Emotional Intelligence- A Key Ingredient in COVID-19 Leadership

Tom Kamaliki | 18th May 2020

Productivity
Emotional Intelligence- A Key Ingredient in COVID-19 Leadership

Emotional Intelligence- A Key Ingredient in COVID-19 Leadership

Tom Kamaliki | 18th May 2020

Productivity

 I will never forget the evening in 2017 when the Kenya Airways Boeing 7…..7 went mad while landing in Kisumu city in Kenya. It was the most turbulent landing I have ever experienced both local and international.  One could not help the screams of despair as others called on their maker. My neighbor, a lady from Italy held tightly on me, screaming helplessly.  But one good thing - the pilot was in control. He continued to encourage us that the turbulence will last for only a short while. Of course, it came to pass, and we landed safely.     Turbulent times call for emotionally stable leadership to help navigate through painful cycles of uncertainty and the losses that come with the crisis.  Emotional Intelligence is the ability to effectively manage em...


 I will never forget the evening in 2017 when the Kenya Airways Boeing 7…..7 went mad while landing in Kisumu city in Kenya. It was the most turbulent landing I have ever experienced both local and international.  One could not help the screams of despair as others called on their maker. My neighbor, a lady from Italy held tightly on me, screaming helplessly.  But one good thing - the pilot was in control. He continued to encourage us that the turbulence will last for only a short while. Of course, it came to pass, and we landed safely.  

 

Turbulent times call for emotionally stable leadership to help navigate through painful cycles of uncertainty and the losses that come with the crisis.  Emotional Intelligence is the ability to effectively manage emotions. Like the emotions expressed by passengers in the plane  mentioned above because of  the danger posed by the turbulence, so are the emotions that employees are expressing during this COVID-19 pandemic because of the threat that virus  is posing  on their only source of income. The decision for Virgin Atlanta Airline to slash off 3000 jobs for instance, calls for emotionally sober leadership to handle such a crisis of such magnitude.

In this regard, we who are in leadership positions responsible for handling this COVID-19 crisis need to exercise these qualities among others:

 

  • Empathy & compassion; Let us be able to willingly ‘wear’ the shoes of those affected in order to feel how they (shoes) pinch. With empathy, the chances of feeling compassionate get wider, hence the need to help becomes obvious. So, do we empathize with those affected by job losses?  How are we reaching out to them to offer any help? – either psycho-social support or material. Do we forward them any relevant openings?
  • Effective communication: Studies have shown that effective communication is 7% of the words we say and 93% is tone and body language. Concise communication enables alignment and a shared sense of purpose. How do we package our communication to those affected by this COVID-19? Do we show concern in our communication?
  • Managing relationships:  If we do not families, then we have family members to care for, which make us shoulder many responsibilities. Building relationships enables us gain greater emotional intelligence. When our respective teams feel understood and appreciated, strong positive relationship is built. Have we therefore taken time to build and maintain strong and productive relationships during this COVID-19 pandemic? How are we relating to our colleagues and managing our teams at work?

With these few tips plus others not explored will make us be celebrated as great People Managers

The writer is a Senior Human Resource Consultant with over 10 years' experience in senior management.


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