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    Why every manager needs empathy, optimism and resilience – and how to achieve it

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    What sorts of skills do managers really need? Ensuring that your team is happy is vital to productivity, energy levels and workplace wellbeing. Skills and effective behaviours expert Emma-Sue Prince (pictured) explains…

    You are probably used to tapping into a variety of skills, techniques and competences to manage people, teams and get the most out of them. You probably have to learn quickly to develop and foster what you don’t have.

    Yet you may not have thought about 3 critical skills that supercharge performance, productivity and commitment and ultimately, happiness in your team.

    These aren’t skills you’ll learn on a management development course but they are skills that you can develop and nurture both in yourself and others every single day and experience amazing results. 

    1. Empathy – empathy is the key for successful, collaborative and effective professional relationships. We all crave being connected and validated – these are huge contributors to happiness and wellbeing. As a manager you must be able to listen well, pay attention and focus. Even though we are all tied to our Smartphones look at this behaviour a lot more closely. If you’re unable to be present and in the moment then you’re equally unable to fully listen to your team or your clients and you will be more reactive as a result. No doubt about it, managers who cultivate empathy will always get the very best results from others because they feel cared for, nurtured and valued. At the same time when it comes to empathy you also need to look after yourself.
    2. Optimism – are you a radiator or a drain? Anyone you work with will be able to answer this immediately. This is an easy one to spot because people so often bring their inner energy into the room with them. It can be quite tangible sometimes. We all know how it feels to be around someone with low energy – make sure you’re not that person. As a manager and leader you need to be HIGH energy, enthusiastic and action-oriented. It’s contagious and it spreads happiness. If you’re not sure how to do this take some time to reflect BEFORE you go into any interaction. Choose optimism and energy and bring that with you. Other things you can do to inject more optimism into your life include practising gratitude and actively seeking joyful experiences and making them part of your day.
    3. Resilience – a hot topic right now and a key skill you want both for yourself and your team. This is all about being able to bounce back fast from setbacks and rejection and to not be afraid to make mistakes.  Failing fast – getting out there and failing and then learning and bouncing back are key here. When is the last time you failed at something? Make sure you do more of that and that you are ok for your team to do so too. Resilience is also about building and nurturing a strong support network for yourself as well as being part of that support for your team. Who is in your network right now? Resilience is also about coming from a strong place – to do that you need to make sure you are sleeping enough, not running on empty and that you can manage stress triggers – the simplest things like breathing – try the 3,4,5 technique of breathing in for 3, holding for 4 and breathing out for 5 – really help.

    About The Author

    Emma-Sue Prince is an inspirational soft skills and effective behaviours expert and author of 7 Skills for the Future (Pearson) – out now and available on Amazon priced £12.99. 

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    Katy Phillips


    All stories by: Katy Phillips