Hi, team! It’s your friend, Mary, with the “I” in Team series where you can find, be, and build your positive influence. Something my team and I have talked about in the past are some ways that you can demonstrate emotional intelligence (EI) through communication. How you communicate is how you create and drive perception. Your communication, meaning your influence, builds who you are in other people’s minds. Communication is a tool that can uplift, empower, and inspire others. Those who are emotionally intelligence, or who wish to be, might sound a little something like this:
“What can I do to help?”
Asking your team how you can help them ensures you remain approachable and available. You can show emotional intelligence by asking what you can do to help, rather than asking if team members need any help. This signals to the team that you are ready and available to assist, rather than simply doing a routine checkup. Sometimes people may feel wary asking for help, especially from a leader; they may have come from a place where they were expected to do everything on their own or figure it out for themselves.
“Thank you for __________.”
It can be easy to take your team for granted, especially in fast-paced environments. Leaders that take a moment to slow down and recognize their team for their contribution with a “thank you” show high emotional intelligence. It’s important to state what you are thanking the team member for to show you are paying attention and demonstrate further EI.
“What I’m hearing you say is __________. Am I understanding you correctly?”
Leaders who repeat their understanding back to employees show high emotional intelligence by demonstrating excellent communication and listening skills (two vital skills of high EI). This is a communication tactic to ensure everyone stays on the same page while at the same time signaling to the employee that you are engaged and actively listening. This is a good chance to give the employee an opportunity to correct your understanding. They will feel heard and acknowledged, even if your understanding isn’t 100% accurate the first time.
“You are a valued member of the team.”
Everyone wants to feel valued and like they belong. Every single person on your team should be valued as their work contributes to the overall success of the organization. Leaders who remind their team members that they are valued are ones who build positive organizational culture. Further, leaders who acknowledge team effort demonstrate high EI by recognizing they can’t do it alone.
“I need your help.”
Everyone needs help; you can’t do it all. Those who recognize that they aren’t perfect and need their team to support them are ones who demonstrate high EI. By asking for your team member’s help, you show authenticity, vulnerability, and transparency, which are all necessary components of building trust in a relationship.
“You are not alone. I am here for you.”
There may be times when employees discuss difficult, painful, or even traumatic experiences with you, and during these times it is critical that you demonstrate high emotional intelligence. Employees aren’t always looking for answers to their problems, they are often looking to feel heard and acknowledged during their time of need. Leaders who have difficult or emotional discussions with employees should always remind the employee that they are not alone. This creates connection and builds trust.
“How are you going to overcome this?”
Whether employees are experiencing a problem with their work, other team members, or at home, leaders who ask their team how they will overcome or solve their problem help elevate their team to consider how they might, in their own way, deal with their own issue. Not every problem brought to a leader needs to be solved by a leader, and those with high emotional intelligence know this. If leaders empower their team members and build their confidence, asking this question can help team members think outside of the box.
“That’s a great question.”
Sometimes employees refrain from asking questions because they feel it might be too trivial. Leaders that have high emotional intelligence know that there are no trivial questions. Asking questions is a way to better understand the world from our own perspectives, so leaders that remind employees that they are asking great questions are ones that build employee confidence. This also helps build positive company culture as team members will be less likely to shy away from asking for help.
“I don’t know but I’ll help you find out.”
Admitting that you don’t know something shows your humanity but offering to help them find out takes it to a whole new level. Leaders who are emotionally intelligent know they can admit that they don’t know, but they also know that they shouldn’t just admit this and leave the employee wondering who to go to next. Those with high EI offer their help and take it upon themselves to resolve questions, concerns, and issues with their team member, rather than leaving them alone to fend for themselves.
Demonstrating high emotional intelligence by communicating appropriately is just one step of the emotional intelligence equation. You also need to remain mindful to cultivate emotional intelligence for yourself so you can better understand yourself and your emotions. By incorporating some of these phrases into your communication habits, you may see your team blossom in confidence and grow a more positive culture. What are some of your favorite emotional intelligence phrases?