I will try as much as possible not to make this a research paper. This article is focused on how leaders can capitalize on emotional intelligence in dealing with the current nCov disease and post-recovery strategies.
Possessing emotional intelligence has been described by experts as a soft skill that can increase one’s wellbeing. Leaders who are conscious of their emotions and those of others have the privilege of ameliorating relationships. It’s also a privilege to critically observe multiple perspectives of a given situation, and accept other’s feelings about the event. The skill, though, received criticism for its theoretical foundation, measurements and interactions with other phenomena – the concept and general effects gained popularity in the 1995 book ‘Emotional Intelligence’ by science journalist Daniel Goleman.
“Our emotional response is driven by the proximity of events” – Piyush Shrivastava. The surges in the current health pandemic continue to be deeply felt; huge financial losses, possible economic recession, business shutdowns, high unemployment rates, thousands of global deaths and legitimate emotional hopelessness.
Let’s briefly look at what the term ‘Emotional Intelligence’ means.
The ability to identify and understand emotions, recognise the powerful effects of those emotions, and use that information to influence and guide behaviour – the concept may be new, but has greatly influenced the way people think about emotions and behaviour.
What it means to be emotionally intelligent
We’re living in abnormal times, and emotions are among the most important things being undermined. Many writers and analyst have not failed to note the world’s financial crisis from the impact of COVID-19; how countries are losing control of containing the virus; the heartbreaking death tolls; businesses filing bankruptcy, and what the new future of business could look like – we have turned blind eyes to the grievous emotional damage this pandemic is causing, which will leave more than half of the world’s population possibly traumatised.
Currently, thousands of non-essential services employees have been laid off globally – many of these workers have not had the privilege of any emotional therapies. Highlighting the heavy baggage some of these workers have to endure in a time of panic and stringency; various countries lockdowns have left many hungry mouths and empty pockets, questioning their hopes of survival against the virus. Emotions can be the enemy, if not well-managed.
A vivid example of failed application of emotional intelligence is the case of President Trump’s outburst at journos during his briefing updates; it’s not surprising he makes the headlines for most trends. It can be excused, the stress and pressure for political leaders dealing with the pandemic and the need to protect their citizens – effective leadership is crucial, and most if not all leaders have a high degree of emotions. The four components of emotional intelligence are listed as:
- Social awareness, and
- Relationship management
For leaders to improve their emotional intelligence, it’s imperative they understand how to manage these competencies to the full. Leaders with high emotional intelligence are more likely to manage crises effectively under pressure and stay the course in worst situations.
To improve employees’ engagement and total wellbeing, businesses must also understand how the coronavirus impacts their employee’s lives – and not just within the formal space but outside the workplace. If leaders can be informed and guided by the extent to which the crisis affects their business activities and turnover rate, they can effectively communicate with their team to advance the organisation.
By mastering emotional intelligence as leaders within any setting, ranking empathy as a priority skill will boost performance and employee support systems, and relates to leaders connecting their personal experiences with those of others (citizens and/or employees). Goleman indicated in his book that emotional intelligence, EI, accounted for 67% of the abilities viewed as necessary for superior performers in leaders, and mattered twice as much as technical expertise.
However, the more in-tune leaders are with their emotional intelligence in whichever capacity they lead, the more effortlessly they can transition from reaction to response – a key action heavily missing in some leaders’ response to the current happenings.
A need for emotional structure
The exponential growth in awareness of emotional intelligence over the years can’t be denied. Emotional intelligence is critical – how can leaders in the workplace and employees develop this essential skill? Statistics reveal that 60 to 75% of HR managers value emotional intelligence over general intelligence – IQ. Work productivity and overall performance, decision-making and workers’ relationships are found to directly linked to emotional intelligence.
Strong leaders exhibit the best elements psychologists identified with emotional intelligence – the ability of leaders to fine-tune employees’ predicaments in moments like this, supporting them to bounce back to life after the nCov pandemic and sympathising with their losses are the reasons why emotional structures need to be put in place toward post COVID-19 recovery. Because leaders are emotionally intelligent and aware of themselves, they can consistently strive to achieve the best results.
Why we need to create a framework for emotional structure:
A sense of accountability leads to self-regulation. With self-regulation, a leader can consciously present thorough appropriate approaches that can result in productive impacts – one will possess the ability to redirect disruptive emotions. Accountability being a challenge for most leaders, one must find the balance to implement self-regulation and accountability.
- Defined culture
Instigate a culture constituting the components of emotional intelligence. To avoid unnecessary disputes and rivalry, a culture of open communication, trust, respect, and transparency will be effective in resolving tension at the workplace.
- Measuring performance
There’s no foolproof way of measuring emotional intelligence. Explore the areas you want to develop – awareness for others, flexibility, emotional resilience, conflict and crisis-handling to list some examples.
- Building trust
Trust is an essential tool in business – trust between employers and employees and trust earned with customers. High trust environments foster engagement and performance. Trust can be built on any level to promote business success; building it requires multiple emotional competencies. Identifying other’s feelings is being conscious of your behaviour and altering it to the benefit of each individual. Similarly, customers’ loyalty and purchase are established on the trust created by businesses – customers’ behaviours are highly related to emotional intelligence; if well-managed, it could give businesses a competitive advantage.
Emotional Intelligence v Critical Logic
There have been countless arguments regarding the practical application of emotions and logic in decision-making. Critical thinking is an important aspect of emotional intelligence. Being able to assess one’s emotion and understanding how to manage their situation is an element of logical reasoning; both can play a role in how we think and behave – the synergy is unavoidable.
The emotions we feel can also compel us to take actions and influence the outcome of decisions. Emotions are before thoughts, the former come before the latter. Understanding the components of emotions and critical thinking will lead to more rational decisions devoid of biases – evaluating emotional information using critical thinking.
The underlying truth is that emotional intelligence improves the ability to be aware of your own emotions and others, to understand and manage situations – while critical thinking forms the basis of our emotions, analysing and deducing to inform and guide.
It’s very important to understand that emotional intelligence is not the opposite of intelligence, it’s also not a win of emotional intelligence over critical thinking – it’s the unique intersection of both.
The essence of Emotional Intelligence – EI
By understanding the value of emotional intelligence in the workplace and dealing with customers, organisations will do whatever it takes to improve EI. With the perception of emotional intelligence, though considered flawed by some opinionists, it’s undeniable that it’s more evident in action than words. Largely, EI is responsible for most percentage of business performance. “No one cares how much you know until they know how much you care” – Theodore Roosevelt
A leader’s strength is in their ability to be in tune with themselves, their emotions – recognising emotions. To understand one’s emotions means recognising your strengths and weaknesses. This gives you the grace to demonstrate empathy toward others.
Emotional intelligence is an integral part of forming meaningful relationships – relationships are key to business success and growth; establishing trust among workers, management, partners, and customers.
While our emotions are said to be driven by impulses over which we have little-to-no control, we have the ability for self-management and control over the resultant emotions and reactions – the ability to manage emotions
How to Improve
You display emotional intelligence when you are conscious of the emotions you experience. An emotionally intelligent person understands how to identify conflicts and resolve them in rational ways to build relationships. However, an awareness of these emotions is the first step to improve.
11 Ways to Improve Emotional Intelligence
- Observe how you feel
- Practice self-awareness
- Pay attention to how you behave
- Be responsible for your emotions and behaviour
- Show more empathy with yourself and to others
- Stress management
- Confidence and flexibility
- Respond instead of reacting
- Utilise listening skills
- Maintain a positive attitude
>>>The writer is the CEO of Commec Group, a business development consultancy. She is a multiple award winning Business Development Consultant and a Writer. For business and engagements: [email protected] / www.commec.group