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Developing Emotional Intelligence as a Manager

Psychological Safety

15 July, 2021

Rima Hatoum
Rima Hatoum

Director of Product Management and UX at SOQUIJ

Rima Hatoum, Director of Product Management and User Experience at SOQUIJ, toes a fine line between keeping the peace and saying it like it really is, for better or for worse.


When you’re an IC, you're sort of in performance mode all the time. You perform and perform and perform. When you’re promoted, it’s usually not an accident, because you’re performing quite well. As a manager, however, you have to solicit a different kind of confidence or a different kind of skillset that you didn’t really have to call forward before. I call this the emotional aspect of management.

Over time, you discover your own leadership style, and there are many different types. You will exhibit different colors of leadership, depending on the context. All in all, we are all unique. Your own style may differ from other managers.

Actions taken

It’s super important to come to terms with your identity as a person. We are who we are; you need to accept that. This will sound cliche, but I find that we are personally challenged as human beings when we first step into a managerial role.

We all know that those upsetting moments happen. You complain about your boss, you complain about the company and your colleagues. We all go there sometimes. You have to come to terms with the fact that you cannot please everybody all the time and you have to be okay with that. When you’re a leader, not everybody is going to agree with every single call that you make.

As a result, there may be times where you deliver a message that was not intended, or perhaps not as eloquent as you would have liked for it to be. Sometimes, everybody loves you and you’re the best. The next moment, an unpopular decision made could go over unfavorably. People don’t like you all of a sudden.

Refining ourselves as communicators and challenging ourselves on that human level takes a lot of confidence. You have to find a way to keep evolving in your means of communication with others. You are always developing as a person and a professional.

This is your career. This belongs to you. It’s all about working on yourself. Have the courage to say what needs to be said with tact. People will admire that and gravitate toward you. It becomes contagious. Not every day is easy, least of all for me. When things go right, you have to acknowledge that. It’s beautiful to celebrate success with your team. Soak it in, but don’t let it go to your head. If you do, the criticism will also end up cutting you twice as deep, too.

Lessons learned

  • Trust is one of the most important aspects of a functional team. Trusting one another allows you to speak those necessary truths that may be hard to hear at times.
  • When you’re leading others, it is so important to embody confidence. You need to keep it real. People will feed off of that confidence, conviction, and charisma.
  • You need to have a clear vision of who you are and who you want to be. Make the time for intention-setting. What kind of leader do you want to be? What values do you want to project? Without this sense of identity, you will be easily influenced by others.
  • I meditate as much as possible. Purify your environment and take a few moments to yourself to clear your head. Live your life with intention.

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