Emotional intelligence: How to be a more approachable boss

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The title of this article suggests that increasing your EQ, or emotional intelligence, is the way to become a more approachable boss. Actually, the most effective way to become more approachable is to rid yourself of the “boss” moniker altogether. This may be the most intelligent decision you ever make as a manager. And it will be the beginning of your transformation from manager to leader.

People want to work alongside, and for, other people – not bosses. People who know them. People who inspire them. People who support them.

[ Culture change is the hardest part of transformation. Get the digital transformation eBook: Teaching an elephant to dance. ]

Modern leadership creates approachability, which creates sustainable results. Say it with me three times: I will serve and support my people. I will serve and support my people. I will serve and support my people.

Bosses like to boss, and there are many more bosses than leaders in today’s workforce.

That’s easy to say, but it’s much harder to put into practice. Why is the servant leader mindset so difficult? Because bosses like to boss, and there are many more bosses than leaders in today’s workforce. And due to this unfortunate phenomenon, employee engagement is at an all-time low globally.

3 changes to make 

Step 1: Eliminate the “boss” title. It’s one thing to say you don’t want to be a boss – but you need to stop acting like one. And to stop acting like a boss, you must drop the belief that being one is desirable. Bosses work for themselves; leaders work for their people. Do you want people working for you just because of the power of a title, or do you want to enjoy the spoils of true influence? (I can’t answer that question for you, but I’m sure you get the hint.)

A good leader engages first. Bosses sit back and wait for reports.

Step 2: Be the first to approach. A good leader engages first, engages frequently, and engages to further progress. Bosses sit back and wait for reports, which never tell the whole story. People will be reluctant to give all the facts to a person who focuses on finding flaws in everything they see. Those who can recognize brilliance in what they see and make it even better will see the whole picture the first time. Are you that person?

Step 3: Increase your positivity quotient – not necessarily your emotional intelligence. Positivity quotient signifies the degree to which you cultivate an environment in which ideas, engagement, productivity, and progress flourish. Bosses have the lowest positivity quotient in the management hierarchy because they don’t understand the power positive actions have on the performance of the team and the organization.

Leaders who cultivate the talents of others, smile despite stress, readily recognize and reward progress, empower and engage their people, and eliminate blame have the highest positivity quotient. And modern leaders who embody these practices are outgrowing their competitors by increasing shareholder value and creating the best places to work.

[ It takes more than tech skills to drive IT success. Read Essential skills for IT: 7 must-reads. ]

Putting emotional intelligence in action

Modern leaders who get results from modern workforces lead from the front and with authority, not power. They don’t wait for employees to approach them because they are working alongside their people. And they cultivate positive environments where talent thrives.

If you don’t see yourself in these descriptions, it’s time to make some positive changes.

Your people will thank you.

[ Culture change is the hardest part of digital transformation. Get the digital transformation eBook: Teaching an elephant to dance. ]

Omar L. Harris is Associate Vice-President and Country Manager for Allergan PLC in Brazil. He is the author of Leader Board: The DNA of High-Performance Teams available for purchase in ebook or print on Amazon.com.


Understandably, the article focuses on what an individual boss can do to be more approachable and effective. It's important. But so is the managerial system in which the boss and employees operate. Industry leaders like Southwest Airlines, Capital One and hundreds of private companies treat employees like trusted partners, driving and participating in the profitable growth of the company. Good managers become great managers. And because this is a system, the positive results don't end when a good manager leaves. Their engagement and profit results speak for themselves. These Forbes and Harvard Business Review articles provide more background: https://hbr.org/2018/01/more-than-a-paycheck http://www.forbes.com/sites/fotschcase/2016/05/31/engage-your-employees-in-making-money/

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I think you should control your emotions at work especially when you receive bad news. I follow you need to think before you act.

Chris Owner CEL Financial Services
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