Q&A with Renée: emotional intelligence

Accredited associate coach and professional speaker, facilitator and trainer Renée Giarrusso answers your questions on communication, motivation mindset and leadership.

Q: I’ve been focusing on transferring emotional intelligence and motivation to my team. What are your tips?

Ben, State Sales Manager, FMCG

A great question and one I get asked very often as emotional intelligence, or EI, is imperative in any role, team and organisation.

EI, also known as emotional quotient or EQ, is simply the ability to recognise one’s own emotions and those of others, and to be able to manage them.

Seventy-one per cent of hiring managers now hire for EQ over IQ, so this clearly demonstrates its importance.

First thing first – ensure your awareness of self and others is high.

If you want to be leading and assisting in increasing EI, you need to lead by example. Really master your conflict management, emotional control and social awareness so you’re not just aware and managing your emotions, but also understanding that of others and demonstrating this, day to day, to your team and those around you.

I really believe you can, as a leader, create the necessary conditions in which team members can develop their EI, but each member of the team needs to take ownership of this.

There’s an analogy that says, ‘A piano student can be taught to play Minuet in G, but he won’t become a modern-day Bach without knowing music theory and being able to play with heart.’

There needs to be trust within the team and in you, and a feeling of group efficacy – in other words, the team’s perceived capability to perform.

When there is EI as a team, it’s all about the small acts that make a difference.

A few key tips:

1. Create team norms

These are basically relationship guidelines that can be agreed as a team and after time will be followed at a subconscious level. The actual identifying, agreeing and getting buy in to these norms.

A great framework to create team norms:

  • Look at what successful norms are already in place, based on your experience as a team. Ensure this link to your current team values.
  • Turn the norms into behaviours. An example could be as simple as acknowledging each other with a ‘thank you’ when tasks are met, and sharing the process of what worked in order to foster an open environment to share best practice.
  • Create a plan to ensure accountability is bring shared across the team.

2. Identify and satisfy team strengths and weaknesses

Take the time to know and grow your team. I ask every leader I work with, “What are each person’s top three strengths and three areas to improve in your team?”

Don’t over-complicate this, simply:

  • Ask, identify, understand and help drive.
  • Make sure everyone shares what their strength is and one area they’re looking to change or do differently.
  • Leverage diversity in the team by each sharing (including you).

3. Let your team have a voice

Creating a safe and open environment opens the space for all members consistently sharing their thoughts. Google recently identified emotional security at work as one of the top traits of high-performing teams.

Look at ways to ensure all team members get to voice not only achievements, but also the challenges and mistakes they make, and the lesson learnt. This is within the team and across divisions.

Be creative in the ways you ensure every person has a voice.

Keep in mind EI is not all about just having harmony, happiness and no tension. Rather, it’s more about acknowledging when harmony is fake, tension is supressed, and treating others with respect.

Do you have a question for Renée?

Email [email protected] or reach out to Renée on social media. Each month a question will be answered and advice given on communication, motivation and leadership.

About Renée Giarrusso

Passionate about helping people reach their full potential, Renée works with leaders, businesses and their teams to take their communication, leadership, mindset, motivation and performance to the next level.

With over 15 years in senior leadership and sales roles she has a high level of experience in leading teams and understands what it takes to lead a high performing collaborative team and business to success.

Leaving the corporate world 12 years ago Renée founded RG Dynamics, which has attracted thousands of clients from over 24 industries to date. Some of her clients include: GS1 Australia, Openpay, Metricon Homes, Ernest Young, Intrax Engineersing, Snackbrands, Tip Top, Don KRC, William Adams, and Intrax Engineering.

Renée published her first book Limitless Leadership –  A Guide to Leading from the Inside Out in 2016 and has recently co-authored a new book Leaders of Influence, with her third book underway.

Visit www.reneegiarrusso.com

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