A manager may be forgiven to think that everyone in their team will do their jobs as best they can. Their payroll is on the line, after all. But, simply assigning tasks, monitoring performance and giving feedback leaves something to be desired. Something powerful.


What's often missing is the acknowledgment of individual motivations, aspirations, and strengths of team members. A manager's role extends to inspiring and enabling their team to reach their fullest potential. This involves fostering a sense of purpose, autonomy, and mastery amongst everyone. 


By understanding what drives each individual, executives can tailor tasks, provide opportunities for growth, and create better professional connections that help both the individual and the organization thrive. There are six powerful emotional skills that can help managers foster such relationships.



Empathy is often described as the ability to put yourself in someone else’s shoes. But, this is easier said than done. Connections based on empathy require shared experiences that you can relate to. In the absence of said experiences, it’s hard to comprehend what’s being told. 


However, there’s a catch here. While managers should always try to relate with their individual team members, the real emotional skill here is to trigger empathetic feelings in their teams towards themselves. Your team members should be able to understand where you’re coming from so that they can see a path to success. 


There’s no better way to do this than by sharing your journey. How you struggled, failed, and yet overcame the obstacles to be where you are. Many managers are too concerned with looking strong and dependable, all the time. Not only can anyone see through this artificial facade, but it only leads to distrust and pushback. It’s better to be honest and forthright, than pretend you’ve won every single round. 



It's practically impossible to be empathetic without having some measure of self-awareness, or knowing your strengths, weaknesses, fears, and ambitions. A self-aware manager can accurately assess their own performance, seek feedback for improvement, and adapt their leadership style to suit different situations and individuals. 

By being self-aware, managers can foster trust and credibility, effectively manage conflicts, and inspire others through authentic leadership. Overall, self-awareness is integral for effective decision-making, communication, and building positive relationships within a managerial role.



How are your instructions received by your peers? Can you read facial cues and body language to better understand their responses? Do you consider reputation and office-talk before dealing with a difficult employee? It's vital for a manager to take the social costs of their decisions into account before they do anything. Such emotional skills are important because it’s easy to lose track of objectives and get mired in office politics if control over the narrative is lost. 


Being socially aware has become all the more critical as companies are becoming more global and remote. Since multinational teams are becoming more prevalent, managers need to become more conscious of their actions and the impact they have on their team members. This means that the modern day manager needs to educate themselves on the cultural nuances of their team members to work effectively. 


By being socially aware, managers can create a supportive and inclusive work environment, build strong rapport with employees, and foster collaboration and teamwork. Social awareness enables managers to address conflicts, manage diversity, and cultivate a culture of respect and trust, ultimately contributing to organizational success.



Being kind and considerate doesn’t mean you always have to bend over backwards to accommodate your peer’s emotions. As a manager, your job is to make sure everyone does theirs, after all. But, assertiveness is an art in itself, one that doesn’t need violence. 


Proper assertiveness requires empathy, good social skills, and self awareness to work. For example, In a team meeting, a manager notices that one team member consistently interrupts others during discussions. Instead of reacting impulsively, the manager takes a moment to observe the situation and understand the underlying dynamics. 


During a break, the manager approaches the team member privately, expressing appreciation for their contributions while gently pointing out the impact of their interruptions on the team's ability to collaborate effectively.

Pragmatic Optimism


While being optimistic is good, managers also need to be realistic about what they and their teams can actually do. This is particularly important as no one will ever have all the variables needed to make perfect decisions. 


For example, let's say a manager encounters a dip in sales amidst economic challenges. Instead of yielding to pessimism, he/she assesses market shifts and pinpoints avenues for enhancement while establishing realistic sales goals. 


The manager also leans into the team’s perspective on the problem. Many solutions are offered, but two particular ideas stick out almost as “eureka moments''. The team sets up an A/B test to try both out with the second one being a winner, leading to better than expected sales. Not only did the manager overcome the challenge, but also leveraged the team’s potential to its fullest.



Salesmanship isn’t normally thought of as an emotional skill, but it requires a strong connection to work. Our emotions have a powerful effect on our cognition and can shape the way we see the world. Since salesmanship addresses human needs and desires, it needs a thorough understanding of emotions as well. 


For a manager, mastering salesmanship as an emotional skill is indispensable for success in various facets of their role. Emotional intelligence can help managers process objections by empathizing with customers' concerns and reframing them as opportunities. By exercising self-regulation, managers interpret objections as valuable insights into resolving customer pain points effectively. 


Furthermore, a high EQ enables managers to perceive rejection as a natural aspect of the sales process rather than a personal setback. Additionally, managers who excel in salesmanship can adapt their approach to foster meaningful connections based on trust and understanding, ultimately creating better relations.



We often underestimate just how powerful a role emotions play in day to day lives. People take illogical decisions all the time. Preferences for work arrangements, job roles, or company culture can swiftly change, leading to shifts in their loyalty and engagement. What is considered desirable in a workplace one moment may become outdated or unattractive the next. 


Employees may eagerly pursue certain opportunities or perks, only to quickly lose interest and seek out new incentives or challenges. This fickleness often presents challenges for managers who have to consider and navigate such motivations to achieve their goals. However, in successfully doing so, not only can managers better help their employees, but create business practices that can deliver results regardless of the prevailing circumstances. 

Author's Bio: 

Owen McGab Enaohwo is the CEO and Co-Founder of SweetProcess; an easy-to-use and intuitive business process management software founded in 2013 that makes it possible for company executives and their employees to collaborate together to quickly document standard operating procedures, processes, and policies.