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Emotional Intelligence: Why It Means Make or Break for Your Business

When you think about emotional intelligence, it’s easy to think “it’s just common sense”, or “understanding emotions is easy”. This could not be further from the truth.

Emotional intelligence (EI) has been around for many years, yet misconceptions with regard to the concept still exist. In this blog we are going to clarify what it is, what it means for the workplace and why it is more important now than ever in this time of crisis.

What is emotional intelligence?

“Emotional intelligence is the ability to understand, use, and manage your own emotions in positive ways to relieve stress, communicate effectively, empathise with others, overcome challenges and defuse conflict.” [HelpGuide: Your trusted guide to mental health & wellness]

Why is emotional intelligence important in the workplace?

Emotional intelligence is always crucial in the workplace. It helps improve communication, management and relationships, and the upside is that it can be improved through training and practice. The responsibility lies with strong emotionally intelligent leaders, to provide the foundation for an emotionally intelligent workspace that gives people the freedom to express themselves, while being empathetic of others.

Emotional intelligence is commonly defined by four attributes:

  1. Self-management –the ability to control impulsive feelings and behaviour and manage them in healthy ways.
  2. Self-awareness – recognising one’s own thoughts and behaviour as well as strengths and weaknesses.
  3. Social awareness – empathy, empathy, empathy. Understanding the emotions and needs of others understanding emotional cues.
  4. Relationship management – the ability to develop and maintain healthy relationships, communicate clearly, inspire others, and manage conflict effectively.

What this means for the management of an organisation

The upside to an organisation that lacks emotional intelligence is that it can be improved through training and practice. This is where leadership steps in and makes it all possible. What distinguishes leaders is usually their level of emotional intelligence and it is those skills which help to develop a more effective workplace. For emotional intelligence to be effective, is has to start with the leader themselves, because an emotionally intelligent leader will grow emotionally intelligent employees. A leader’s ability to both recognise and control their own emotions in order to achieve the optimum results in any situation is a major contributing factor the success of a workplace. It is certainly a huge contributing factor to a workplace that has been thrust into remote working without any preparation ahead of time.

To learn more about managing a remote team, read our next blog here: https://afritraining.co.za/2020/04/24/5-tips-to-effectively-manage-remote-employees/

5 Tips to Effectively Manage Remote Employees

During a nationwide lockdown, working from home has become a new reality for many.

Along with remote working comes a plethora of challenges that cannot always be resolved with a quick Zoom call. To facilitate a smooth process, remote management has to be at its best for both the business and its employees. Below are five tips to ensuring the most effective remote management of employees working from home.

1. Use effective communication tools

Effective communication is a vital element in any business. Add remote working and effective communication becomes even more important. Staying in touch with employees can be achieved through chats, productivity tracking, and video or voice conferencing, to ensure there is no miscommunication.

2. Be on the lookout for signs of distress in your employees

Staying in tune with your employees, both directly and indirectly, will go a long way with addressing issues in the business. Take the time to express that you support your employees and maintain regular conversations, especially conversations that arise specifically from the current pandemic.

3. Do not time track

Micromanaging employees does not work within the workplace, and it has even less of a place in a remote working scenario. Productivity tracking is a more effective way to measure employees’ performance as well as scheduling regular meetings, to discuss what is expected of them.

4. Offer professional development

Growing employees’ abilities grow their confidence in their role. Offer employees opportunities to do online courses or to attend online workshops. The benefits include upskilled employees, motivated employees, and a greater impact on the business.

5. Increase recognition

“During periods of disruption, employees’ desire for being recognized for their contribution increases by about 30%,” says Brian Kropp, Distinguished Vice President, Research, Gartner. Recognition is one of the tools in the workplace where a little goes a long way. Recognition takes place in many forms, whether it is public acknowledgment, perks, or opportunities for development.

Management should pay specific attention to the various situations that arise from the current pandemic and apply emotional intelligence when addressing them. The above points apply to all cases of remote management, although additional sensitivity should be applied considering the abrupt changes that took place over the last few weeks.

Contact Afri Training Institute on 021 202 3341 for more information on our Skills Development Course, and grow your management and employees’ skills.

6 Tips for Staying Productive While Working Remotely

Working from home either brings out your inner perfectionist or your lazy, unorganised side, and during a pandemic, it is necessary to spur on our most productive characteristics. As much as the idea of working from home seems like the ideal situation, it brings a lot of challenges that working in an office doesn’t prepare us for. Below are six tips for staying productive while working remotely.

1. Maintain a consistent schedule

Consistency is key. Although you are no longer physically going into the office, maintaining a consistent schedule can assist with getting into the right mindset for a productive day. Do everything you would usually do, like taking a shower and getting dressed before you sit down to start your day. Maintain this way of thinking throughout your day, like taking a lunch break at a specific time and ending your day the same way you usually would.

2. Create the right environment

It is highly recommended that you draw the line between work and personal space within your house. Creating a space that limits distractions and allows easy workflow will help you maintain a high level of productivity.

  • Organise your desk
  • Make the office space comfortable
  • Have a desk, as well as chairs or couches for relaxing during breaks

3. Don’t be afraid to call

You no longer have the luxury of walking over to ask someone a question. How do you get around that? Don’t be afraid to call. Make communicating with co-workers a regular occurrence and rather call them on the phone instead of emailing back and forth which could take all day.

4. Maintain a connection with your team

Working from home can cause us to lose sight of our overall goals or impact within an organisation because we don’t get to physically see it. Things like group chats, happy hour, and video conferencing allow us to connect with the people we spent a lot of time with, working to achieve a shared goal.

5. Reflect on your work

Take time out to reflect on your work, analyse your thinking, and consider your level of productivity. If you don’t do it, who will? Working remotely means you don’t have managers or co-workers readily available to assist you with advice or constructive criticism.

  • Track your time and write down how you spend it (every 1-2 hours)
  • Make a schedule and write tasks down on your calendar
  • Be honest with yourself and point out areas where you can improve

6. Set boundaries

Remember, productivity does not only mean working hard. Setting clear boundaries will help you maintain the energy to continue working productively. This includes setting clear working hours, communicating with your team when you are unavailable, and sticking to those times. Dedicate time to your family, your hobbies, and anything else that you would do outside of work, to maintain a healthy mind.

Working from home or anywhere you haven’t worked before can be challenging because you are expected to do everything yourself. However, there are many benefits to this as well, and following the tips above will lead you to a happy, productive remote experience.

Education and the workplace – the widening gap

The reasons to get an education are endless. It gives you perspective on the world and ultimately gives you the knowledge to build a career. The link between education and the working world, however, is breaking down. Skills mismatching happens when an individual’s qualification or training does not match with their employment opportunities. The result includes unemployment, low wages, job dissatisfaction, inability to find suitable labour and these all affect the overall productivity and competitiveness of the economy. It poses a problem for the economy all who make up the workforce.

Read more “Education and the workplace – the widening gap”

The difference between training and development

A monthly routine for many is checking their car’s oil. A lack of oil causes friction and possibly overheating. Much like your car needs oil to allow internal parts to work together effectively, employee training and development equip employees with the skills and confidence to perform at their best. Below is a comparison of training and development in the workplace. Read more “The difference between training and development”

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