New Times New focus on EI | black keyboard with red button saying emotional intelligence

New Times Require a New Focus on Emotional Leadership

I think you will agree that we are still living through a period of extraordinary uncertainty characterised by a threat to our physical safety, our economic security and daily conditions which may last well into 2022.

One of the consequences brought on by the Covid 19 pandemic is an undercurrent of emotional disturbance characterised by rising levels of anxiety, depression, fear and stress. Leaders are not only confronting these challenges from a personal point of view but are also having to help the individuals on their teams to cope with their own experiences and emotions whilst also trying to achieve key performance targets and innovate in a marketplace that is rapidly changing form and function.

Key to creating an environment where innovation and collaboration can still take place is creating an environment of physical as well as psychological safety. When people are taken care of physically and feel they are acknowledged and understood in an authentic and empathetic way, they feel empowered to speak up and contribute to the company they work in with confidence.

The degree to which leaders can manage their own stress and feelings is a reflection of the way their teams will respond to the crisis and the personal challenges they are facing. To create the excitement and purpose they need to inspire their teams to greater performance during this time requires a caring growth mindset that is somewhat different to the type of authoritarian leadership mindset we had become used to before the pandemic.

Leaders in this environment of change and disruption need to develop their self-awareness, emotional management, social awareness and relationship management skills to get the best out of themselves and their team members. They also need to get to understand themselves and their team members on a far deeper level so that they can ascertain the strengths they have on their team based on the type of personalities and the types of intelligence they can tap into to leverage diversity and configure exceptional project teams who create products and solutions that outperform their competitors.

Building up these emotional intelligence skills combined with redefining a clear vision for the work that is done by their teams will not only increase their own confidence and motivation but also inspire their team members to follow them.

When there is a lack of emotional intelligence in the work environment, particularly now, self-leadership and team-leadership faulter, communication becomes strained and staff become disenchanted and disengaged, losing their ability and motivation to think critically and creatively.

The way leaders employ their emotional intelligence during this time will to a large extent determine the achievement of their team’s goals, metrics and financials. Leaders who invest in developing their emotional intelligence will not only improve their own performance, staff engagement, productivity and the bottom line but will also prepare them for a future which may be characterised by further uncertainty and volatility.

Emotional intelligence is no longer just a “nice to have”. In the world we live in today, it is a crucial set of skills which will determine your success or failure as a leader.

Invest in our Leading with Emotional Intelligence programme and shift your performance in a new way that is consistent with our new reality. It will not only change your perspective, it will breathe a fresh emotional energy and vitality into everything you do.

This article was written by Richard Cullinan, Director of our EQ faculty and the creator of our Emotional Intelligence courses. 

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