The Role of Management in Developing EI and Soft Skills

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Emotional Intelligence > Best Practices > The Role of Management in Developing EI and Soft Skills

The Role of Management in Developing EI and Soft Skills
Aries Musnandar, HR Consultant, Indonesia, Member
Previously, IQ and/or knowledge was seen by many as the main factor determining individual success, however, this paradigm is shifting to EI and/or soft skills. An employee with good EI/soft skills is regarded as a valuable contributor to the sustainability of the business. Recruiting departments are now working with techniques to identify soft skills of prospective employees. And many soft skill trainings are conducted in companies for employees.

In his book "Working with Emotional Intelligence", Goleman said that management should avoid following conditions in order not to hinder the development of good soft skills of people:
  1. Work overload (many tasks and little support);
  2. Lack of autonomy (rigid regulation and new things are not accepted);
  3. Skimpy rewards (small amount of compensation but plenty of assignments);
  4. Loss of connection (employees work in a remote or isolated area);
  5. Unfairness (the management implements the "like and dislike" ways of treatment); and
  6. Conflict of values (a conflict which appears between personal interest and the demands of work).
Managers should keep the above in mind in order to nurture the soft skills in their department.

Internal Preparation and External Aid to Raise Engagement Levels
srinivas, Lecturer, India, Member
If an employee is engaged and inspired to take initiative and experiment by taking risks, then even though the person doesn't have enough resources or skills, he may yet excel. On the other hand, if his initiatives are penalized and empathy is not shown wherever deserved, the engagement levels will go down, derailing all future initiatives and proactive participation.
So I think management needs to create an environment where people dare to take risks and are supported in case of failures.
Even without external aid a person can still be engaged by preparing at different levels of being such as the physical, intellectual, negative emotions, positive emotions, conscious, subconscious and guidance layers.
Obvously the combination of good preparation at internal level with a supportive environment and managerial policies as external aid are ideal for development of employee skills.

Empathy is Key for Raising EI and Soft Skills
M P SINGH, CxO / Board, India, Member
I believe to raise EI of an employee or for that matter any individual the key is empathy (listening) whether you are in agreement or not. Listening patiently to someone brings you more or less to the same wavelength and you earn the trust of the person and then you win him/her.
Now you can motivate and coach him to achieve his personal objectives and those of the organization.

On #1: Work Overload of the Working Class
Dalhatu Zubairu, Director, Nigeria, Member
Avoiding work overload may be somewhat difficult, especially if a worker doesn't earn a living wage and has to engage in a second job to make ends meet. This situation prevails in less developed countries.
As a solution, good management is extra important and the workers should be made conscious of their rights to put their supervisors at work on these issues that hinder their socio-economic development.

Management by Objectives for Developing EI and Soft Skills
Paseka Ramokoatsi, Project Manager, Lesotho, Member
I think MBO or management by objectives should be adhered to whereby employees are given the targets and indicators and resources are made available.
The nitty gritty of how to do it be best left with the employee. The majority of people especially in offices work best with minimal intervention of the boss. The opposite demotivates them.

Manager can Reduce Work Overload of Employee by Delegating Authority
Kamohelo Seseane, Manager, South Africa, Member
I agree with your statement @Paseka Ramokoatsi. Employees perform better when they are given authority to execute tasks and most of the time have the solution to problems, but lack the confidence when they're micro-managed.
This is a management solution to reduce work overload, not only of him/herself, but also of the employee.

EI - Nature or Nurture?
Ivan Kohlinsky, Management Consultant, United Kingdom, Member
Watching Sheldon in 'The Big Bang Theory' (not real, I know!) shows that the majority of EI comes from a person's nature, assisted by upbringing, etc.
However, small improvements can still be made. As far as nature/nurture are concerned, I would tend to put EI in the same bracket as Entrepreneurship. Some people do it/have it naturally, and they are normally the best at it, but other people can go on courses that may release some talent. I can't paint, nor play the piano, but I could learn to do both to some extent. Ultimately my output would still be stilted.
Editor: Indeed you can definitely improve your EI and managers can definitely assist or hinder you in achieving this. It's only the extent to which this is possible that is not so obvious. For more see the best practice "(How) Can I improve my Emotional Intelligence?" (Premium).

Developing EI and Soft Skills of Others
Teresita Tumapon, Professor, Philippines, Member
Empowering constituents consists of coaching them, supporting them and explaining to them why certain policies and practices are critical to an organization. It is demonstrating to them what systems mean. It is coaching them to discharge their accountability. Success of endeavors is attributed to them.
As I tell my students in leadership, if a leader stands tall before the public, it is because he sits on the shoulders of his staff. Though it sounds trite, it is true that leaders are the models to their constituents. A leader demonstrates what soft skills are.
In my experience, as head of a higher education institution, I could be away for five months for special studies and my constituents could carry on very well. Of course, they would hear from me virtually at times. Encouragement, genuine concern for constituents, giving them opportunities for self improvement and acknowledging their efforts, inclusiveness as a philosophy --- whether he is a maintenance worker or a vice-president of academics ---all have EI.

The Role of Managers in Developing EI and Soft Skills
Maurice Hogarth, Consultant, United Kingdom, Premium Member
I would suggest that the points that Goleman related to soft skills (work overload; lack of autonomy; skimpy rewards; loss of connection; unfairness; conflict of values) are equally relevant to all aspects of managing the human resource: people, and to the managing of the application of hard and soft skills.
Training per se is useless. Skills per se are useless. It is only when the skills (& training) are applied that they take on a value of usefulness. If people are not listened to (or assisted-empowered to take the initiative; delegated to &c) their initial response is annoyance (causing mistakes & accidents). Further non-listening causes their anger (deliberate 'mistakes', strikes) and if further non-listening is continued, then apathy (high absenteeism, minimum get by).
If managers were placed in an environment where they were managed as they manage others, a rapid change of behavior in the managing of soft and hard skills is likely to be seen when they are reinstated.

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