COVID-19 spread has been emotionally challenging for everyone, changing our day-to-day life in unprecedented ways making all sections of the society think about protecting themselves and each other and help in preventing further spread of the disease. Those running businesses are trying to save jobs, school leaders trying to keep families and kids safe while educating them at home and public health experts are making sure that hand washing and masks are not marked to be as luxuries.
Emotional intelligence during COVID-19 focuses on maintaining our emotional balance under these stressful circumstances. Emotionally stable people can tolerate minor stresses of day to day living without becoming upset or anxious. They are able to maintain their composure. Emotional stability enables a person to learn a more balanced way of perceiving the problems of life. This ability and planned perception helps one to develop logical thinking and rational evaluation. One is able to develop feelings that help in understanding the realities of life which promotes high ego strength.
Following are some tips to lead with emotional intelligence in times of pandemic:-
- Having control over our thoughts – We should not let our emotions drive our actions. If our emotions are in charge, we never fully know who we become in that moment which may lead to many conflicts. In a crisis environment we should always try to avoid extremes.
- Creating a psychologically safe environment - Nobody wants any kind of conflict with people we work with. The presence of emotional intelligence during COVID-19 creates psychological safety in the organization, which always accelerates employee performance.
- Be welcoming to disputes - It’s your job to simultaneously increase intellectual friction and decrease social friction. The key to a successful business is diversity of thought and constructive criticism to solve problems and find solutions.
- Modeling empathy and removing the risk of being mocked – Mockery is a fear-inducing behavior which causes people to retreat into an unusual mode of personal risk. Leaders, who are able to apply their emotional intelligence during COVID-19, keep in mind that this event is impacting everyone, not just a certain class of people. Nobody has an idea what others are going through and that is what makes leaders more generous and calmer.
- Invite challenges -Emotional intelligence is the ability to interact effectively with other human emotions. Yes, it has various components but at its core, it is about whether one can lead with empathy and influence. Think of emotional intelligence is the delivery system to convey our knowledge and experience to generate skilled performances and results.
- Be innovative – technology has made it possible to work anywhere today. With video conferencing and emails and online chat, work could be continued effectively from home.
- Show confidence – A time of crisis like this requires a leader who is confident in his/her ability to make a decision and to see it come through. It is their job to make sure that their subordinates are emotionally intelligent enough to deal with crisis whenever it comes.
- It is good to be optimistic – leaders around the world are seeking solutions and communicating with the public to prevent panic and spread of disinformation in such times. This is the time to be grateful that emotional intelligence during COVID-19 could be accessed to make educated decisions. Leaders must show their optimism and gratitude for the workplace and to be thankful that everyone understands. This sense of optimism and gratitude will allow new ideas and solutions to come through.
Being able to see the light at the end of the tunnel during a crisis like this is a key skill that leaders must possess. Resilience in the face of a crisis is one of the most important attributes. By taking responsibility to be optimistic and find the right solutions, leaders are helping themselves as well as their organization.