One of the keys to business growth in 2021 is to become more emotionally aware.

In order to get this economic show firmly back on the road, one thing that will be at the front of the plans going forward is the ability to recognise, understand and develop all levels of emotional intelligence, individually and as a people leader.

Leading the workforce of the future is going to require us to learn new skills, enhance existing skills and take a fresh look at emotional intelligence. We are going to have to spend time working on our self and what we can do to boost our emotional intelligence.

When emotional intelligence is at the forefront of your leader’s operational plans, it may lead you to being able to embrace a more neurodiverse workforce which can be supported well and bring new dimensions to your business. Emotionally intelligent business leaders can identify and honour uniqueness in a person and work with differences well to enhance talent.

It will become more and more important for companies to develop robust support and communication systems that accommodate the needs of all workers.

To understand emotional intelligence, it’s important to break down what is often meant by it and how it can help you and your teams. Some traits seen in an emotionally intelligent person can often look like this:

  • Having a sound understanding of self regulation and the acceptance of what is beyond your control.
  • Having empathy – the ability to recognise other people’s emotions, what’s driving them and how best to empathise with their reaction.
  • A real sense of self awareness and emotional self control.
  • A calm self confidence and purpose in all that they do.
  • Emotionally intelligent leaders strive to develop others and crucially can manage conflict positively and effectively.
  • The more emotionally intelligent someone is, often the more decisive they are in making good decisions.

Good leadership in the changing landscape is vital –  given that many job seekers are looking for remote working opportunities and indeed, many companies are embracing this too. Communicating online, on the phone and via email is common place and here to stay, we have to keep adapting and evolving to be effective, relevant, motivational and supportive.

Taking time to learn how to read and understand body language cues, facial reactions and non verbal clues as to how someone feels will be a huge benefit. Being understanding about the reaction and the reasons behind a response will support the growth of each team member because with the additional information, this will better inform you of how to plan and lead your team moving forward. You can make decisions with their best interests at heart and knowing more about their mindset which in turn will impact how they feel at work, how they respond to you as a leader and ultimately their productivity.

In order to lead through changing and challenging times, it will need our leaders to be generally more aware, more empathetic and be open to reading signals and tone of voice better than ever in order to be able to support their workforce effectively.  Understanding how someone is feeling after a tough virtual meeting or after delivering difficult news is harder without body language and obvious tone of voice or verbal cues. So actively seeking out learning opportunities for how to be better at understanding this and developing yourself in these areas of emotional intelligence would be a very sensible piece of CPD as we move into 2021.