Train your Managers!

Everywhere I go, I get flooded by business owners with the huge problems they have with their human resource. Many of these problems are related to attitudes, reliability and performance. Many business owners feel at a loss at how to improve the attitudes and boost the performance of their team members, especially when they find themselves dealing with team members that performed so well in the past and suddenly have a nose dive dip in their performance. Many times the answer and solution lies in the line manager or head, that is close to business action.

You start digging and very often I find that many business managers still fail to fully grasp and implement the effectiveness of Emotional Intelligence. Effective business managers are those that manage the emotions they display at work. They are the ones that project optimism and confidence when team members feel discouraged. Even if business managers are full of doubts about the company’s strategic direction, they still carry the company flag and work to rally the troops. This requires great effort and skill. The ability of business managers to manage their feelings and expressions to fulfill the expectations of their role, is of pivotal importance. However, I often find that many business managers many times overlook the importance of all this. To make things worse, the challenges that businesses are facing are on the increase, which means that business managers need to master the ability to manage their emotions even more, not less.

Business managers are expected to become leaders and attend to employees’ mental and physical health (while also addressing their own), demonstrate bottomless sensitivity and compassion (EMPATHY), and provide opportunities for flexibility and now also remote working where possible — all while managing the bottom line, doing more with less and overcoming challenges with employing and retaining talent. Business managers need to appear authentic, but if they get too honest about their distress, others may lose confidence in their leadership. Such a difficult balance.

Without proper support and training, there will be significant costs to the business as it risks that its key managers end up burnout and facing various health issues. In turn, business organisations have to contend with decreases in productivity and performance and likely a high turnover of leadership talent.

To avoid these costs, organisations must support their managers in managing their emotions. Here are some insights on how to go about this:

  • An honest and deep recognition that managing ones emotions means a lot of work and effort: Business owners tend to appreciate when a manager pushes through long days or sleepless nights. However, they often underestimate and neglect to directly address the effort that such managers put in managing their emotions. Managing ones emotions has huge costs on the manager. If not addressed as how to handle this it will likely end up with some sort of explosion and after weeks and months of suppressing emotions, managers are likely to lash out at work, creating a lot of damage to those around them. It is the result of what we call “surface act”. They suppress emotions, instead of managing them, with obvious negative consequences. To support managers in reducing the incongruity between how they feel and what they communicate, business organisations need to assess the emotional culture and safe spaces in their organisation. Research clearly demonstrates that creating psychologically safe spaces where managers can share their distress without being branded as weak or soft, is so important.
  • Promote EMPATHY: One of the cardinal important things we learn in Emotional Intelligence is to move away from the myth that managers or leaders must be strong and infallible at all times. On the contrary, leaders who practice self-compassion have higher emotional intelligence, resilience and integrity. In short, they are better leaders, and there’s a trickle-down effect to their teams and organisations. When leaders practice self-compassion, they treat others more compassionately. Business leaders and managers who show vulnerability and admit they don’t have everything figured out create a more psychologically safe context where others can feel safe to share.
  • Provide Training: When employees share their suffering or resentment at work, it can be difficult for managers. Distress and frustration about work conditions can feel like a personal attack and create defensive reactions. Even when team members vent about non-work distress, managers are expected to show compassion and can feel drained from the effort. The good news is that managers can neutralise compassion fatigue and negative emotional contagion by learning new emotional skills. Business organisations need to offer skills training that helps managers build emotional capabilities so they are less drained by having to manage their emotions. Offering managers emotional skills training can help them feel more genuinely compassionate and demonstrate more servant leadership behaviours.

At EMCS, we have developed what we call a foundational training programme. We believe that every manager needs to be given the necessary skills to deal with their emotions in the correct way. To achieve this we have developed a foundational training programme that allows managers to acquire practical and extremely useful skills in the areas of LEADERSHIP, COMMUNICATION and TEAMWORK. We believe that Leadership, Communication and Teamwork and interlinked and depend on each other to allow a manager to balance things out and achieve an optimal performance for himself/herself and his/her team. During this training we would provide managers with skills on the various aspects of Emotional Intelligence, Delegation, Persuasion, Assertiveness, Boosting Resilience and Managing Change…amongst others.

Feel free to contact me on to discuss the training needed by your managers. The cost of training can be covered by various funding schemes and we can handle the application for such funding schemes.

Do not let your best managers get burnt out. Just grumbling on human resources problems will not move you an inch closer to any solution.

One thought on “Train your Managers!

  1. Pingback: Train your Managers (2) – A Business Blog for SMEs & Family Businesses

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