5 Ways to Use Your Emotions More Effectively at Work
Long gone are the days of shouting over the meeting table, sabotaging your co-workers, and being overly aggressive to get what you want.
While aesthetically, we like the style and the banter of American Psycho's Wall Street, it has no place in the modern world. But that leaves one question: How do you get ahead in business without resorting to toxic traits of masculinity?
One way to get around this is by using emotional intelligence, a skill that allows you to read, control and express emotions. Educational organization The School Of Life suggests that using emotional intelligence could not only make us more successful in the workplace, but more fulfilled in other areas of our lives too.
Sounds great. But does it actually work? To find out, we asked three successful men how they harness the power of emotion to excel in their jobs. Read on for their five top tips.
Make A Personal Connection
Remember how pleased your mother-in-law was when you remembered to ask how her Tai Chi class was going? The same is true at the office. A little effort to make a connection goes a long way, whether you're dealing with colleagues or customers.
Mike Greenup, vice president of marketing at Crowne Plaza hotels, knows that building genuine relationships and connecting with your audience is one of the most effective ways to thrive in business.
“Think about when you travel and stay at a hotel. A comfortable bed and fine bed linen is of course important, but it might not make your stay memorable or make you loyal to that hotel for future trips.
“For business travelers, the assumption is that they want an efficient, functional service,” Mike says of Crowne Plaza’s target guest. “The reality is that they want an emotional service with real connection. We're more likely to return to the same cafe every morning, for example, if the barista remembers our name rather than because they serve the best coffee. Although both would be good.”
Put Yourself In Their Shoes
Okay, so you've mastered the art of personal connection. But it's not enough to simply establish rapport—you have to understand their needs and motives. In short? Work on your empathy game.
Uber is a global phenomenon, so we spoke to its UK editor, Dan Copley, to find out exactly how the brand uses empathy to engage with its vast audience in a constantly evolving landscape.
"A good idea should be a good solution to a difficult problem," says Dan. "If I want to get an idea across in a meeting, in order to convince people that my idea has value, I always bring it back to audience empathy. If you can base your idea around audience insight and your knowledge on how they think, how they feel and what they need, you'll have a strong argument. It's this empathy and understanding that helps our ideas land."
Don't Be Fake
Lying about being fluent in French to impress on a first date might be tempting... but we can just about guarantee that this strategy will have zero long-term ROI. In dating and in business, it's almost always better to be authentic.
The Good Yard's Oli Midgley, who went from running a street food stall to owning two hit coffee shops in under four years, learned this lesson early on.
"A lot of people from a finance background start with a business plan, a USP and a business school brief," he says. "We had one simple starting point: We wanted to sell the food that we liked to eat, play the music we liked to listen to, and be surrounded by the people we liked to hang around with. And it's worked!"
Be Your Own Biggest Fan
When you're up against a new challenge, it can be easy to psyche yourself out—especially when it seems that everyone else has heaps more experience and training. But when that annoying voice of self-doubt enters your mind, do your best to shut it down and replace it with a dose of confidence.
Even if that self-belief feels slightly forced at first, it can be enough to keep you going when challenges arise.
"Me and my business partner have been mates since we were kids," says The Good Yard's Oli. "When we were finishing university in London, we were asking ourselves what we were going to do. That snowballed into us starting a market stall with a street food concept around salads."
Oli and his partner didn't come from a traditional business background, instead they used their knowledge of what was missing in the market and believed in what they were doing:
"Self-belief is probably the biggest part of success. Your psychology around what you do is really important," he states. "Business is a really difficult environment to do that in though, especially when you don’t know how to submit a tax return. But we’ve always had a focus on the product and the people."
Use All The Tools At Your Disposal
Perhaps you're nailing it in the personal connection department or you're an absolute pro at empathy. Don't stop there. To give yourself a real edge in business, you need to utilize all of your emotional skills. And that means that, first, you have to know what they are. Companies are already helping their staff hone in on these skills.
Sarah Stein Lubrano, the head of content at The School of Life, says: “We’ve seen enormous growth in the number of teams and organiations requesting education in emotional skills over the last few years, and we only expect this to continue—especially as technologies can take over jobs and tasks that don’t require a personal connection. We believe these skills are the future of work."
Crowne Plaza has partnered with emotional intelligent experts, The School of Life, to launch a new training programme to help its employees become more attuned to guests' needs through a heightened awareness of emotional intelligence.
“We call it ‘Dare to Connect’ and it focuses on employees developing six core skills: vulnerability, self-belief, connection, anticipation, authenticity, and perseverance," says Mike Greenup. "By adapting these skills to their day-to-day roles, employees are better able to react to guests’ emotional cues and make authentic connections without following a script.”
Feeling like a few of those are less refined in your personal arsenal? May be worth brushing up.
This story originally appeared on Esquire.co.uk. Minor edits have been made by the Esquiremag.ph editors.