As we move further into the COVID-19 pandemic, we are recognizing the need to adapt and shift instead of waiting for, and hoping for, things to get back to normal. Since we have no idea how long this may go on for there is a continued need to move forward into our “new normal”. This is often easier to do in theory than in practice and can be a substantial test of our Emotional Intelligence (EQ).
What is Emotional Intelligence?
Emotional Intelligence is the ability to understand, use and manage your own emotions in positive ways to relieve stress, communicate effectively, empathize with others, overcome challenges and defuse conflict.
Emotional Intelligence is crucially important as it has been proven to be a key indicator of human performance and development potential. The good news is that EQ is not static, it is consistently shifting over time and with focus and work you can develop your EQ to strengthen your ability to connect with others and enhance your leadership presence.
Why is EQ important during a pandemic?
During a crisis, such as COVID-19, it’s ‘go time’. We know that in such times the most effective leaders are those with composure, intentionality, and compassion. This is evident throughout our society and is particularly visible in healthcare where resiliency and adaptability are challenged daily, and sometimes even hourly. EQ is essential for supporting our healthcare teams, as well as maintaining our focus on delivering safe, competent, and effective care to our patients. Strong EQ helps us to navigate these turbulent times and uncertainty.
As we anticipate, and as many areas enter the second wave of infection in Canada, it is vital for emotionally intelligent leaders to step forward to drive our response.
Tapping into your EQ to will support you to lead in a way that will inspire confidence in your team and to be as effective as possible. Here’s how it works:
- Emotions are important pieces of information that tell you about yourself and others. Often, we shy away from connecting with our emotions during a crisis as it is uncomfortable, and it takes us out of our comfort zone.
- Being in touch with our emotions can help us to make informed choices, without letting our feelings override our thoughts and control. Ignoring or dismissing our emotions creates ground for becoming overwhelmed and inflexible, being aware and present with our emotions helps us to understand how they influence our thoughts and actions.
This link between self-awareness and self-management is important to how we relate to others during a crisis. It enables us to observe the actions and behaviours of others while also paying attention to the changes in our own emotional experience.
This empowers us to tailor our approach to the relationship and our communication in order to better support the other person. Address their fears to the best of your ability, be decisive in your actions and decision making, and be generous with your empathy.
If you are curious to assess your level of EQ or you want to strengthen your emotional leadership competency during a crisis, check out our leadership coaching services. TallTrees Leadership also offers virtual workshops for teams on Emotional Intelligence.