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Emotional IQ: The Most Important Quality Of Good Managers

By Wythe Walker

Management 101 Series


For an organization to succeed, it must be managed.

This is a truism. Why then are so many organizations poorly run?

Mostly because of a lack of Emotional IQ, the key quality of superior management.

What is Emotional IQ?

A combination of three skills. One, the ability to manage yourself. Two, the capability of understanding others. Three, genuinely communicating with others and motivating them toward reasonable, attainable, inspiring goals.

Almost always managers in an organization will have sufficient intelligence and knowledge of the skills needed to run a company or institution. But if they lack adequate Emotional IQ, the business will struggle and often fail.

How do we manage ourselves, what is our Emotional IQ? Here is a link you can click on to learn more about measuring and understanding Emotional IQ. The foremost author in this field is Daniel Goleman.

Management, like all complex skills, appears effortless when done well. Yet anyone familiar with organizations of all types – businesses, government entities, NGOs, etc. – hears constant complaints about how poorly managed most institutions are because most of those managers don't know how to manage themselves and others.

We have to understand ourselves, our motivations, our blind spots, our talents, our interests. The more we understand ourselves, the more we can find the best place for us to contribute.

We gain this understanding by reflecting on our life experiences, what others tell us about ourselves, reading, taking aptitude tests. The more honest we are with ourselves, the better.

It's not easy, it takes time. Even more, understanding ourselves is a lifelong quest.

I spent 30 years in the world of 'niche' publications (typically newspapers or magazines with less than $3 million in revenue) as a reporter, editor, publisher, owner, seller, consultant, coach. For four years, I served on a board of directors of a business newspaper publishing organization. I knew publishers all across America and visited papers in small markets like Baton Rouge and large like Chicago. From those experiences a few things became clear.

Most publishers tended to be enthusiastic about their publications and convinced that through sheer force of personality they could sell their product and idea. Publishers by nature are enthusiastic, promoters, believers.

They were usually good at selling their products, their ideas one on one. But, selling isn't enough. You have to manage your staff, keep turnover under control, be sure the products you're creating are profitable enough to be worth the effort. You have to be optimistically realistic. You need to learn from other successful publishers and be humble enough to discard mediocre ideas.

I've known publishers who could always keep selling and keep their products alive, but they never were able to save money and were always just a few steps away from closing their doors.

I've known other publishers who mistakenly thought that if they put out a superior product the sales would take care of themselves. One of them told me, I hate salespeople, in general. He thought he could just put them in a room, give them a phone and some gas mileage and they would do the rest. That publisher managed to lose $1 million over a period of 10 years until his investor finally said, Enough.

If we understand ourselves, our blind spots, our strengths and have the ability to understand others by projecting our experiences into theirs and treating them as individuals, we can learn to be better managers, better communicators, and increase our Emotional IQ.

The more those we manage feel we genuinely understand them, the better will be our communications and ability to work together. Because organizations are run by people, the people must be managed. How well they are managed will determine whether or not the organization grows, flounders, or merely survives.

If an organization isn't growing, something is wrong. Organizations grow naturally because humans are builders by nature. We like to figure things out and improve processes and extend them.

As the world of work becomes more knowledge and information-based, the more workers manage themselves, the need for accurate communication and self-motivation increases. In a world of manual labor, measuring worker output was simple. In a world of complex information sharing, effective work requires workers to be self-motivated toward the same goals as the organization.

Every business is similar to other businesses in that they require people to run them and those people must be managed. Management rules and structures aren't hard to understand. What's hard is applying them effectively. That's where understanding yourself, your strengths and weaknesses, and how to assemble the right team for your business is all-important.

That's where Emotional IQ makes all the difference.

If you'd like to learn more about Emotional IQ, here are some links:


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