The ability to manage one’s emotions and recognize other’s emotions, facial expressions and body language has always been a valuable skill set. These skills represent the emotional quotient of an individual and research has showed the employees with a high Emotional Quotient emerge as leaders.
In a remote work setting where face to face interaction is limited, individuals with high emotional quotient can improve team efficiency. Leaders who lack emotional intelligence make the team anxious and feeling low. Remote workers have often been found to feel isolated and experiencing trust issues with their employers.
Here are a few ways in which leaders can leverage emotional intelligence to improve employee engagement and develop trust in a remote work environment:
Empathy is the core characteristic of emotionally intelligent leaders. As an empathetic executive you need to understand that not all team members have the same situations personally and professionally. And not all team members feel alike emotionally.
For some employees the transition to remote work may have been easier than others. Be empathetic to those who are still adjusting the transition and ask them if they need help. Moreover, as the world is suffering a pandemic that we have never seen before, offer moral support to you team members if they have been affected. Let your team know that you are available if there is an emergency and that they can trust you.
Offering a shoulder in times of need is the best thing you can do to develop trust with your team members. Check-in with your team and connect to them on a humane level. However, make sure you do this wholeheartedly. Superficial efforts are as good as nothing.
Self-Awareness and Team Bonding
Nobody is perfect. Every individual has both strengths and weaknesses. As a leader you need to be self-aware and down to earth to admit your failures with your team. If you consider admitting your weaknesses as demeaning, rethink it. When you point out flaws of your team members, you are more likely to be received positively when you are self-aware.
Make room for informal interactions and team bonding activities. In remote work environments it is easy to let stress take over as the boundaries between personal and professional life are blurred. Engage your team in fun virtual team building sessions like virtual escape room, ice breakers, virtual games etc.
Respect, Recognize and Reward
For remote teams to feel more connected with their employers it is important to let them know that their work matters. Respect their efforts in striving to give their best. If things do not go as expected, do not lash out. Instead, talk to your team and make your expectations clear. Let them know that this is not what you were expecting.
Likewise, when they go out of their way perform a task or finish a project, recognize their efforts. Appreciate and reward your team. Respect, Recognition and Rewards can be the powerful in building cohesive bonds with your employees.