The current economy in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic is adding substantial stress to many businesses in Alberta and across the globe. When an organization is hit with a crisis, approaching the challenge with emotional intelligence is of utmost importance.

Emotional intelligence refers to “your ability to understand other people, what motivates them and how to work cooperatively with them,” says Howard Gardner, the influential Harvard theorist. An emotionally intelligent leader not only creates a more connected team, but they can also calm those around them with less stress, less reactivity and fewer inadvertent consequences.

In this blog, we explore four emotional intelligence skills for leading through a crisis.

Self-Awareness and Self-Management

Self-awareness is recognizing the emotions we feel and being aware of why they occur. In times of crisis, stress runs high. Having the insight to be honest with yourself about how you’re feeling gives you more control over your emotions and coping capabilities. Self-management is controlling one’s emotional behaviours, resulting in more constructive, thoughtful actions.

During the pandemic, many businesses have been required to close or transition to remote work. In this circumstance, a leader with strong self-awareness and self-management skills can remain calm and cool-headed, seeking solutions rather than reacting with fear, anger or anxiety.

Social Awareness

Social awareness is the ability to comprehend others’ perspectives and empathize with what they may be going through. With uncertainty hovering, panic, stress and anxiety may be setting in for many of your employees. A crisis cannot be taken on alone. Your team needs to know that you’re there for them so that they can be there for you.

Employee morale and satisfaction are at the heart of successful businesses. With fears of illness, changes in the workplace, and an unknown timeline on when things will go back normal, your staff need to know you care about the challenges they and their families are facing and will be there to support them in good times and bad.

Relationship Management

During a crisis, communication often comes down to delivering difficult news the right way. Whether it’s employee layoffs, reducing hours, or shifting to remote workspaces, knowing how to sensitively convey this information is vital to upholding positive relationships and reputations. No matter what your organization faces, managing relationships with current and past employees is crucial for future success. If your organization is put into a position where layoffs or terminations occur, don’t leave your employees or business hanging. Cenera offers expert Career Transition services to support Alberta businesses through the difficult process of employee terminations.

As the world works its way through dramatic changes during the COVID-19 pandemic, leaders must rely on their self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, and relationship management skills to tackle whatever hurdles come their way. Leaders who can improve their emotional intelligence and adapt to the circumstances will be far better prepared to find the road to success amidst all of the chaos surrounding them.

Leading through COVID-19 has not been easy, and business is far from usual. In these trying times, we encourage you to ask for help and lean on the support our professional coaches can provide. Please contact us to learn more about our Coaching Through Crisis program.

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