From managing yourself to managing others
Have you recently landed a new role and are about to become a manager for the first time? Congratulations!
Whether you're a seasoned professional who's making the transition from technical expert to manager, or a new recruit on a management fast track, the move to a leadership position can be challenging. Even more so since “leadership” has become one of those buzzwords that has been depleted of its meaning by constant overuse. There are dozens of definitions about what leadership is, and what skills and qualities a good leader needs.
What is mindful leadership?
From personal experience on “both sides”, as an employee as well as being in a leadership position, I believe that good and mindful leadership has a lot to do with Emotional Intelligence (EI). EI is a set of soft skills, including
Self-awareness and self-regulation (having a clear picture of your strengths and weaknesses, and the ability to manage your emotions at work)
Communication Skills (in essence, the ability to communicate clearly and consistently, and being able to adapt your communication style. It also includes non-verbal communication and body language, active listening and giving feedback)
Social skills (including empathy, conflict resolution, building trust and creating rapport)
Motivation (self-motivation as well as the ability to motivate and inspire others, which is itself based on the ability to create and communicate a clear vision)
Many studies have shown that for leaders, having a high degree of EI is essential for success. Usually, the higher up you go in an organization, the more time you spend dealing with other people. Your success is no longer simply a matter of your technical expertise or knowledge. It is also closely related to your ability to communicate effectively, to motivate those who work for and with you, to build trust and to resolve conflicts, to name just a few.
Emotional Intelligence in the post-pandemic work world
If Emotional Intelligence was important pre-Covid, it has become nothing less than critical in the new work environment that we’re moving toward. While facing obstacles of their own, leaders have been increasingly confronted with employees’ personal challenges, caused by uncertainty, stress and anxiety. If not addressed adequately, these issues could impact employees’ mental well-being, resulting in poor motivation, lower productivity and an increased risk of mistakes and accidents.
Leaders who were successful during the pandemic, were those who were able to, among other things, create a compassionate work environment where people feel valued and can voice their concerns openly. This requires empathy, flexible thinking, and clear and transparent communication.
Soft Skills are hard
However, in many companies there are still misconceptions about what softs skills are and why they matter. A big part of the problem is that the word “soft” is dismissive. Experts have been arguing for a while that we should stop calling them “soft skills”. Educator and author Josh Bersin makes a great point when he says:
"Hard Skills are soft (they change all the time, are constantly being obsoleted, and are relatively easy to learn), and Soft Skills are hard (they are difficult to build, critical, and take extreme effort to obtain)."
Boost your Emotional Intelligence
Another misconception is that soft skills are an inherent part of your personality and that you can’t learn them. Luckily, this is not true. Emotional Intelligence skills can be built and trained like any other skills. As a coach I’m here to support you through a structured process of self-reflection, assessments and exercises.
Leadership Coaching is highly individual and tailored to your specific needs and circumstances. Contact me to arrange a free and non-binding Discovery Session where we can discuss your goals and expectations, get to know each other and decide if we want to work together.