5 things emotionally intelligent managers do differently


Future profitable managers will likely be described not as environment friendly or agile, however as one thing much less anticipated: emotional. By this, I imply these managers will present extra empathy towards staff and their wants, each inside and outdoors the workplace setting.

As attrition and burnout proceed to climb, it’s clear that workers gained’t hesitate to stop their jobs looking for more healthy work environments. In recent surveys, 7 out of 10 workers stated they might be keen to go away their present function for one which higher helps their well-being.

Managers play an important function in whether or not or not an worker feels supported. And whereas quite a bit has been written about bigger gestures that assist groups fight burnout⁠ (for example, providing an additional week of trip or sponsoring on-line remedy companies⁠) worker well-being is equally formed by moments that may appear a lot smaller at first look.


If a supervisor consistently vents to their crew, sends anxiety-inducing emails in any respect hours of the day, or affords solely obscure suggestions that leaves their stories at midnight about what precisely it’s they should enhance—just a few days of trip doubtless gained’t make them really feel significantly better.

In different phrases, high managers prioritize emotional intelligence. They perceive the impression a brusque remark can have on their crew, take the time to acknowledge and regulate their very own feelings, and work arduous to forestall their unhealthy day from turning right into a horrible week for his or her crew.

Listed below are 5 things emotionally intelligent managers do differently.

Follow “selective vulnerability”

As a supervisor, your function is to stroll a tremendous line between sharing—a trust-building train—and oversharing, a trust-destroying behavior. Turning into a “emotions hearth hose” by revealing an excessive amount of can undermine your authority and destabilize your crew. So, in the event you’re the chief, keep away from blurting out statements like, “I’m so wired and don’t know easy methods to deal with this,” which actually gained’t encourage confidence in your crew.

So how will you open up with out burdening your folks? By practising “selective vulnerability, ” or flagging your emotions, with out changing into emotionally leaky, after which offering a path ahead. An excellent formulation to observe is one thing alongside the traces of: “I’m feeling _____ due to _____. However right here’s what I’m planning to do subsequent to make it higher: _____. And right here’s what I would like from you: _____. ”

For instance, you may say, “I do know we’ve all been working arduous to hit the massive deadline. I’m actually feeling the lengthy hours we’re pulling, and I’m certain you might be, too. Let’s every undergo what we’ve left to do, see the place we may help one another out, after which attempt to clear a few nonurgent conferences off our calendars to present ourselves some extra heads-down time.”


Emotionally proofread writing

Miscommunication is more likely while you’re not face-to-face together with your stories, partly as a result of all of us endure from what researchers name a “negativity bias”; in different phrases, if what’s written has an meant constructive tone or impression, we understand it as impartial. And if it’s impartial (assume “certain” or “OK”), we view it as damaging.

So the subsequent time you’re about to ship one among your stories a message, pause to emotionally proofread what you wrote by placing your self within the recipient’s sneakers. Don’t hearth off a observe at 9 p.m. that claims, “Let’s discuss tomorrow,” while you imply, “Your slides look nice total, however I’ve a few small feedback I’d love to speak by means of tomorrow.”

When reviewing these two examples, the primary message has a superb probability of leaving somebody panicked and sleepless, whereas the second message is way much less anxious.

Play chess not checkers

Your crew members will work at their finest in the event you spend money on understanding every particular person’s distinctive skills and areas for enchancment, after which assign duties accordingly. You’ll even have a greater probability of holding onto high expertise. To assist this, individuals who really feel that their work makes use of their private abilities are seven times less likely to go away their group.

Spending time attending to know your stories as people can also be among the finest methods to forestall burnout inside your crew. Recent research from my HR group exhibits that one of many high challenges for managers in 2021 was understanding the place their folks wanted assist. In your one-on-ones, ask your stories the next questions, after which take motion on what they let you know:

  • What one factor can I do to higher assist you this week?
  • What sort of flexibility do you want proper now?
  • How does your workload really feel proper now? The place can I assist?
  • What initiatives have you ever loved most over the previous month?

Perceive your emotional expression tendency

Are you an “open ebook?” Or are you extra arduous to learn? In relation to how snug we’re expressing emotion, we every sit someplace alongside a spectrum. On one finish are what I name, “over-emoters,” or individuals who really feel things strongly and specific them visibly and verbally. On the opposite finish are “under-emoters,” so individuals who don’t really feel as intensely and infrequently show emotion. Neither is nice or unhealthy, however it’s helpful to pay attention to the place on the spectrum you sit so you may alter your conduct in sure conditions.

For instance, maybe one among your managers, Erik, is an “over-emoter.” He may generally tend to let a nasty day bitter his interactions together with his stories. Then again, Christina, an “under-emoter,” may present so little pleasure a few job nicely executed that her crew feels underappreciated.

Nice managers acknowledge their tendencies and make small adjustments to behave like “even-emoters.” Erik may take a second earlier than becoming a member of a video name to make sure his frazzled morning doesn’t smash his weekly crew assembly, whereas Christina may make an effort to specific extra reward and gratitude than feels snug.

Body suggestions as bridging the hole

Staff who don’t understand that they’ve progress alternatives are a surprising eight times more eager to leave their firm. Meaning it’s extra essential than ever to present your folks the suggestions they should enhance—and finally get promoted. However unstructured, half-baked suggestions might be extra hurtful than useful.

As a substitute of merely providing recommendation (or worse, criticism), recommend a unique method of doing things and clarify the way it will profit the particular person. A straightforward step to recollect is to border suggestions as bridging the hole: Establish the place you need the opposite particular person to be, give them clear recommendation on easy methods to get there, and—most significantly—emphasize that you just imagine they’ve the power to bridge that hole. Your folks will likely be far more receptive to listening to what they should enhance in the event you first say this: “I’m supplying you with these feedback as a result of I’ve very excessive expectations of you, and I’m assured you may attain them.”

Whereas these may look like small steps, they’ll make a world of distinction in how your folks really feel at work. The pandemic has already made work and life anxious sufficient. It’s your job as a supervisor to make sure that you’re not piling further, pointless anxiousness onto your folks.


Liz Fosslien is the pinnacle of content material at Humu, a human sources firm, and the coauthor and illustrator of the Wall Road Journal best-seller No Hard Feelings: The Secret Power of Embracing Emotions at Work. As an skilled on easy methods to make work higher, Liz has spoken about how workers can higher spend money on their well-being at organizations together with Adidas, JP Morgan, and Google.