Robin Hills: How Emotional Intelligence Makes Good Managers Even Better (Ep. #26)

By
The Better Manager Team
BetterManager Executive Coach

January 19, 2021

Building Better Managers Podcast Episode #26: How Emotional Intelligence Takes Managers To Another Level

At each level, whether it's new managers, middle managers or C-Suite execs, the skills that got you there are rarely enough to guarantee success.

It's often the ability to strategically navigate emotions - your own and of those around you - that makes the difference between great leaders and simply competent administrators.

This week, author and educator Robin Hills joins us to discuss how to apply Emotional Intelligence principles to effectively deal with the many challenges the current business world is throwing at us all.

In this episode:

Meet Robin:

  • Robin is the director of Ei4Change, a company specializing in educational training, coaching and personal development focused around emotional intelligence, positive psychology and neuroscience. He has taught over 100,000 people in 175+ countries how to build resilience, increased self-awareness and understanding of others. His educational programs on resilience and emotional intelligence cover the most comprehensive and detailed education of any emotional intelligence organization and are today used in educational establishments in South Africa and India.
  • Robin is also the author of 2 books and has through his work developed the experiential coaching methodology Images of Resilience to support cathartic conversations around resilience.
  • He has delivered key-note speeches at conferences across the world including at Harvard University and sits on the North West Committee of the Association of Business Psychology.

What Is Emotional Intelligence?

  • Emotional Intelligence (E.I.) isn't just a balance between thinking & emotions.
  • We experience an emotion long before the thought process around that emotion kicks in. So it's important to understand that the emotions we experience contain  vital bits of information.
  • Emotional Intelligence is our ability to be able to apply our intelligence to our emotions, and to answer the fundamental question, "Why am I experiencing this emotion? And what am I going to do with it in order to engage with the environment in a more appropriate way?"

Cultural Factors

  • When working within different cultures, go back to the basics - you are still dealing with human beings.
  • The cultural aspects of the way in which everyone lives their lives is something that's built up through their environment. The best way to work with that is not to have any judgments around their culture. Immerse yourself in it, and learn and try and understand, to empathize, to get a flavor of it.
  • You are not going to change the political climate just through one workshop, but what can be done is to help people to engage better with each other, and improve the way in which they work with other people.

The Importance of E.I. for Leaders & Managers

  • E.I. skills are the hardest skills to train in. Unlike technical skills, with Emotional Intelligence, it's a lifelong journey. You must take some of the insights that you have about yourself and think, right, how can I utilize this, you've got to do something, you've got to change yourself. It's not a case of changing your thinking. It's a case of changing the way in which you work with other people.
  • And a lot of analytical & technical capabilities will be taken over by artificial intelligence. It doesn't matter what industry you're in, whether it's in finance, whether it's in health care, it really doesn't matter. Robots and A.I. can do the analysis far quicker, far more effectively than any human can. In order to keep yourself safe over the next 20 to 30 years, you've got to look at Emotional Intelligence. It's the one thing that robots will never be able to do, to empathize with another human being.
  • E.I. is responsible for between 20 to 30% of performance, and people will take their performance cues from the leader/manager. In times of uncertainty, the team is going to take their emotional cue from the leader. So it's important to recognize that managers have a very strong influence on the emotional climate within an organization.
  • And there are many senior executives who say that they want their people to be happy, they want a happy climate and a happy environment at work. Yet, more often than not, those leaders are continually angry and showing anger because people are not doing what they want them to do. Well, how does that drive a happy atmosphere? If somebody is angry with you, you're not going to be productively happy. So leaders really need to manage their emotions in order to optimize the workplace culture.

Tips to Start Doing Today

  • The first tip is two simple phrases: "please" and "thank you". These are things that can be built into conversations very, very, very easily, yet so many people report that they just do not get that from their senior leaders.
  • This doesn't mean that they're needy! It just means that they want to be recognized and to have their performance appreciated.
  • Another tip, when they learn coaching, is to ask questions like, "How are you?" "What are your thoughts?" "We've been talking about performance, we've been talking about climate, we've been talking about your needs to improve your important performance. What are your thoughts?" "What can I do to help?"
  • Tips for emails. Email is it's a really, really fascinating media, when seen from an E.I. perspective. We do not always understand the emotional context in which the mail was written. The way in which we interpret and read an email is around our emotional context - at the time of reading that email. It's how we think and feel about the individual that's sending that message, how we're interpreting the black and white words on the screen.
  • We need to take a step back, especially if an email causes us to have an intense emotion that we don't like. We need to learn to walk away from that email and go into something else, have a cup of coffee, go for a walk, watch a television program, listen to a piece of music, whatever it is that you need to do, and then come back to it in a different frame of mind before responding to it.

Emotional Intelligence and Resilience

  • The difference between Coping and Resilience. While coping is basically "putting up with stuff," resilience is much, much more. It's having a grit determination, a mental toughness, that really infuses everything that you do.
  • Resilience is about having a focus on a particular outcome that you are working towards, having an underlying belief that life is meaningful, and you're adding to some bigger contribution to some bigger picture. And it's having the flexibility and adaptability to react and change as the circumstances unfold.
  • Increasing Resilience by being more proactive - what is it that you can proactively do to try and make the best of the situation that you find myself in, I don't like it any more than you do.
  • What you can do is to feel in control, put yourself in control of what you have on a day-to-day basis: control of the time that you get up every morning, the time that you go to bed, of what what you eat, which emails to respond to, what to do on social media. Recognize what choices you do have and take charge of them.

Downloads & Resources

Follow Robin on LinkedIn, Twitter and check out his website here.

Subscribe to our podcast on your favorite podcast platform!

Check out our blog articles on Leadership here.

About Robin Hills

Robin is the director of Ei4Change, a company specializing in educational training, coaching and personal development focused around emotional intelligence, positive psychology and neuroscience. He has taught over 100,000 people in 175+ countries how to build resilience, increased self-awareness and understanding of others. His educational programs on resilience and emotional intelligence cover the most comprehensive and detailed education of any emotional intelligence organization and are today used in educational establishments in South Africa and India.

Robin is also the author of 2 books and has through his work developed the experiential coaching methodology Images of Resilience to support cathartic conversations around resilience. He has delivered key-note speeches at conferences across the world including at Harvard University and sits on the North West Committee of the Association of Business Psychology.

Episode Transcript

Posted on

January 19, 2021