Emotional intelligence just became the world’s #1 leadership skill.
As stated in this INC.com article, “Emotional intelligence is the ability to identify, understand, and manage emotions–both in yourself and in others. This ability is important to develop in everyday life, but it can be lifesaving in the face of a panic-inducing situation like the coronavirus, because it allows you to keep emotions under control so you can make balanced, reasonable decisions.”
How Emotionally-Intelligent Leaders Act
If you’re like most companies, you’ve had to reconfigure your operations in 72 hours or less and help your team continue working productively while also working remotely. Suddenly you’re a virtual team, whether you like it or not.
As your operations shift, remember to act as an emotionally-intelligent leader. Here are some key points to remember:
- Acknowledge what your employees are feeling
- Reassure your teams that you’ll get through this together
- Communicate often – in the absence of information, people will make things up
- Be transparent about the circumstances
Transparency is enormously important right now, even for companies that usually prefer not to “overshare” with employees. A global health scare leaves people feeling vulnerable. If you’re transparent about how things are unfolding, you’ll gain respect and trust by showing authenticity.
Use Plans & Encouragement
Having a routine will help your employees cope with the newfound uncertainty in the world. Help your team members plan their day in advance so they can maximize their work productivity around home-schooling and other personal demands.
When in doubt, be proactive. Take the initiative to help your employees plan their time and stay organized during this difficult time.
Proactive planning might include:
- Helping them select their top three highest priorities for the day before the day begins
- Rescheduling meetings to work within a realistic schedule
- Selecting their highest-payoff activities outside of their three priorities, which may have changed drastically since they began working remotely
Remember Empathy & Ask Questions
We can’t emphasize this enough: Your employees need some empathy right now. Think about how much they’re dealing with: new technology, working with kids at home, co-working with spouses and roommates, demands on their internet bandwidth, not to mention constant fear over a virus that could harm them or their loved ones.
If it feels a bit strange to suddenly be showering your employees with empathy, here’s a natural way to handle it: Just ask simple, kind questions.
- How are you?
- What is your biggest challenge right now?
- What can we do to make this easier for you?
- Is there anything you’re working on that you’re particularly worried about? (Meeting a deadline? Letting a client down? Not getting something to a team member on time?)
For more tips about showing empathy and emotional intelligence in your leadership, take a look at the latest whitepaper from Leadership Resources. It’s all about brushing up on your emotional intelligence and keeping your business running smoothly during challenging times.