Schools have been equally affected; the majority of public and private schools have sent students home to learn remotely at least part-time.

These two trends create quite the challenge for working parents. They must balance their daily work schedules, which likely include several virtual meetings and many other responsibilities, with the schedules of their children who are now home part—or all—of the day.

As an employer, you’re still trying to get the most out of your employees with children at home. However, it’s clear that the balancing act they are attempting is no easy task.

In this post, we’ll outline some strategies that employers can implement to support their staff with children during this challenging time.

Specifically, we’ll recommend that you:

  • Be aware of all your support options
  • Be flexible
  • Consider long-term outcomes
  • Be cautious

Be Aware of All Your Support Options

There are most likely certain laws and other processes that are already established that you can implement to support your employees with children.  

First, consider supporting your employees by contributing to their child care costs. The Internal Revenue Service allows companies to claim a tax break of 10 or 25 percent of child care costs for their employees (up to $150,000/year – click here to learn more about this credit). This obviously might not apply to every employee, as some parents understandably want to avoid sending their children to a daycare provider during COVID. However, there are still many parents in the workforce who would be willing to consider daycare options if their employers help cover some of the costs. Consider setting up a meeting with your employees and HR leadership to discuss if this is a realistic way for your company to help your employees.

Second, be sure you understand all the benefits options that you are already offering to your employees. If you have an employee assistance program, identify the services therein that would be most beneficial to your employees at this time. Work with HR to send out a reminder to all of your employees about those services. For example, perhaps your employee assistance program offers free sessions with counselors or time-management coaches for your employees. If you aren’t up to speed on everything that’s offered under your employee assistance program, schedule a meeting with HR so they can help you become better acquainted with it. Then, pass on that knowledge to your employees who need it the most – in this case the employees with children at home.

Be Flexible

COVID-19 has most likely created many challenges for your business. Understandably, your mind is probably racing about how you can improve inefficiencies and reduce costs in order to increase profitability. However, don’t let this mindset keep you from being flexible with your employees that have children at home.

Raising children takes time. With parents and their children primarily constrained to the house during regular daytime hours, the time commitment required to keep those kids fed, dressed, and focus on their schoolwork increases significantly.

You must understand that your employees with children will experience interruptions during the workday – there’s no way to avoid it. Penalizing your employees for these interruptions will backfire.

Instead, show empathy towards them and their situations by being as flexible as possible. Perhaps the 8:30 AM Zoom call will need to be pushed to 9:00 AM. And when it’s time for that meeting, forgive the background noise that might be sneaking through their microphone.

Work hand-in-hand with your employees to determine the areas that they’ll need the most flexibility, and try to determine if there are any particular times of day that are difficult for them to stay 100% focused on work (for example, lunch time with the kids, or early-morning when setting up their child’s remote learning station).

Consider Long-Term Outcomes

Employers have been faced with many difficult decisions in 2020. As is the case with any decision in the business world, you must weigh the anticipated costs and benefits of your decisions. As you consider ways that you can support your employees with children during the pandemic, you must also weigh the costs and benefits of those decisions.

Contributing towards child care costs or ramping up your employee assistance program (as we’ve discussed in previous sections) are expensive strategies to pursue. However, take a moment to consider what the long-term outcomes of these decisions might be.

The pandemic will end eventually. The economy will improve, and there will be opportunities for your business to get back on track. When this time comes, would you rather have employees who are satisfied with how they were treaded during COVID, or would you rather have employees who felt they weren’t properly taken care of and supported?

When the pandemic ends, having motivated, happy, loyal employees will likely be your most valuable asset.

Be Cautious

The last topic we’ll discuss in this post is the need to be cautious. Already, companies have been sued by employees who are unhappy about their employers’ accommodations during the COVID-19 pandemic. Employment law experts expect this trend to continue, unfortunately.

Work with your legal counsel to ensure full compliance with the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). This act requires, “certain employers to provide employees with paid sick leave or expanded family and medical leave for specified reasons related to covid-19.” Learn more about the FFCRA by clicking here.

As you make decisions related to approving or denying FFCRA leave for your employees, don’t forget to consider how your decisions will either increase or decrease the risk of facing lawsuits or government fines. As we spoke about in the previous section, don’t be afraid to make sacrifices in the short term to protect yourself and your business in the long term. For example, if you aren’t sure whether to approve or deny an employee’s FFCRA leave request, it may be better to err on the side of caution and approve the leave so that you reduce the risk of potential lawsuits.

Key Takeaways

Employees who have children at home during the pandemic are facing significant challenges. Balancing daily work schedules with the schedules of their children is not an easy task, and there will certainly be scheduling conflicts that affect their work to some degree.

Employers should be empathetic of the circumstances of their employees with children at home.

Some strategies that employers can implement include:

  • Being aware of tax breaks and employment benefits that are in place that benefit both the employer and the employees.
  • Being as flexible as possible with employees
  • Keeping a long term perspective, as the pandemic will end someday and having happy employees will be a very valuable resource at that time

Of course, employers should also be aware of FFCRA regulations and regularly consult their legal counsel about leave decisions during the pandemic.

Accountability, Trust, and Success in the Remote Environment

It’s natural for managers to wonder about their employees’ productivity levels in a remote work environment. Since the transition from a highly collaborative and supervised office to scattered, private homes, working people have faced a range of obstacles that have impaired or even prevented them from achieving the level of productivity that they and their managers were accustomed to before the pandemic. While this new approach to working can certainly be difficult, it is possible to continue operating at the level of success you enjoyed at the office- provided employees and managers have the right practices and procedures in place that enable everyone to stay accountable and feel supported.

In this post, we’ll cover:

  • Defining success for your team in a remote environment
  • Creating consistency to build trust
  • Reinforcing relationships to help employees grow

Define What Success Means to Your Team

Success has a unique meaning for every team, but it is almost always easier to meet and achieve when everyone involved agrees upon what success looks like. With clear communication being a more crucial component of success than ever before, it’s important for managers to ensure that everyone on their team understands their unique role and responsibility in reaching organizational achievement. Though many companies have been working remote since the pandemic began, now may be a good time to gather your team and revisit (or even introduce) mutually agreed upon parameters and goals that will help employees understand what is expected of them. These parameters can include establishing a range of hours during which all employees are expected to be reachable, being intentional about communicating next steps on a project, or accomplishing more individualized, measurable goals specific to an employee’s job title. By aligning your expectations and goals, everyone on your team will have a clearer picture of how they are to move forward in this novel working environment.  

Build Trust Through Consistency and Dependability

Trust between colleagues is one of the most important foundational necessities for a successful team or organization, and it’s especially important to reinforce when employees and managers do not have the chance to interact as a result of working remote. One such way to increase a shared sense of trust is to ensure that you’re communicating and sticking to responsibilities, deadlines, and commitments. Whether you’re an employee or a manager, consistently demonstrating that you’re a dependable worker helps to foster a sense of accountability throughout the organization and provides crucial support to your colleagues and your organization. Building trust in a virtual environment is also about making the extra effort and being transparent. Managers should schedule weekly check-ins with their employees and remind their team that it’s okay to feel unsure and anxious during this time. Colleagues that trust one another in both a personal and a professional capacity are often more productive, leading to better outcomes and a higher level of success.

Reinforce Relationships

Working from home for an extended period of time can often lead to employees feeling isolated, siloed, and insecure. These feelings of disconnectedness are stressful for employees and typically affect their productivity levels. Managers should seek out regular opportunities to have meaningful interactions with their employees over video or IM chat and foster a sense of community on their team by reminding employees that they can reach out if they are struggling. Frequently pairing up remote workers on projects or assignments is a great way to promote collaboration between colleagues and alleviate some of those feelings of isolation. Do not underestimate the effect of virtual employee engagement either- hold virtual happy hours, come up with a few fun games during team meetings, or even have virtual lunch together. A little personal connection goes a long way and helps to make this challenging time a little easier for everyone.

Finally, don’t let your remote status prevent you from encouraging and advancing your employees’ talent and career aspirations. As new technology supports an organization’s ability to seek out the best and most qualified candidates, regardless of their home address, companies may find they have to step up their game in order to retain top or burgeoning talent. While an employee’s ambitions are ultimately up to them, their advancement is something that should be regularly discussed. Encourage them to express any future aspirations they might have and make it part of your job to help them achieve those goals- even if it might be a heavier lift in a remote environment.

Key Takeaways

This shift from office culture to an online environment has been complex and unstable at times, but this shift has also removed boundaries and encouraged new modes of doing business. Managers have an opportunity to capitalize on those new advantages and minimize the negative effects of remote work by keeping the following suggestions in mind:

  • Clearly define what success looks like for your team and how it is to be achieved. When each individual member knows what is expected of them and their colleagues, they function at a smoother and faster pace
  • Trust is the foundation of success. By reinforcing a strong sense of trust between colleagues through accountability and transparency, managers can expect healthy levels of productivity and employees may experience less stress and uncertainty in their role
  • Maintaining relationships is more important than ever now that interaction between team members is limited. Make it a regular priority to check in with employees on how they’re doing, find ways to engage the team as a group, and continue to support your employees’ career aspirations.

How Business Leaders Can Build a High-Functioning HR Department

Historically, Human Resources departments was seen as an administrative team within an organization that focused on regulatory compliance and payroll. However, in today’s ever-evolving and increasingly people-focused business world, HR has become an integral part of any successful company’s leadership team.  

The most successful companies have learned to strategically focus their HR assets in order to make the largest impact within their organization. In this post, we’ll explain just how to do this.  

Specifically, we’ll discuss: 

  • Big Picture HR Strategies vs. Tactical HR Elements 
  • Keeping Your Internal HR Assets Focused on Big Picture Strategies 
  • Outsourcing Your Tactical HR Elements 
  • Choosing an Outsourced HR Partner 

Big Picture HR Strategies vs. Tactical HR Elements 

We’ll frame our recommendations in this post under two main categories: 1) Big Picture HR Strategies and 2) Tactical HR Elements.  

Big picture HR strategies are the items that you hope to improve over time. Examples include company culture, talent acquisition, employee development, employee diversity, employee satisfaction, and employee retention. 

Tactical HR elements are the day-to-day or week-to-week processes that must be carried out for standard HR operations. Examples include processing payroll, administering benefits, and storing employee data.  

Keeping Your Internal HR Assets Focused on Big Picture HR Strategies 

Successful companies generally keep their internal HR assets focused on big picture HR strategies. This means that HR leadership and supporting staff focus their day-to-day efforts on improving company culture, recruiting top talent, developing strategies to improve employee diversity, and other high-return areas. 

These are the tasks that will lead to greater success for your company in the long run. Ultimately, HR is all about people. Where would your company be without the people who keep it running? While the tactical HR elements like payroll and benefits administration are critically important too, the work involved with their administration is much more technical and involves little to do with strategic human capital management.  

For this reason, your internal HR assets should focus on those bigger picture HR strategies that will significantly impact the people who work for your business moving forward. 

When you are looking to hire new HR team members, be sure you keep these considerations in mind. You might have a candidate who is an expert in administering payroll and benefits, but make sure the candidate can also think strategically about big picture HR efforts before you hire them. The ability to contribute to the big picture HR efforts will be much more valuable for your business in the long run.  

Outsourcing Your Tactical HR Elements 

Tactical HR elements such as payroll processing, benefits administration, and storing employee data are not overtly challenging – but implementing and managing systems to carry out those tasks does take time and resources.  

Outsourced HR partners already have these systems in place, and they have mastered the use of these systems as they have implemented them with hundreds of businesses just like yours. If you choose a partner that is a great fit for your business, they should be able to get the systems up and running for you with a short onboarding timeline. 

Although there are costs associated with hiring outsourced HR partners, it also saves you time and money by eliminating the need for you or your staff to implement and manage tactical HR systems.  

The other significant benefit of working with an outsourced HR partner is that it can greatly reduce HR risk. By having an expert third party manage key HR processes on your behalf, you can greatly reduce the odds of making costly mistakes associated with violating HR laws or payroll processes. As a business owner, the last thing you want to deal with is a fine imposed by a local government agency or disgruntled employees with late paychecks. 

Choosing an Outsourced HR Partner 

Here are some questions you should ask yourself when you are researching different HR outsourcing solutions: 

  • What will be the costs of working with this partner, both in the short term and the long term?  
  • Does this partner have the technological capacity to grow as my business grows? In other words, can this partner adapt to fit my needs as my company expands to include more staff and potentially additional geographic locations? 
  • Does the partner provide adequate training to my staff so that we can use their platforms or systems to the fullest extent possible? 
  • Does this partner meet all legal compliance requirements, especially related to privacy and security of sensitive employee data? 
  • Will this partner have the financial stability to ensure they stay in business over the long term? 
  • Can I depend on this partner to properly address challenges and issues in a time-sensitive manner? 

Key Takeaways 

In the realm of HR administration, there are both big picture HR strategies as well as tactical HR elements.  

Big picture HR strategies include things like improving company culture, acquiring new talent, employee retention, improving diversity efforts, and developing employees. 

Tactical HR elements include things like processing payroll, benefits administration, and storing employee data.  

Savvy business owners will understand the advantages to keeping internal HR assets focused on big picture HR strategies while outsourcing tactical HR elements. Some of these advantages include: 

  • Increased efficiency of employee time and resources. 
  • Reduced risk of litigation and fines for employers. 
  • Increased focus on the big picture aspects of your business that will lead to greater success over time.  

Finally, if you do decide to work with an outsourced HR partner, be sure to do your due diligence so that you pick the best fit for your business’s unique needs. 

As A CEO Your Job is to Get the Right People in the Right Seats: Here’s How to Do It

The key to a healthy, productive business is to build a team of the right people and to make sure that employees are in the roles that fit them the best.

Companies commonly make the mistake of hiring employees for their technical skills and experience, rather than trying to assemble the best team possible. It is most important to ensure that new hires are great cultural fits so that they will contribute to the shared work of achieving your company mission/vision and stay with the company long-term.

At the same time, you cannot build an effective team if you promote the wrong people into the wrong positions. You need to have clear and transparent performance evaluations and promotion policies so that you can identify ideal candidates, help employees fill skill gaps, and maintain team morale.

Both hiring the right people and putting them in the right positions is necessary for a robust company culture, employee performance, and retention. While the stakes are high, you can make a huge difference through a few simple changes in your hiring and advancement practices. Let’s examine each component in more detail and explore some simple steps you can take to make sure that you are on the right track.

Hiring the Right People

Why Is Hiring the Right People So Important?

Why is it important to have the right people on your team? The fact of the matter is that employees are the life blood of your company and define your company’s success and its culture. If employees are a bad fit for the company they can drive down their teammates’ productivity, damage team cohesion, and cause retention problems.

On the other hand, being strategic in who works at your company enables you to craft teams with an eye for culture, collaboration, and productivity. This is why it is important to take a hard look at your hiring procedures. Bringing on new employees is a huge commitment. You need to make sure that your priorities in the hiring process match what you need to create and maintain a team of the best people for your organization.

Hiring Mistakes to Avoid

Before we get into what you should be looking for when hiring, let’s look at some common practices that cause companies to end up with the wrong people.

All too often, companies hire for skills only. When they see the candidate with the most experience and technical expertise, they fight hard to bring them onboard whether or not the potential employee shows any interest in the company mission/vision or culture. This is a critical mistake that is easy to make; most employers do hire for skills and experience. However, nine out of ten times the reason why they let people go is because they are a poor cultural fit. Why not skip the middle step and only hire people who fit your company culture?

Another trap that employers fall into is believing that employees will change. They know that the candidate is not a good cultural fit, but they believe that they will start buying into the company culture and taking ownership over the mission/vision once they join the team. This is not hard to do; after all, you believe in what you are doing and the culture that you are fostering, so why wouldn’t the candidate believe too once they had experienced life in your company? But the sad fact is that most employees simply won’t change and become a good cultural fit.

Even when they find the perfect candidate, many employers miss the opportunity to bring them on board because they aren’t willing to work with the potential hire to make sure that the job meets their needs. Even if you have a hard budget and cannot make salary accommodations, it is often worth it to make compromises on vacation time, remote work, and other quality of life benefits to bring the right people into your organization.

So, What Should You Do Instead?

The most important action to take to ensure that you have the right people working at your company is to put culture at the center of every step of the hiring process. Obviously, it is important to hire qualified candidates. But hiring people who are great cultural fits will do wonders for employee morale, retention rates, and productivity. Make it clear to candidates what your company stands for and make sure that they will buy into and add to your company culture.

You may be wary of scaring job seekers away by focusing too much on company culture during the hiring process. Don’t be, you want to weed out people who are opposed to your company culture. People who will buy into the culture when they sign-on will appreciate your focus on culture and the efforts you take to make sure they understand what it entails. If a candidate believes in your company’s values but is put off by how seriously you take your culture, then this probably isn’t the best person to bring on to your team.

Another factor to take into account is who you put in charge of interviews and hiring decisions. You want a “true believer” in your culture handling hiring. So, do not be afraid of bucking seniority to make sure the right person is in the interview room. Every person at your organization that touches the hiring process must strongly believe in the company mission/vision and be a clear representation of your company’s culture.

Proper Promoting: Get the Right People in the Right Seats

Why & What

As much as hiring the right people is important, it can be even more important to promote the right people into the right positions.

Emphasize Performance Tracking and Communication

It is important to determine how employees are doing so that you can be sure that you are promoting the right people. The more objective your advancement process is, the easier it is to avoid nepotism and other toxic promotion practices. Transparency not only allows you to find the right candidates for each position, it also holds existing employees accountable and empowers you to move people who are a poor fit for their current position.

You can drive accountability by tracking key performance metrics, setting clear goals, and measuring success against those goals at every level. By tracking performance in a clear and objective way, you can see employee strengths and weaknesses and quickly identify candidates for promotion.

Another important aspect to consider is feedback and communication. Objective numbers and goal tracking is great when available, but a lot of performance tracking and advancement procedures will still have to be handled by employees’ managers. Don’t feel limited to annual reviews to evaluate performance or give and solicit feedback. Try implementing quarterly or even monthly reviews, encouraging feedback at weekly meetings and daily standups, and asking employees regularly how they want to expand their responsibilities and advance in the company. Not only will you have a better sense of which employees are ready for promotion, you will be able to identify which candidates are right for which positions based on their specific skills and priorities by tracking their feedback and performance.

Also, letting employees know how they are doing, and what is expected of them in order for them to be considered for promotion, helps job satisfaction and employee retention. That means that the same strategies you use to get the right people in the right roles can also keep them in those positions.

How to Determine Who is Right for Which Position

Just as in your hiring decisions, it is important to promote people who buy into your culture. Your managers are responsible for making sure that their teams are run according to the company culture and that their team members see how their work plays into the company mission and vision. No matter how many perfect cultural fits you hire, you won’t see the payoff in an engaged, mission-driven workforce if your managers are not the best cultural fits of all.

When considering each specific position, it is also important to promote the candidate who shows a natural intuition for the challenges and expected results of the role.  Some candidates may be deserving of a promotion, and absolutely ready for management, but not have the feel for a specific role. You want to promote someone who ‘just gets it’ and does not need you to browbeat them with what is expected of them. It can be helpful to consider candidates who have faced similar challenges before, and can articulate clearly how their past experiences relate to the position. Mostly, however, this is a less concrete component of finding the right person; it is often something that you will be able to feel out during the interview process.

Of course, you also need to promote people who have the skills and time necessary to take on the new role. Top performers may be overworked and unable to take on additional responsibilities. Other employees might be the perfect fit for a role except for gap in their skills or experience. In these cases it can be beneficial to figure out a lateral move that will enable them to gain the necessary experience and continue to grow within the company.

No matter how perfect someone is for a position on paper, they will not be a good fit for the role if they do not really want it. You want hungry managers who are eager to prove themselves, take initiative, and drive their teams forward. People who can come up with out of the box solutions and get the best results out of their team members because they genuinely want to make a difference. Within limits, look for the people who have been chaffing to change systems and strategies or who have started taking on some of the responsibilities of the new position within their current role because they care about seeing the job done.

Key Takeaways

We’ve covered a lot of ground about best hiring and advancement practices. Here are some key concepts to take away from this article:

  • Hire people who will make great additions to your team, not just who are the most qualified
  • Put company culture front-and-center in the hiring process
  • Track performance and encourage constant feedback to identify ideal candidates for each position
  • Promote strategically, again with an eye for culture but also looking at specific skills, experience, and mindsets necessary to tackle the given role

If you implement these principles in the way that you build your teams, you will see significant improvements in company culture, team cohesion, employee performance, and turnover rates. Your employees will be engaged in their work and in the mission of your organization.

How to Improve Emotional Intelligence and Become a Better Leader

How to Improve Emotional Intelligence and Become a Better Leader

Your management team’s emotional intelligence level can make or break your ability to build a thriving business. Emotional intelligence, a.k.a. “EQ,” is someone’s ability to understand and harness the power of emotion to build strong relationships, foster trust, mitigate conflict, and more. Teams with a high EQ enjoy higher productivity, better morale, and improved employee retention. On the other hand, teams with a low EQ can suffer from poor work ethic, high turnover rates, and low motivation.

In today’s post we’ll explore emotional intelligence and why it’s important to your business’ success. We’ll also provide strategies you can leverage to improve your EQ. You’ll learn:

  • What is emotional intelligence?
  • Why is emotional intelligence important in the workplace?
  • Strategies to improve your emotional intelligence

What is Emotional Intelligence?

Emotional intelligence is the ability to identify and mange your emotions and the emotions of others. In his book, Working With Emotional Intelligence, Daniel Goleman outlines five categories of emotional intelligence including:

  • Self-awareness: understanding one’s own strengths and weaknesses, recognizing the impact of one’s actions on others, and receiving constructive criticism well.
  • Self-regulation: expressing one’s feelings with restraint and control.
  • Motivation: driven by one’s own ambition, resilience, and optimism.
  • Empathy: having the compassion and understanding to connect with others on an emotional level.
  • People skills: the ability to build rapport and trust with others.

Research on emotional intelligence by Harvard Business Review more broadly segments EQ into the areas of self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, and relationship management. Within each of these areas are several skills which allow for exceptional leadership in business. The graphic below overviews each of these areas and the competencies that fall within them.

Why is Emotional Intelligence Important (in General)

People with strong emotional intelligence are better able to regulate their own emotions and navigate the emotional responses of others. They reap many benefits including:

  • Recognizing and understanding their own emotional reactions
  • Managing, controlling, and adapting their own moods, reactions, and responses
  • Leveraging their emotions to motivate themselves, take action, commit, and work towards goals
  • Identifying the feelings of others, understanding their emotions, and using this information to relate to others more effectively
  • Building strong relationships, relating to others in social situations, leading, negotiating conflict, and working as part of a team

Why is Emotional Intelligence Important in the Workplace?

Emotional Intelligence plays a crucial role in business leaders’ ability to effectively manage and grow their business. Workplaces are, by nature, relationship-driven environments. They are places with a wide range of personalities, interests, and communication styles. Having a good EQ can help business owners better manage their workforce. Leaders with strong EQ reap many benefits including:

  • Being able to provide genuine feedback to employees
  • Fostering trust with employees and customers
  • Resolving conflict between team members
  • Setting realistic expectations and standards for your team
  • Constantly improving your management style

Research by the Center for Creative Leadership (CCL) found that lack of emotional intelligence is a leading cause of failure in executive positions. It identified three main reasons for failure: difficulty handling change, ineffective teamwork, and poor interpersonal relations. Additional research by Egon Zehnder International found that EQ was stronger at predicting executive success than IQ or job experience.

More generally speaking, research by The Carnegie Institute of Technology found that only 15% of financial success is attributed to technical skills. 85% of a typical person’s executive success is attributed to EQ skills such as the ability to communicate, negotiate, and lead. Research by TalentSmart found that 90% of top-performers have good emotional intelligence.

In business, trust is key. Building trust with employees and customers is important for business leaders. In fact, research by Daniel Kahneman found that people would rather do business with someone they trust, even if it means paying a higher cost. High EQ is critical to building genuine relationships founded on trust and mutual understanding.

On the flip side, poor emotional intelligence can lead to a toxic work environment. Bad EQ in the workplace can be seen in bullying, harassment, turnover, and demotivated staff. It can manifest as insensitivity, arrogance, aggression, and volatility. Whereas a leadership team with high EQ can build a flexible environment, low emotional intelligence can lead to detrimental inflexibility and rigidity. In order to build a good company culture, emotional intelligence is crucial.

How to Improve Emotional Intelligence

At its core, emotional intelligence is effective communication between the emotional and rational parts of the brain. Unlike IQ, which remains relatively constant throughout your lifetime, EQ is something you can actively work on and improve. Some ways to improve emotional intelligence include:

  • Observe your feelings: as business leaders, work is extremely demanding. It’s easy to become so over-worked that you suppress or ignore your emotions entirely. It’s important to recognize that ignoring your feelings can cause these emotions to become stronger and less controlled over time. Rather than getting caught up in the day-to-day, when you’re having an emotional reaction to a situation, take a minute to recognize and address your feelings. Intentionally taking time to recognize and address your feelings can help build up your emotional intelligence over time.
  • Respond instead of react: recognize the difference between responding and reacting. Reacting is a knee-jerk response driven by emotions. Responding is a conscious, intentional process driven by understanding your feelings and deciding how to behave.
  • Be humble and keep things in perspective: having realistic expectations of yourself and others is a key part of EQ. If you think you’re better than others, you won’t be able to intentionally recognize and work on your own faults. You may also set unrealistic expectations for others, leading to disappointment. Instead, remain humble while recognizing your own unique set of strengths.

As you intentionally integrate these strategies into the way you think, your brain will begin to build new pathways and thought processes. Over time, your brain will adjust to use new EQ-driven strategies in your day-to-day work. Improving your EQ takes effort but is critical for anyone in a leadership position.

Key Take-Aways

In today’s post we explored what emotional intelligence is, why it’s important, and how to improve it. Here are some key take-aways:

  • Emotional intelligence is made up of several components including self-awareness, motivation, and social skills
  • Emotional intelligence provides many benefits including stronger relationships, better control over feelings, and improved ability to resolve conflicts
  • In the workplace, EQ is a stronger indicator of business success than IQ or technical skills
  • Unlike IQ, EQ can be actively worked on and improved over time
  • There are several strategies you can use to better leverage EQ-driven thought processes