Emotional Intelligence in IT Leadership
In recent years, the benefits of emotional intelligence (EQ) have been touted in leadership studies and seminars all over the world. And technology in the workplace has only expanded its reach with the rise of hybrid and remote work environments. We wanted to apply that same practice to the IT world.
How many times have you heard someone say “I’m not a computer/technology/smartphone person?” And how many times have you seen or been a part of an exchange where one party is an IT professional, the other party isn’t, and some version of the phrase “it’s like the IT professional is speaking a different language” has been uttered?
The communication rift between tech-savvy professionals and tech-averse professionals has been around for decades. One way to close that gap is to infuse IT leadership with some of the core tenants of emotional intelligence. Let’s discuss the importance of emotional intelligence in IT and technology-heavy business sectors.
What Is Emotional Intelligence?
Emotional intelligence is the ability to understand and manage your own emotions. It is also the ability to recognize and influence the emotions of those around you for positive reasons. Since the mid-2000s, emotional intelligence has been a key component in determining which people will be good leaders, managers, executives, and other top-level positions.
Emotional intelligence is most commonly broken down into 4 main components:
- Self-awareness: one’s ability to understand their own strengths and weaknesses, and to recognize how their emotions can and do affect workplace interactions.
- Self-management: one’s ability to manage their own emotions, especially in times of stress, and maintain a positive outlook.
- Social awareness: one’s ability to recognize others’ emotions and to “read the room” effectively.
- Relationship management: one’s ability to influence, lead, and mentor others, as well as the ability to successfully resolve conflicts.
The components of emotional intelligence also provide a framework for its importance. Effective leaders, no matter what professional field they are in, must cultivate the ability to manage their emotions and the emotions of others in order to navigate the human elements of business operations.
And there are few industries that need that kind of focused relationship management acumen like IT.
Emotional Intelligence in IT
The Enterprisers Project recently released an article outlining the top 3 reasons IT leaders need emotional intelligence.
The first reason is that employees need to feel valued. We are actually seeing this play out on a national scale right now with the current labor shortages and the struggles related to it.
Employees are looking for more than just a paycheck when they come to work. They want to feel important, and they need to understand what their role brings to the company in terms of workload and quality of work.
One of the best ways to utilize emotional intelligence in your IT departments is to minimize instances of micromanagement. Trust is a huge component of emotional intelligence, and it’s an important trait for any leader. As IT leaders, we often have to balance the emotional, human element of doing business with the analytical and structured practices that allow IT teams to operate in a way that protects a company and its data, networks, devices, and other digital assets.
There is immense pressure in IT to meet tight deadlines and perform at the highest level of work quality. That added stress makes open and honest communication even more important.
Emotionally Intelligent Teams Work Better Together
IT is a vast and complex field. It often means partnering with other developers, leaders, and tech personnel to get the job done right.
But because of the nature of IT work – with its short deadlines and high-stakes task lists – employees and teams can quickly fall out of sync if one or more team members are struggling.
IT leaders are busy and that often means prioritizing the work over the people who are doing that work. But this can create issues, and emotional intelligence is a great way to solve them.
In the vast majority of cases, teams work better together when they not only respect their peers as competent coworkers but also know their team members on a personal level. This also helps employee retention and overall morale.
The Effect of Emotional Intelligence
When you put your people first, you can’t lose. IT leaders can use emotional intelligence to build up their own teams. This then creates more opportunities for those teams to do better work and create more positive customer interactions.
Within any business today, there are places where technology and people meet. And your IT team (whether they are in-house or outsourced to a company like Verve IT) is the place where all your technology and all your people meet the most.
IT and EQ – A Powerful Combination
While Verve IT is a technology company, we’re a service firm first. We understand that, in the end, our goal is to use our IT and technology expertise and tools to help people.
And we do that by offering all-you-can-eat service structures on our security services and products, including our managed IT services. Managing people and managing technology are things your business has to do. Why not let Verve’s client-forward tech solutions help you run your business more smoothly?