Can you train Managers to be emotionally intelligent? image


Can you train Managers to be emotionally intelligent?

Written by Erica Bassford, Head of Aspire, LI Europe Ltd

The CIPD and Simplyhealth 2019 Health and Wellbeing at Work Report found that stress is one of the top three causes of short-term absence and that the second biggest cause of workplace stress is poor management. With that in mind, it is essential that businesses are investing in their managers.

Think about the best manager you ever worked for. What was it about them that made them such a good manager?

Were they invested in your development and success? Did they teach you more than any other manager? Did you feel as though they understood you, had your back and wanted you to reach your potential?

When we think about who we viewed as good managers when we started our careers, they are usually the people who had great leadership skills and lots of emotional intelligence. They were the people who got the best from us, inspired us and taught us.

Do we think about the manager who was really efficient at filling out forms? Do we rank our managers by how good their paperwork was?

Probably not.

Yet, when companies promote employees into management roles, they usually promote those who are good at the ‘doing’ work. When they train managers, they usually train them on processes and policies and systems. Emotional intelligence is difficult to quantify, so it often gets overlooked.

And therein lies the problem. Managers need both technical skills and emotional skills to be effective at motivating and managing their employees. It’s not enough for them to understand the systems and processes; they need to know how to engage the teams so that the teams are motivated to do the work.

The question is, can we teach people the soft skills needed to motivate and lead?

It might not be entirely possible to teach empathy, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t areas that can be improved. Developing soft skills such as conflict management, active listening, communication, time management, assertiveness and delegation will help build the confidence and self-awareness needed to be an effective leader.

These soft skills should become part of every manager’s personal development plan. Just as they need to keep their technical competencies up to date, they need to continually build on their emotional skills too.

The Ambassadors Academy gives manufacturing professionals the opportunity to share best practice and learn from each other. This is a chance to discuss technical aspects of manufacturing as well as to learn how to implement changes effectively using soft skills to engage and motivate teams.

If you’d like to know more about this opportunity, visit our Ambassadors webpage.


We are pleased with the progress we’re making at the Gweedore site, indeed we’re so pleased that we’re planning to roll out the programme to our other manufacturing sites.

John Donnelly, General Manager, Largo Foods, Ireland

It’s been running so well, we could do a crossword!