Emotional Intelligence: Fueling Managerial Excellence 

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What are the qualities that separate a good or decent manager from a great one? Is it the institution where the manager obtained his training? Is it his or her workers automatically sense they are alpha beings who must be followed? In truth, the qualities which determine great managers boil down to whether the manager has been trained to develop their soft skills.

The Importance of Gaining Soft Skills

Beyond the hard skills which are the basic nuts and bolts every good manager knows as a part of running a business, there are a series of soft skills that are essential to great management. These soft skills are essential to good marketing, leadership, and customer care. Some of them are: Communications. Effective and open communication is a central part of great leadership. Learning effective business communication skills enables managers to express themselves fluently both verbally and on paper. Empathy. The hard-nosed, abusive business executive is a stereotype that is highly ineffective in the workplace. Without the ability to show empathy, a core part of good business relationships is lost. An empathetic manager makes the difference between a smooth, calm, and cooperative workplace and a fearful, suspicious, and chaotic one.

Some people are naturally empathetic and have no trouble registering and displaying empathy in all their relations. For others, it doesn’t come naturally. The good news is that it is a skill that can be taught. An example of empathy is a manager going out of their way to show support for an employee whose work is suffering over worry about a loved one’s fentinaladdiction. This support will pay off with increased loyalty and commitment in the future. The employee will be grateful for a manager who treats them as a human being with problems rather than just a disposable piece of office equipment.

Problem-solving. This is obviously an important business talent, but people sometimes only associate it with hard business skills. For instance, computer programming is a hard skill and being a programmer involves a high level of problem-solving. But, another problem-solving skill involves day-to-day business operations, and soft skills teach managers how to take apart and analyze problems involving either workers and clients to come up with a good solution.

Decision Making. An apt business manager is an expert at decision-making. Soft-skills training enables them to take a detailed, structured, and methodical approach when making business decisions. Managers without soft skill training rely on intuition or a gut feeling, but the key to sound decision-making is through a process which involves asking the right questions and accessing all the information needed to make the right choices.

The Difference Between Hard & Soft

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There is some confusion over what constitutessoft versus hard managerial skills. Hard skills are your credentials like your college degree or the skill you have for coding or engineering. It’s your ability to master discipline rather than to interact and deal with others on one-on-one basis that forms the foundation of soft skills or emotional intelligence. Some examples of hard skills are:

  • Learning to drive a vehicle or operate a machine.
  • Learning to handle financial ledgers.
  • Learning a software program or computer application.

A good rule of thumb for identifying a hard skill is if it is relatively easy to provide authentication you possess it. If you know Microsoft Excel, for example, you can prove you have acquired the skill with a certification you received for mastering Microsoft Office. Soft skills aren’t easily authenticated. They are proven by demonstration through action. The individual can share examples of how they were able to use their soft skills either in the workplace or throughout their lives. Other soft skills include:

  • The ability to be persuasive and talk people into going along with your ideas and plans.
  • The ability to pull together disparate groups and form a cohesive team that works together to complete a common goal.
  • The ability to manage time well, meet deadlines, and get what needs to be done completed on schedule.

Soft skills are important for effective management, but these aren’t specialized skills that earn credentials. They are often overlooked and more importance is placed on a manager’s hard skills. This can be a costly mistake when a company ends up with a manager who looked excellent on paper but lacked the people skills to motivate and manage his or her employees.

The Value of High Emotional Intelligence

Sometimes known as Emotional Intelligence, soft skills demonstrate how well a person controls and handles emotions and engages in effective interpersonal relationships. A person could graduate from one of the nation’s finest schools with sterling credentials and certifications. But unless he or she knows how to set realistic goals for their department or can easily accept changes in objectives and hit the ground running, their effectiveness as a manager is questionable. Some people are gifted with natural emotional intelligence and easily handle interpersonal relationships with employees and clients. But, it doesn’t come easily to everyone and a good deal of can struggle. Fortunately, soft skills can be taught and there are training programs that help managers develop these key skills. People with degrees who have majored in business management may think learning additional soft skills is a waste of their time and talent. But, learning them helps make them more effective managers. It also makes them better at handling the many interruptions managers deal with on a regular basis.

Soft Skills Make Relationships Easier

Skills like problem-solving and decision-making make a manager’s job easier and more effective in the workplace. But, these talents aren’t just valuable professionally. For example, a soft skill like grit or the ability to stick with a challenge or task no matter what obstacles and problems appear is an invaluable life skill that bestows the mental toughness needed to accomplish any goal. Adding a great set of soft skills to an already sterling set of hard skills is the ultimate pièce de résistance for a manager. Emotional intelligence serves managers well not only in the workplace but with all their relationships. Developing soft skills makes the difference between good and great management team.

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