How Stress Impacts Emotional Intelligence and the Importance of Mental Health Training for Managers

In a recent statement, Professor Cary Cooper, Professor of Organisational Psychology & Health at Manchester Business School, University of Manchester, said, “To enhance wellbeing, we need more line managers with emotional intelligence, or EQ. We need people who manage by praise and reward, and who realize when you have unrealistic workloads or unmanageable deadlines” (Work in Mind, Personnel Today). This highlights the necessity of emotional intelligence in effective leadership.

The Impact of Stress on Emotional Intelligence

Stress in the 21st century is a growing problem and a leading cause of workplace absence in the UK. When managers are engulfed in stress, they enter survival mode, making emotional intelligence a challenge. Prolonged exposure to stress responses can make these adverse feelings seem normal, but they are far from conducive to effective leadership.

During a stress response, employees focus solely on survival, leading to behaviours such as fighting perceived dangers (e.g., tight deadlines, conflicts, difficult conversations), attempting to flee from situations (e.g., avoiding meetings, and presentations), or freezing. Stress and emotional intelligence are inherently incompatible.

Long-term stress results in disconnection impairs logical and rational thinking, and prevents access to brain regions responsible for decision-making, empathy, and creativity. Therefore, addressing stress is crucial for enhancing emotional intelligence in leaders.

The Role of Mental Health Training in Emotional Intelligence

Cooper’s statement underscores the importance of emotional intelligence in management. Stress significantly affects managers’ ability to lead and interact with their teams. Managers under stress may become over-controlling, quick to anger, and display low emotional intelligence. Their ability to empathise and effectively manage their teams diminishes significantly.

Why Mental Health Training for Managers is Essential

Mental health training for managers is vital, not only to help them recognise stress in their team members but also to raise their awareness of their own stress levels. Such training helps managers develop greater self-awareness, recognise their stress signs, and manage their mental state more effectively.

Managers who have participated in our mental health training programs often report a newfound awareness of their stress levels, which they previously overlooked. This increased self-awareness enables them to manage their stress better, thus improving their emotional intelligence and leadership capabilities.

The Benefits of Mental Health Training for Managers

Providing mental health training for managers can significantly enhance their ability to lead, thereby improving overall employee wellbeing. This training equips managers with the tools to manage their stress and emotional responses, fostering a more supportive and productive work environment.

Take Action: Enhance Emotional Intelligence

Investing in mental health training for managers is a strategic move towards improving workplace culture and employee wellbeing. Sign up for our Manager Mental Health Training program today and take the first step towards a healthier, happier, and more productive workplace.

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