09/21/2010 03:31 pm ET Updated Nov 17, 2011

The Emotionally Intelligent Manager--Be One!

During the last two years, I have asked top executives and managers from the most elite companies in the world, "Would you like a more productive staff?"

Naturally, they all answer with a resounding "YES!"

"If that is the case," I tell them, "Manage with emotional intelligence."

Because most of these presentations are short, I go right into the details. I'll summarize some of them for you.

Emotional Intelligence is best defined as "the ability to manage your emotions, feelings, moods -- and those of others -- as a source of information that allows you to navigate through life more effectively."

On an everyday basis, EI translates into managing your emotions, dealing with adversity, giving and taking criticism, self motivating, managing difficult people, keeping teams effective and many other tasks that are essential to your success.

Developing your own EI is essential and if you are a manager, it is also essential to apply your EI to your staff. Here are some How To's:

Increase your awareness to your staff's current emotional landscape. It would be EI smart, perhaps at a staff meeting, to begin asking your staff what emotions are dominating their day. Your task is not to evaluate their feeling, or to ask for justification. Rather get your staff to "befriend" their feelings by helping them articulate and share what they are experiencing. In so doing, you are helping them manage their emotions.

Help staff manage anxiety and frustration. Most likely, you will find that your staff is experiencing anxiety and frustration on a daily basis. Since most people do not manage these emotions effectively, it is EI smart to help them.

Anxiety communicates uncertainty, so keep your staff informed about key issues and encourage them to share information with each other. On an individual basis, help your staff clarify their uncertainties and determine the actions to take that can best introduce some certainty into the situation.

Frustration communicates blocking of a goal, so those staff members who are frustrated are feeling that despite their best efforts, they are going nowhere fast. Help them delete some of their frustration by establishing daily and weekly goals that they can achieve. It is also EI smart to have a short midday support meeting at which staff can help each other problem-solve some of the day's frustration -- seeking and giving support is the goal, not complaining.

Help your staff become more effective problem solvers. Many times, staff frustration is a result of the ineffectiveness in how they approach a particular task. Typically they will try harder, but more often than not the results are not achieved and frustration mounts -- and frequently brews into anger.

Be an EI manager by pointing out that a problem is not the situation or a particular event such as too many demands, conflicting priorities, not enough resources, a bad economy. Rather the problem is how they are responding to these situations. Get them to view their "problems" as a collection of ineffective responses. It is very empowering to realize while you cannot change a bad economy, but you can change how you respond to it.

Similarly, you are not going to get more than 24 hours in a day, but you can change how you use those hours. Generating novel ways of responding will solve many staff problems and minimize feelings of frustration.

Create Emotions for Success. There is a great deal of empirical research which indicates that confidence, optimism, tenacity and enthusiasm enhance performance. As an EI manager, your goal is to create these emotions within your staff.

Start the day off with generating enthusiasm with an early morning, five-minute humor meeting. The agenda is to tell jokes for laughter. It might seem silly but the staff will leave enthused.

Whenever possible, spread good news with the intent of creating positive thoughts about the future -- its optimism. Talk up future goals (achieving short term goals will energize the staff to go forward).

Before the day is over, make sure you have a short success meeting. Sharing the successes of the day -- no matter how small -- help build staff confidence and send people home in a good mood, thus increasing the likelihood they will return in a good mood the next day.

Taken together, these easy to use tips can give you and your staff a big boost, especially in these hard knock times.

As the world's most interesting psychologist, put emotional intelligence to work, my friend