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Rather than dislike of the job or the salary, a bad relationship with the boss is most likely to result in employees quitting.

This has been confirmed in global Gallup workplace studies that found that the calibre of the boss was the primary reason for people staying or leaving their jobs.

So why are some leaders able to motivate and inspire people around them while others seem to merely go through the motions?

Where skills, experience, and education levels are equal, something still separates a top leader from a run-of-the-mill manager. What is it?

Could it be the ability to get the best out of others? By understanding them and building closer relationships with them?

The ability to build close relationships is almost impossible without well-developed emotional intelligence (often termed ‘EQ’):

EQ is a measure of a person’s ability to understand his or her own emotions and those of other people; and to use this intelligence to guide their thinking and behaviour.

While working on your emotional intelligence essentially starts as an’ inward journey’, the results are always felt by those around you. It begins with developing more self-awareness and self-management and flows outwards to others in the form of greater social awareness.

Put simply, the knowledge you build of your own emotions helps you to understand and empathise with others better. This is the foundation for forming closer bonds and building stronger relationships.

Ten aspects of EQ in particular will help you to improve relationships in the workplace…

1. Enhanced communication skills

Part of working on your EQ usually means improving listening skills; this is the first step in developing the ability to send clear, credible, and convincing messages to other people. In turn, it will help with setting expectations, giving and receiving feedback, and communicating your intentions with greater clarity.

2. Improved interpersonal effectiveness

The more attuned you are to the needs of others, the closer you become to them emotionally. Compassion and sensitivity to other people is a vital foundation for building strong relationships. As well as helping to put others at ease, it builds rapport and helps you act tactfully in ‘delicate’ situations.

3. Greater influencing skills

A natural ‘spin off’ from improving communication and interpersonal effectiveness is a greater ability to influence others. Persuading and convincing others becomes easier when you understand their needs and are able to speak clearly with them. Just remember that there is a fine line between persuasion and manipulation that must not be crossed.

4. Better conflict management skills

If you can effectively negotiate and resolve disagreements, your behaviour is less likely to lead to damaging and lasting relationship breakdowns. The ability to step into someone else’s shoes and empathise with their standpoint is an important aspect of emotional intelligence and helps top leaders mediate in difficult situations

5. Being the face of change

People look to their leaders in times of change. They want to feel that they are part of the change and that it will work to their benefit. Emotionally intelligent individuals don’t only have the agility to anticipate and respond to changing conditions; they are able to initiate, manage, and lead change in their teams, bringing new opportunities to the table.

6. Managing stress better

Emotional intelligence helps with stress management. This makes individuals less likely to make rash decisions, snap judgments, and to lash out with throwaway remarks. The ability to work calmly under pressure and to keep disruptive emotions and impulses in check helps avoid potential damage to workplace relationships.

7. Building closer bonds

Recognising and understanding the role of emotions in human thinking and behaviour helps build closer relational bonds between people. Individuals begin to connect with each other on a deeper level and are more likely to go beyond the purely superficial. This cultivates a wider working environment of closer relationships.

8. Better teamwork & collaboration

A leader will be judged on the performance of his team. By nurturing closer bonds between team members, they begin working closer together towards shared, collective goals and group synergy is created. This improves teamwork and collaboration, in turn improving relationships.

9. Ability to coach and mentor others

Emotionally intelligent leaders are able to sense other people’s potential. They also seek open feedback. In combination, this helps to uncover team members’ developmental needs: by coaching and mentoring them towards improving these needs, stronger relationships are developed in the workplace.

10. Building greater trust & integrity

Part of establishing close bonds with people is being trustworthy and ethical when working with them; emotional intelligence helps to build this trust and places importance on maintaining high standards of integrity and honesty. Emotionally intelligent people live their values and lead by example.

Inspirational leadership comes in many forms but the ability to build relationships is common to virtually all of them.

Guiding and motivating others and articulating a clear, compelling vision for the future requires all of the above elements – and comes to most leaders by working on their emotional intelligence.

Start with growing your self-awareness and expand outwards towards others.