Emotional Intelligence, or EI, is currently a big topic. But how does it apply to the workplace? How can you evaluate your own, or your employees EI? Do you think it’s really as important as they say?
EI was ranked sixth in the World Economic Forum’s list of the top 10 skills that employees will need to possess to thrive in the workplace of the future. Businesses are made up of people, and the more emotionally intelligent the people who work in the finance industry are, the higher the lift for a company from successful to exceptional. A finance business that has excellent EI will experience outstanding leadership and management skills, which will, in turn, produce great teamwork, driving the business forward.
Emotional Intelligence and Business Relationships
There are two types of relationships in any business, and these are:
1. Relationships between colleagues and senior staff. Staff who are managed by leaders with good EI are more efficient, productive and motivated to work well. Additionally, they tend to be happier and more confident in their work. It doesn’t take a genius to work out that this will add to the overall success for your finance business!
2. Relationships between the business and its clients, suppliers and external contacts. Creating an emotionally intelligent, positive workplace will enable you and your finance team to work more satisfactorily with customers, suppliers and the outside world in general. This will result in increasing the standing of the business by portraying a likeable, efficient and cohesive finance company that others want to do business with.
What Makes a Finance Leader Emotionally Intelligent?
Self-awareness. This is the knowledge and understanding of your own emotions; acknowledging your strengths and weaknesses and managing them. It’s about not letting your feelings rule you but keeping them under control.
Internal Motivation –If your EI is high, you will be extremely productive and enjoy a challenge. You are more likely to be effective in your job and committed to doing anything you tackle as well as you possibly can.
Self- regulation. Taking control of extreme emotions such as jealousy or anger means recognising this is how you feel and thinking before you act. This avoids the mistakes and conflict that can happen when judgements and decisions are made in the heat of the moment.
Empathy – Honest and open yourself, you understand the needs of others and can identify with them. You can accept different viewpoints and avoid stereotyping others, steering clear of discrimination or hasty judgement.
Social skills – Finally, leaders with good EI are team players. You don’t just concentrate on your own path, but actively help others develop and achieve their personal goals. An excellent communicator, you will be good at managing dispute, and building and maintaining relationships across the workplace. This, in turn, will create an exceptional office culture where individuals want to work and progress their finance career.
What is EI in the Workplace?
We all have ‘off’ days.
But one person’s moodiness can soon start a chain reaction across the workplace and cause a feeling of negativity very quickly if it is not dealt with appropriately. How you, as a finance leader, manage emotions in the workplace is a good indication of your EI and can make the difference between a calm and productive team, and one that is fragmented and unhappy.
Say your Purchase Ledger Manager has come to work and is particularly moody one morning.
Not noticing their mood, or even worse, ignoring it, won’t make it go away. In fact, it‘s more likely to increase a bad mood as the individual will begin to feel ignored; that their feelings don’t count.
Similarly, unhelpful calls to ‘snap out of it’ are unlikely to achieve beneficial results. None of us enjoys being on the receiving end of unhelpful comments such as this.
The best thing you can do, as a leader expressing good EI, is to first acknowledge their mood and offer empathy and understanding. You could try to cheer them up or distract them, or just give them your time and space to talk it out. This way, your team member will be listened to and valued.
Also, to quote the old saying, a problem shared a problem halved – they may feel better having talked about whatever is bothering them.
Another example of the use of high EI often occurs in meetings. We’ve all been in those meetings that get a little heated, shall we say.
Maybe your Finance Project Accountant starts off voicing their opinions and not listening to anyone else; it soon becomes a crescendo of noise and eventually a heated argument.
As a good leader with high EI skills, you allow the others to have a say, and listen attentively, but then bring the meeting back on track.
This way, you have given individuals a chance to be heard and have their point of view acknowledged. Again, this creates a feeling of being respected in the workplace and helps establish a harmonious culture where individuals believe they can have their say, be listened to, and appreciated for their opinion.
It also allows your colleagues to talk openly and not bottle things up, which can lead to conflict and low morale.
Motivating Your Finance Team
Teams who have a leader with high EI are also likely to be highly motivated – you can communicate your vision and help build a great finance team.
Excellent communication skills will also allow you to better prepare your team for change and manage stressful situations. High EI will enable you to recognise the needs of others and respond appropriately.
For example, recognising that your Purchase Ledger Assistant needs more flexible working hours to juggle a family, or installing software that enables your finance team to work smarter, not harder.
As a leader with EI, your understanding of others will also encourage your finance team to think outside the box without fear of ridicule. This can help give them the freedom to be creative and develop new ideas which can lead to innovation within the business, helping you get ahead of the competition.
Overall, a leader with good EI establishes a team with higher job satisfaction and emotional stability. Ability to handle your own emotions will give you a higher tolerance for stress and avoid burn-out. It will enable you to empathise with others, combine emotion with reasoning and express yourself in a positive and controlled way.
As a result, your working relationships will improve and prosper; you will be seen as an inspirational and approachable team leader and as such, your team will not only respect you but like you as an individual.
I hope you enjoyed this look into emotional intelligence in the workplace. It’s an important topic to understand and embrace for finance professionals at all levels, and critical for leaders.
In addition to creating a better workplace culture and encouraging your staff, understanding your own emotions and recognising them so you can work in a better way can only be advantageous to your finance business, in the long run, helping you build a better employer brand and achieve your business goals.
About Rebus Financial Recruitment
Rebus Financial Recruitment provides a specialist and focused recruitment service to its customers, which historically range from a wide variety of organisations including SME’s to large PLCs.
We strive to offer both the client and candidate a seamless recruitment experience. Using our expertise, we get to the heart of employer and employee needs; and, in doing so, we match the two perfectly. To find out more, get in contact with one of our team today, or you can call us on 01282 930930.