Why Strong Middle Management Needs Emotional Intelligence

If there is one overlooked level of leadership in business, it is middle management. In fact, it is often regarded as the wasteland for employees. Look no further than the seemingly endless supply of Hollywood movies mocking and lampooning middle management.

Yet, middle management is a critical part of any business as they directly link the executive level with front line employees. Support and buy-in from middle management is necessary to make any policy or procedural change successful. A group of strong or weak middle managers can make or break a company.

Therefore a company must choose carefully when hiring middle managers. Key to their success is finding middle managers who excel in emotional intelligence (EQ).

Here Is What You Need To Know About EQ

The simple definition of emotional intelligence is the ability to understand, be aware of and control your emotions and those around you. In other words, high EQ individuals exhibit self awareness and control, as well as demonstrating social awareness and great relationship management skills. Having high EQ provides the ability to work with and positively influence individuals who display a wide range of emotions.

Middle management is where leaders come into most contact with internal staff and external vendors. The ability to read people and their state of mind is paramount to managing them efficiently throughout the day.

For instance, we all know somebody who isn’t a “morning person” and know that the start of the day isn’t the best time to approach them with a problem or task.

However, in the real world, problems need to be solved and tasks need to be completed throughout the day. A middle manager with a high EQ level will employ a successful strategy on how to approach that “non-morning” person with a task at 8 AM.

She will engage with that person in a far different way than somebody who thrives during the early morning. This doesn’t mean the manager will deliver a different message or expect different results. She will adjust her approach to that employee accordingly.

How To Develop Emotional Intelligence

Emotional intelligence can be learned and developed. Here are a few skills people can use to increase their EQ.

  • Managers should get to know their team members over time. This will help them to sense a change in their demeanor which should prompt them to check in with that employee to see if everything is OK. This sounds simple, but many people don’t want to engage people about their attitude or mood, even on a superficial level.

  • Before talking to anybody, managers should take a quick self-assessment of their own emotions before speaking with people. They should make sure they are in a calm and professional mood.

  • Balance constructive criticism with positive reinforcement. Let people know when they do a good job. Feedback from managers shouldn’t only be addressing negative issues.

  • Managers should approach and treat team members how they want to be treated, while also balancing their own needs and wants. Taking the time to get to know your team members and becoming more socially aware is an important component to developing this part of EQ.

Connecting with employees is a key function of middle management. It builds the bridge between the executive level and the staff that work for them. Additionally, since many high-level managers are promoted from middle management, developing a strong EQ is a vital skill to bring to that next level. Studies show EQ is severely deficient at the higher levels of management.

Equal Parts recognizes the important function of middle managers and how vital they are to the success and sustained growth of a company. We assist companies with creating the right atmosphere and infrastructure to maximize their employee’s contributions.

We offer unique and specific advice for businesses because every company is different and one-size-fits-all answers don’t help. Schedule a consultation with us and learn how we can help you maximize the effectiveness of your business operations.