Why Emotional Intelligence in a Manager Is So Important

What is your Senior and Mid-Management recruitment strategy?

  • Does it involve poaching managers from your competition?
  • Do you recruit from within?
  • Perhaps you screen resumes for overall professional success?
  • Do you recruit college graduates with impressive intellects and cutting edge technical skills?
  • Do you go after candidates with the highest IQs or highest Wonderlic scores?
  • Maybe you simply hire by instinct the person you like the most and believe will perform best in the leadership role.
  • Does an individual’s emotional quotient ever influence your hiring decisions?

Emotional Intelligence Defined

In this article, we will explore the important role in which a person's emotional intelligence can and should play in the workplace.

Emotional intelligence basically pertains to one’s personal and social competence – how successfully a person manages themselves and others through self and social awareness. According to Daniel Goleman, an American psychologist, author and science journalist who helped to popularize emotional intelligence, the five key elements to it are self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy and social skills.

Robert K. Cooper defines emotional intelligence as “the ability to sense, understand, and effectively apply the power and acumen of emotions as a source of human energy, information, connection, and influence.”
emotional intelligence - image of light bulb & brain in 2 heads

For just a moment, consider your top employees. Who is the best? The most trusted and respected? The one with the most overall success? It will more than likely be the one who has a high emotional quotient, and it may be a woman rather than a man. Ladies tend to be extremely aware of their shortcomings and often try to control and correct them. Many women also convey empathy quite well, and these are just a few reasons why management teams need not only men but also women as leaders inside their companies.

Do you measure your candidates’ emotional intelligence? If you are not currently in the habit of doing this, you may be out of the loop regarding what experts have to say about the potential regarding individuals with a high emotional quotient.

What are the potential advantages of hiring managers with a high emotional quotient?

happy and engaged employees
  • Leaders will have greater control over their emotions.
  • Employer/Employee relations will improve as managerial skills such as effective communication and empathy work their magic.
  • Leadership will see positive changes in both engagement and production among staff.
  • Employees will experience an emotionally healthier and more satisfying work experience.
  • The work culture will become more inspirational as employees work together successfully towards common goals.

According to Laura Wilcox, the director of management programs at Harvard, emotional intelligence is much more than a “soft” skill. Having a high emotional quotient is kind of like a booster shot for an individual who already possesses the strong intellectual and impressive technical skills for which hiring managers are competing. 

High EI enables men and women to become better managers. Daniel Goleman believes that 90% of the differences which exist between star and average candidates are related to the emotional quotient of the person.

respect between employees - a handshake

Emotionally intelligent leaders practice self-awareness and self-management. Furthermore, they practice social awareness and excel in relationship management. While emotional intelligence may be somewhat of a natural skill, it is also a skill which can be learned, honed and perfected.

Managers such as these can help build the important foundation of trust, respect and positive attitudes among their staff. Employees want to be valued and respected, yet research conducted by TalentSmart revealed that 85% of business people do not “feel” that they are valued and respected by management. And according to an article from Harvard Business Review, this could be because most senior executives lack empathy.

However, because of their social awareness, emotionally intelligent managers can pave the way for smoother, more comfortable and friendlier conversation with their team members. They will be successful in helping those employees “feel” that they are valued and respected. When an employee feels valued, they automatically become more engaged with the company’s goals and objectives.

When true concern and respect are involved, the work employees do for the company and its managers becomes more personal. Both the relationships and the work matter – a lot – because the way in which the manager engaged with the worker was genuine.

“Authenticity requires a certain measure of vulnerability, transparency, and integrity.”              – Janet Louise Stephenson

According to Aubrey Daniels International, discretionary effort is the level of effort people could give if they wanted to, but above and beyond the minimum required. Do your current executives and managers inspire “discretionary effort”? If they do not, your business may possess as-yet untapped potential increases in engagement, production and company morale.

As stated above, emotional intelligence is not a mere soft skill, it’s a game-changing skill for which you should be screening both your employees and best job candidates.

Consider these quotes and statistics from Inc.com regarding emotional intelligence:

emotional and irritated coworkers
  • 75% of careers are derailed for reasons related to emotional competencies, including inability to handle interpersonal problems; unsatisfactory team leadership during times of difficulty or conflict; or inability to adapt to change or elicit trust. - Center for Creative Leadership
  • If your emotional abilities aren't in hand, if you don't have self-awareness, if you are not able to manage your distressing emotions, if you can't have empathy and have effective relationships, then no matter how smart you are, you are not going to get very far. - Daniel Goleman
  • In my 35 years in business, I have always trusted my emotions. I have always believed that by touching emotion you get the best people to work with you, the best clients to inspire you, the best partners and most devoted customers. - Kevin Roberts
  • Emotional intelligence is a way of recognizing, understanding, and choosing how we think, feel, and act. It shapes our interactions with others and our understanding of ourselves. It defines how and what we learn; it allows us to set priorities; it determines the majority of our daily actions. Research suggests it is responsible for as much as 80 percent of the "success" in our lives. - J. Freedman

What steps should a hiring manager take next?

ladder of success - learning, training, instruction, practice
  • Find a way to assess your employees’ and your job candidates’ emotional quotient. We use TTI Success Insights for all our behavioral assessments. Brannon Professionals also has its own Value-Added Associate on staff who is available to consult with hiring managers on the EQ assessments and follow-up reports.
  • Once you have a solid understanding of emotional intelligence and its effects in the workplace, begin training with your managers. Our consultant, Mark Brannon, may be available to provide this training.
  • Employees would also benefit from different aspects of EI training.
  • Incorporate EI practices into the company’s routines and strategies.
  • Measure increases and changes in engagement, productivity and morale.
  • Enjoy the success that EI will begin to usher into your business.

If you have additional questions about emotional intelligence or TTI Success Insights’ EQ assessment, please contact Brannon Professionals at your convenience.

How to Find a Quality and Trustworthy Staffing Partner

business management rainbow colored sign

Operating your own business is exhilarating; yet, it can be a demanding job as well. One of the more challenging tasks is finding suitable employees. Hiring the wrong person can devastate the company culture. Besides, it is never fun to fire someone. All the many hours that go into preparing the job listing, reviewing resumes, and conducting interviews seem wasted when you make the wrong choice.

How can employers ensure they get the right employee the first time and avoid wasting time? Some business owners have discovered the value of a staffing partner in meeting their hiring needs. However, how can you be sure you partner with the right agency?

Here are 7 things to look for in your search for a quality and trustworthy staffing partner:

how to find quality - figure with magnifying glass

1. Open communication

One necessary criterion for beginning any relationship is having good communication. You want the agency to be interested in your business and your needs and not just be looking for another client. They should be asking you questions that delve deep into your business.

3 question marks

Potential questions may include:

  • What is the nature of your business?
  • What organizational values are most important to the company and its associates?
  • What quality do you value the most among your current employees?
  • What is the primary thing we can do to help alleviate the stress you are currently experiencing as hiring manager?

You want to be open and willing to share what your priorities are whether it be customer service experience, strong problem-solving aptitude, excellent computer skills, quick turnaround, or simply overall quality employees with integrity and a solid work ethic. Any insight you are willing to share will be vitally important to the potential success of the partnership. 

   If you are looking for a strong staffing partner, consider  Brannon Professionals .

If you are looking for a strong staffing partner, consider Brannon Professionals.

2. Will be a partner to your business

You do not just want to hire a business - you want a partner in business. There is a difference between the two. A partner will be looking out for the long-term relationship and therefore will encourage your trust. You will likely get to meet the owner of the business. The partner will be interested in your financial situation and willing to negotiate as needed.

3. Works with a broad scope of job fields

Some staffing agencies work with a limited number of industries and fields. This may work if you happen to be looking for someone in that field, but what if you need additional help in the future. You want a staffing agency that can fulfill a broad variety of job positions. 

   You can learn more about Brannon Professionals' value-added services by contacting us at 662-349-9194 or by visiting our  website .

You can learn more about Brannon Professionals' value-added services by contacting us at 662-349-9194 or by visiting our website.

4. Offers value-added services

Find out whether the agency you are considering offers extra services. Finding you the best candidate may require more than simply looking in a database. For example, some staffing agencies provide background checks, behavioral assessments, skills testing, training, and more. These added services are like bonus extras without the price tag.

5. Includes an Acceptable “Return Policy”

100 percent satisfaction guaranteed

It is important to know upfront what the agency’s policy is regarding employees who don’t work out. Does the agency offer any compensation or provide a satisfaction guarantee? Is the direct hire fee reimbursable under certain circumstances? What if the employee you hire through the agency moves after only being on the job a month? These are important questions to have answered before moving forward. 

6. Has an impeccable reputation

You want a company that has a superior reputation built on years of experience and good past relationships. Obviously, an agency without a good reputation is risky. As stated earlier, you are building a relationship with this new partner. You want a trustworthy agency, so here are a few ways to check out staffing companies and their reputations.

social media on cell phone and laptop
  • Learn more about the owner/manager. Visit their social media accounts such as LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter. 
  • Check out posts, blogs, comments and company reviews for further insights about the company.
  • Look at their website for awards and testimonials or ask for a business reference.
  • Ask around the community. Contact the local Chamber of Commerce or Economic Council.

7. Locally owned

   Brannon Professionals has served North Mississippi, Memphis, Tennessee, and the surrounding areas for over 20 years.

Brannon Professionals has served North Mississippi, Memphis, Tennessee, and the surrounding areas for over 20 years.

While some companies may opt for more nationally-known agencies, there are advantages to conducting business with a locally owned and operated company. For one, community residents will likely know them. Also, sometimes privately owned agencies have more flexibility when negotiating fees. Next, you can visit the location if you ever have a problem, question or just want to stop by. Finally, investing in a locally-owned business is investing in your own community.

At BRANNON PROFESSIONALS, we strive to develop partnerships with our clients that will last for decades, not mere months. If you are considering partnering with a staffing agency, please allow us the opportunity to serve you and your business.

Leading with Compassion in the Workplace

The Need for Compassion

Is compassion needed in the world? In the workplace? In your home? In your relationships? 


Yes, yes, yes, and yes! Financial worries, relationship issues, loss of any kind, stress – all these can lead to serious and detrimental results on the job, not to mention one's health. You know and understand that compassion is always needed. But one must ask, “What forms of compassion - in the workplace, specifically - are acceptable?”

The question has been posed, so let’s attempt an answer to it - starting with a definition of compassion and why simple awareness of others' needs or struggles is so important.

What Is Compassion?

   According to Jean Piaget (1896-1980), ‘Intelligence is not what one knows, but what one does when one does not know’.

According to Jean Piaget (1896-1980), ‘Intelligence is not what one knows, but what one does when one does not know’.

Merriam-Webster defines compassion as sympathetic consciousness of others' distress together with a desire to alleviate it. Google’s dictionary offers the following as synonyms for compassion: pity, sympathy, empathy, care, concern, sensitivity, warmth, love, tenderness, mercy, leniency, tolerance, and kindness.

Awareness of Others

When we are aware of others' distress, it reveals our emotional intelligence (EI), and a person with high EI should be able to work successfully with people facing stressful and difficult situations. Why? Because they tend to be somewhat intuitive about others' feelings or moods as well as both focused and effective in their responses. Not surprisingly, they are also known for tackling problems and pondering solutions rather than merely offering sympathy and concentrating only on the problem itself.

Yet sometimes, it is in the mere acknowledgment of another person's feelings or obvious emotional turmoil whereby compassion is best expressed. In the workplace, we shouldn't cross the acceptable personal line of voiced concern for our coworkers to the private line of questioning unless there is a mutual trust and willingness to open up.

The Practice of Compassion

However, the question remains, "How should compassion play out in the workplace?" The simple answer is this: kindness and compassion toward others is a great thing. The complexity of the answer lies in this statement: kindness is always a great thing - yet the way it can play out is not always necessarily the desired outcome. Maybe the timing is wrong, maybe emotions are off the charts, maybe . . . any number of reasons.

the beauty of kindness

Need an example or two? While a listening ear and a compassionate word are usually well-received, that is not always the case.

If I am on the verge of tears at work or in any public place, although it may be the thing I need, a kind word or hug could usher in a flood of tears and loud sobbing.

My own daughter does not wish for blatant sympathy when she is dealing with certain unfortunate circumstances, no matter how honorable my intentions are in regard to empathizing with her. She simply prefers to move on with life, even if the sadness creeps in and takes over periodically. She sees no need to rehash the sadness aloud. If I insist on talking about "it", even as a mom, I've crossed a line in my expression of compassion (with her).

We would also do well to remember that anger is one of the stages of grief. If a coworker is going through a great loss, we may be exposed not only to their sadness but also to their hostility and irritability. There is no easy cure for grief, and if it spirals out of control during office hours, it may be time to recommend a grief counselor. However, you never know how an employee will respond to that recommendation either, especially if they are already upset or angry at the world.

As much as possible, be intuitive and sensitive rather than careless with your words and actions in the workplace. Asking if a person in crisis wants to talk about "it" is always a direct way of conveying your concern to a coworker. Letting them know your availability to talk when they are ready is another option. Whatever you say, keep it simple. Limit your words but not necessarily your sympathy. Allow the person to focus on work rather than on the crisis if it's not an appropriate time to talk. 

The Extent of Compassion in the Office

How far should you take compassion in the workplace? Honestly, my best answer is to take it as far as you must in order to meet the need. You’ve heard the stories of business owners who have gone to extreme lengths by providing cars or even homes for their employees who found themselves in dire situations.

Perhaps you’re also acquainted with employees who have willingly shared some of their paid time off with fellow employees who were struggling with cancer or some other diagnosis requiring them to be out of the office for long periods of time.

On the other hand, maybe you’ve been micromanaged by bosses who go strictly by the book and fail to show compassion no matter how difficult a situation an employee finds him/herself in.

challenging & stressful work - lady feels pressure from every direction

It’s true. Working in a corporate environment generally requires a strict accounting of hours worked, lunch hours and paid time off, but does that mean compassion cannot abound? Absolutely not, especially when employees find themselves in extraordinary circumstances.

While disproportionate amounts of flexibility directed toward a few individual employees would most likely be called into question, typical acts of sincere kindness, generosity and flexibility should not be. Direct managers should be provided with company guidelines on how to handle such situations. 

The What-Ifs That Stir Our Compassion

disaster spelled with Scrabble tiles

Literally, what if there is a natural disaster such as a hurricane, earthquake, tornado or fire that impacts your staff and they need an advance on their next paycheck? What if your employee has no means of transportation to a parent’s funeral? What if a close family member or a beloved pet dies, and the employee has no more PTO remaining? What if a judge requires one of your staff members to appear in court daily throughout an entire month?

As a business owner or HR Manager, it is wise to have a contingency plan for responding to these what-if scenarios.

The Look of Workplace Compassion

Unfortunately, it is true that employees can push the envelope of expectation and entitlement, so we have these questions to consider: 

  • How much flexibility should you allow a struggling employee?
  • How much compassion in the form of "tangible help" should an employer offer, if any?
  • Is your Human Resource department one which promotes kindness, giving, flexibility, and loyalty toward its people, especially during stressful situations or natural disasters that company employees may find themselves a part of?

Some may say that this is why their company provides vacation time and personal days for employees. Nevertheless, sometimes more is needed.

help (in ALL CAPS)

Below are a few ideas regarding compassion directed toward employees:

  • You can always express a word of sympathy and sincere concern for others’ losses and difficulties in life – and probably should in most cases.
  • If you have been through a similar situation, remember the reality of your struggle, and show empathy.
  • Sometimes employers don’t fully realize it, but showing compassion is not against the law -- favoritism is what you should be careful of. Showing sensitivity and a little flexibility is displaying kindness. However, all managers should respond similarly to any known struggle of their employees and understand both how and when it is appropriate (or not) to intervene.
  • Managers and co-workers must remember that outright pity is something which many people do not desire. It is also difficult for many people to accept "charity", so be mindful of others' feelings.
  • Should you ever sponsor a GoFundMe page for an employee or one of their family members? Maybe so.
  • Should you ever advance a paycheck or extra cash to your employees? Maybe so.
  • Should you ever grant an unpaid leave of absence? Perhaps. Maybe your company needs to develop a sabbatical type of program detailing the situations in which an employee might be granted unpaid leave.
  • In all expressions of compassion, exercise wisdom and caution in regard to both your words and actions.
   Here’s a good - though sometimes costly - rule of thumb: If it is in your power to do good, then you should.

Here’s a good - though sometimes costly - rule of thumb: If it is in your power to do good, then you should.

The good you do may take the form of a sympathy card, a plant, paid time off, a flexible schedule, and maybe even time off without pay. It may also be providing counseling, support in conquering a bad habit, accountability, the opportunity to make up for a mistake, or forgiveness. Kindness may involve a few employees showing up after hours to assist a struggling employee with some challenging task, simply taking the time to listen, or even donating to a worthy cause. Perhaps the employee just needs you to bear with them for a time, then re-evaluate the situation.

A Story of Workplace Compassion

I love this story from a now-retired HR Manager: There was a long-time employee causing his boss and coworkers lots of grief with his moody disposition, rude behavior, and negative attitude during the work day. In previous years, this man had been a great employee, but that was no longer the case. The HR manager had a heart-to-heart talk with the employee about his behavior. In turn, he chose to share some of his situation with her. However, the situation he was facing did not change the fact that he had to find a way to improve his attitude and behavior toward others. She was sympathetic (and wise), so instead of firing him, the HR manager told the man to take a few weeks off (paid!) so he could try to remember why he took the job to begin with and to reconsider all its benefits. He did take some time off, and when he returned, all was well once again and (to my knowledge) stayed that way.

conversation between two professional figures

What I appreciate most about this case scenario is that the HR Manager addressed the problem directly with the employee and didn’t skirt around the issue. He was going to lose his job if his attitude didn’t improve in a big way. She remembered that the costs associated with losing and hiring a new employee are just that . . . costly! Was her gamble with the employee (a.k.a. compassion) worth an extra $1,000 or $2,000? Absolutely! The company held on to a great employee who was simply going through a crisis and needed some time to refocus. She was happy with the outcome, and so was the employee. I can assure you that the “compassionate accountability” she required of him will never be forgotten.

Leading With Compassion

the trust factor in the workplace

Walking with employees through the ups and downs of life can be costly, but worth every penny when you see them come through those valleys successfully. As far as building loyalty and trust among your employees - wow! There may not even be a need for fancy employee engagement or retention strategies when you practice kindness and moral support. So, invest in your people today and see what leading with a little compassion can do for employee engagement and retention at your place of business.

For more information about Brannon Professionals and its staffing/consulting services, CLICK HERE.

12 Interesting Insights About Millennials and the Up & Coming Gen Z-ers

millennial man in glasses

Millennials and Gen Z-ers . . . everyone wants to know and understand these generations better.

  • How to attract, engage, interview, learn from, work with, train, and retain them.
  • How to understand their experience, their expectations, and their strengths as well as their shortcomings.
  • Finally, how to best capitalize on their extraordinary skill with digital technology and heartfelt desire to be the change that this world needs.

We hope the following insights will help you plan for the future as Millennials and Gen Z-ers make up greater and greater percentages of the overall workforce in America.

Insight #1

The Age Range of Generations Y and Z

The current age range of Millennials or Generation Y is between 20 and 35. Following them is Generation Z with ages ranging from 2 to 19.

Insight #2

digital technology items on work desk

Their Experience with Digital Technology

They tend to work at a very fast pace when it comes to technology, and they are a quick-study when it comes to new technology. They want and even prefer a digital experience. It is their comfort zone, and most older generations could learn much from them in this regard.

Insight #3

The Purpose of Transparent Leadership & an Open Work Environment

open work / office environment - 3 workers

Have you ever thought about transparency as a teaching tool? Millennials have an appreciation for an open work environment which serves as a learning tool as they watch leadership in action. Company purpose, values, and end goals take on a whole different level of meaning as the energy, inspiration and rationale behind the decision-making process play out directly in front of the entire team.

Insight #4

puzzle piece missing representing skills gap

The Supposed Skills Gap

Some people report a skills gap among millennials, but members of this generation have and are making careers out of their unique skill-sets and deep-seated passions. Furthermore, they possess the technological skills to overcome any perceived gap regarding their skill-set.

Insight #5

The Ever-Sought-After Work/Life Balance

work at home millennial

Working remotely may interest a few millennials; however, it is more of a fluid type of schedule that they desire – one in which they can move back and forth between the office, home, and personal business all day and evenings too.

Flextime is a huge perk! What if your top employees were allowed to work from home one day each week?

Insight #6

The Opportunity to Learn & Grow

These generations like to learn, so professional development opportunities such as night or online classes (even training on the extensive uses of LinkedIn), conferences, and the chance to invest in business-related books should abound.

A Few Suggestions: Reimburse employees for yearly training expenses up to one week's salary. Also reimburse them for any associated traveling expenses up to one week’s salary. Managers should keep up with what their employees are learning and utilize those skills as often as possible. Furthermore, why not share the specifics with everyone in the company? It's an excellent way to brag on your employees for their accomplishments and to effectively, albeit briefly, place them in the spotlight.

training and development

Insight #7

The Value of Networking and Mentoring

Create networking opportunities through brown bag lunches and mentorship programs. Reverse mentoring is also a great thing as these methods of networking help improve company-wide collaborative initiatives and can enhance peer engagement.


You can make mentorship opportunities more prestigious by making them “by-invitation or by-application only” and by involving senior management in this learning process. Depending on the transparency and humility of those in leadership, some 2-sided learning might even occur. And try not to place the responsibility all on one party. Instead, conduct 6-month or 1-year long mentorships, and imitate BNY Mellon, a Boston-based wealth management powerhouse. That is, allow the mentee to work several different types of jobs during the mentorship: a) working with clients; b) in operations; and c) in a back-end role such as accounting or administration.

Insight #8

The Unique Benefits & Purposes of Internships

teamwork at computer with intern

Improve your employer branding (image) and attract more members of Gen Y and Z by offering 1 to 3-month long internship opportunities to college students. Where is your greatest need? Which departments can barely meet the deadlines set before it? Where is your overtime coming from? Which manager is overwhelmed? Hire interns for these departments.

Insight #9

The Correlation Between Instant Gratification & Successful Outcomes

The desire for instant gratification that millennials are much berated for can translate into the desire for successful outcomes in the workplace. So, it is best when management provides these generations with a deep understanding of their role and the potential impact that a “job well done” will have upon the overall business. In this way, Gen’s Y and Z will find satisfaction as they achieve the “desired outcomes” which managers have set before them as goals.

Insight #10

The Risky ROI . . . Managed

ROI image - stacked coins and clock

Some hiring managers firmly believe that millennials lack loyalty and that the potential return on their investment (ROI) is risky at best. However, some of that supposed lack could be better managed by doing these 3 things:

  • Invest in the personal growth and career development of your employees. Even go so far as to conduct employee evaluations for recent graduates every six months rather than every year or two and give at least one opportunity for a promotion if possible. The goal is to build trust and loyalty.
  • Challenge them to strive toward success in meeting all their short and long-term goals.
  • Encourage them to feel good about the individual successes they achieve along the way.

Insight #11

be the change in our world - 3 figures giving high five

The Merging of Enthusiasm & Excellence

These generations possess energy and enthusiasm, especially over what they find interesting and/or challenging to them personally. They want to “be the change” and possess both the knowledge and skills to be the force behind new innovations. Build the overall excellence factor, especially regarding professional etiquette and communication skills, and they will be well on their way.

Insight #12

The Construct of a Good Citizen in a Needy Community

2 volunteers talking a selfie

Build good corporate citizens through volunteer work with charities, especially those providing educational opportunities for young people. It may be a daycare that is interested in improving the services it offers children. It may be a non-profit that provides computer training. It may be a mission that simply needs more donations to support their cause - and consider matching your employees’ donations, dollar for dollar.


For even more interesting insights regarding Millennials, check out these related Brannon Professionals' articles:

  • How to Better Understand the Mindset & Motivation of Millennials - Click HERE
  • How to Successfully Interview a Millennial - Click HERE
  • What to Expect from Millennials in the Workforce - Click HERE
  • Millennial Recruiting and Retention Strategies - Click HERE





How to Become an Emotionally Intelligent Leader

Emotional Intelligence (EQ or EI) is a label that was created by Peter Salavoy and John Mayer (both researchers) and then made popular by Dan Goleman in his book, Emotional Intelligence, 1996. EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE is much more than understanding how to be likable, sociable or sensitive. EI is the ability to "recognize, understand and manage" one's own emotions as well as the emotions of others.

Head - brain - emotional intelligence

According to Travis Bradberry, author and expert on EI, here's how emotional intelligence works:

"Unlike your IQ (intelligence quotient), your EQ (emotional quotient) is highly malleable. As you train your brain by repeatedly practicing new emotionally intelligent behaviors, it builds the pathways needed to make them into habits. As your brain reinforces the use of these new behaviors, the connections supporting old, destructive behaviors die off. Before long, you begin responding to your surroundings with emotional intelligence without even having to think about it." 

woman in conflict.jpg

As you work to improve your emotional intelligence (EI) and become a more effective and desirable manager, here are some specific behaviors and scenarios which may help you better understand EI and how it might play out in the workplace. The articles referred to below also offer several proofs or signs of emotional intelligence, and you will see some of these referred to in the examples I've set forth in this post.

13 Methods for Improving Your Emotional Intelligence in the Workplace

A) Acknowledge the part of any problem that is you. To be sure, you have strengths, but you also have weaknesses. We all do. Consider the time and attention you give to the individuals surrounding you in the office. When you do give them the time of day, are you honest with them? Do you convey genuine concern?

Do you care that everybody despises your bossy, arrogant and rude administrative assistant? Have you noticed that the new guy never has anything to say because he’s super shy and that everyone pretty much ignores him? Does it bother you that you told your accounting assistant that she can’t get a promotion because she has no degree, and that after completing her degree, your company still failed to promote her? Perhaps you weren't being completely honest and forthright when you told her that the lack of a degree was the only thing holding her back from a promotion. Maybe it's her absolute lack of professionalism that is the real issue.

Proof of EI: You recognize your strengths and weaknesses (Bradberry) and then actively engage in improving the areas where you fall short. You also recognize weakness in others and actively engage in helping them grow in their career. 

business people working.jpg

B) Look around at each employee. How do you label them? Is it with colorful descriptions behind their backs or as people with real value, feelings, goals and ideas? Stop with the stereotypes and get to know your staff.

The loud, funny lady who is such a joy is currently struggling to pay her bills. That’s why you sometimes catch her crying. The girl at the front desk is new, and she has some great organizational management ideas. But you’ll never know what they are because neither you nor anyone else in the office values her enough to spend time in conversation asking important, relevant questions. The new guy seemed nice during the interview process but now his attitude stinks. You don’t know why because you just ignore him. But by simply addressing the attitude, you might learn that he is offended because his office is beside the men’s bathroom. He was hired in at $90K and honestly feels that he deserves better.

Proof of EI: You are curious about people. (Bradberry) And you treat them in a respectful manner at all times. You are able to show empathy and understand the feelings of others. (Bariso)

C) Explore the true motives and feelings of your staff; don’t assume you know what they are all about.

If an employee is angry one day during work hours, don’t assume that it is because of you or a coworker. Perhaps it is due to a conflict with a friend or family member outside the office. But anger is something you can and should address with an employee because it affects others. Your employee isn’t obliged to share details with you, but they will need to manage that anger in an appropriate manner while at work.

Proof of EI: You are a good judge of character and motivations. (Bradberry) You also address problems in the workplace quickly and effectively.


D) You are either a motivator, building up your team, or a demotivator, constantly bringing them down with your attitude and rude demands. Which kind of leader are you?

Regardless of the money a person makes doing their job, their level of engagement with the job depends on much more than the salary. Having a manager and coworkers who are friendly and pleasant to work with is also a priority. Put yourself if your employees’ place. Would you enjoy working for you?

Proof of EI: You are genuinely liked and respected by your staff.

E) Observe attitudes, moods and stress levels because they usually reflect you and your leadership style to some degree, for better or worse.

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When you give a somewhat stern or undesirable directive, take the time to look around and notice anxiety levels and attitudes. Don’t keep silent but address the negative reactions. One on one is preferable unless the attitude is widespread. But you must take care not to single anyone out or carelessly dismiss what the general feeling / attitude is.

Proof of EI: You don't seek perfection, but you do seek understanding of others and their emotions. (Bradberry, Bariso)

F) Hold your temper and choose to listen to others. Practice holding your tongue and being patient and calm when unfortunate circumstances arise.  Be mindful of reactive expressions, careless words that attack others, mean-spirited behaviors, negative attitudes and quick, emotional decisions. Avoid them.

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When you are angry at a staff member for making a costly mistake or for mishandling a situation with a customer, wait at least 30 minutes before responding. Calm down, think about what you want to achieve and how to best to manage the situation, then make your move.

Proof of EI: You're able to let go of mistakes, both yours and others. (Bradberry)

G) Remember how you got where you are.


Why did you take this job originally? If you have been promoted, remember what it was you did that merited that promotion. Why are you a good leader? Or if you aren't, why not? Are you happy in this position? Happy in your personal life? Is it possible you are taking some of your unhappiness and stress out on your staff? If so, this is not right. Do all you can to correct the problem. And by all means, apologize.

Proof of EI: You won't let anyone (or anything) limit your joy. (Bradberry)

H) Learn how to be a better communicator.

Here’s a scenario for you to consider:

In the Accounting department of your firm, a new boss arrives. He is highly qualified and somewhat of a quiet leader, but friendly with an open-door policy. He is a supportive manager and assures his staff that he will always address any negative or concerning issues that crop up before he discusses them with others or makes any decisions based solely on the issue. He does just that, and good relations prevail. Both employees and managers are happy and engaged.

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In the Sales department, another new boss arrives. She is highly qualified and very direct. Perhaps a little threatening in the sense that you realize she will be looking closely at every person and position to see who/what is working well or not so well. So, the pressure to perform is high. Her tendency is to point out shortcomings without offering advice for improvement. And that's it, the warning shot. Many people leave, are fired, or get laid off as a result of her leadership and management style. This is worrisome and stressful to the remaining employees, many of whom choose to leave to avoid the same potential treatment.

As a manager, being tough and direct is a part of the job. However, in all of your acts of leadership, remember that kindness, honest conversation, wise and thoughtful decision-making, and a non-threatening leadership approach can also play a role in creating a happier, more effective and engaged worker not to mention a more successful business.

Proof of EI: You don't water down the truth (Murphy), but rather, you convey it with sincere care and concern for the person in front of you.

I) Learn how to praise and appreciate your employees.

When is the last time you said "thank you" to someone at work . . . for anything? Are you too busy? Too ungrateful? Too self-centered? Too distracted and stressed out?

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People want and need to feel valued. They need to hear their supervisors and managers give them credit where credit is due. Simple comments such as, “Good job!” or “Thank you!” can often do the trick but doing and saying more regarding specific tasks or projects is highly recommended.

Proof of EI: You give others the opportunity to shine, whether in the form of attention, appreciation, performance, or praise.

J) Learn how to resolve conflict. However, being willing to face the conflicts in an office is the first step towards becoming a problem solver.

You are a department manager with an office staff of ten. Many of your agents are out of the office daily, but not all. The ones who remain in the office are constantly exposed to the obnoxious behavior of the department’s secretary. Nobody enjoys working with her. She irritates and angers everyone, but no manager has ever been willing to call her out regarding her unprofessional behavior. She offends and hurts others’ feelings constantly. Whether they fear a lawsuit or are simply afraid of her, she has gotten by with that attitude for many years. As the new manager in the office, can your employees trust you to manage ALL your staff or just the ones who are easiest to manage?

Proof of EI: You understand how to manage conflict and you do it to help those involved as well as your department and the company as a whole. (MTCT, Bariso)

K) Be the type of decision maker whose choices are both well-informed and carefully considered.


Nobody wants a hothead or an impulsive manager. Slow down and be mindful; consider all your options. Seek out truth. Be sure your decisions are based on fact, not mere emotional reaction, gossip, or others' false perceptions of reality.

Proof of EI: You pause and slow down long enough to think logically before making any quick, irrational or highly emotional decisions. (Bariso, MTCT)

L) Recognize your values. Is your integrity in tact? Are you a manager worth emulating? Or do you compromise your values when it works to yours or the company’s advantage? Do you compromise your manners or professionalism when you find yourself annoyed and angry? Your employees are watching and will judge you accordingly.

When your company’s cash flow is lacking, do you lie to your creditors? Do you say that the check is in the mail when it absolutely isn’t? Do you speak to collectors in a rude manner? Do you deny others what is honestly owed to them? As managers, we are constantly setting the standard for dealing with challenging situations.

Proof of EI: You hold yourself accountable. (MTCT)

M) Talk with your employees. Engage in everyday conversation with them. Do not ignore them or fail to learn their names and a little about their lives.


Saying hello is good, but it’s really not enough. As busy as you may be, slow down periodically to join in a conversation, make a joke, or initiate a conversation. Your staff needs to know that you are more than a manager. You are person with life, family and fun times outside the office. Share a little of that with your employees. It’s a great way to show that you care and see them as more than mere hires to do your bidding.

Proof of EI: Your conversations with others are authentic. (Bariso)

The 5 Building Blocks of EI: Self-Awareness, Self-Regulation, Motivation, Empathy, and Social Skills

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These are just a few of the myriad signs of high emotional intelligence among leaders in the workplace.

SELF-AWARENESS: Being aware of your emotions as well as those of the people around you is advantageous to a leader.

SELF-CONTROL: Yet learning how to control or regulate those emotions is even more impressive and helpful, especially when working with a socially and emotionally diverse group of folks.

MOTIVATION: Staying motivated as a leader and manager of others is also helpful in maintaining that positive, hopeful outlook which is so important for us as human beings.


EMPATHY: As to empathy in a leader, it's imperative. According to the Mind Tools' Content Team, "Leaders with empathy have the ability to put themselves in someone else's situation. They help develop the people on their team, challenge others who are acting unfairly, give constructive feedback, and listen to those who need it."

SOCIAL SKILLS: Finally, developing one's social skills can make a tremendous difference to those within your circle of influence leading to better communication with employees, feedback that builds trust, and less conflict in the office. Who could ask for much more from a manager? (MTCT)

To learn more about emotional intelligence or to discover what your level of EI is based on assessment, contact Brannon Professionals, an authorized provider of TTI Success Insights' assessments for over 15 years.