The importance of real emotional intelligence at a time of crisis
Emotional intelligence is vital for a leader to successfully manage a team during times of uncertainty.
The last couple of years have certainly put leadership to the test, but what are the characteristics that are non negotiable to lead us through unpredictable difficulty?
“Having the ability to manage fear, uncertainty and doubt while maintaining a clear vision and really be there for people in a supportive manner, is what really makes a clear, successful leader in chaotic times.”
Ben Walden, our Founding Partner and Director of Classic at Olivier Mythodrama explains his take on what we need from a leader during times like these.
When everything is going well within an organisation, there is no real need for overly present leadership. It is when we are faced with challenges that we really need a visible leader to act with confidence and a calm demeanor. If our leadership shows signs of stress in chaotic times it can lead to an escalation of negativity within the workplace.
People look for inspiration in tough times and if they don’t get it, it can cause great resentment and increasing fear.
That isn’t to say that leaders cannot show authenticity and their own vulnerability, but it has to be the right moment. This could be via a confidant or mentor away from their direct team to ensure they have an outlet to share their own fears and uncertainty.
By maintaining their own wellbeing, understanding their own vulnerabilities and fears and seeking support when needed, leaders will have the strength and confidence to lead during times of crisis.
Communication is also really important for a strong company culture. Leaders with real emotional intelligence will communicate regularly with their team, providing clarity aswell as allowing their team to have a voice themselves. The balance between providing information and listening is key to successful leadership.
"Clear communication is key to success both on personal and professional levels. A self-aware leader will hold the tough and difficult conversations with openness and respect. It is a skill that is paramount to any leader. Having clear channels of communication avoids any form of confusion therefore maintaining solid and respectful relationships, avoiding water cooler moments, and crucial in eliminating a gossip culture."
Greg Kirwan our CEO, strongly believes in the power of solid communication.
This also brings up the idea of empathy and compassion. By creating an open forum where staff can share their concerns and worries it is important that leadership are understanding towards this. As humans we need that level of empathy to feel understood, trusted and safer in our working environment.
A true successful leader will inspire, motivate and engage others but this does come with a strong sense of self and understanding of others.
As we come out of the pandemic, strong, emotionally intelligent leaders will be crucial to lead teams to success and overcome the hardship we have faced over the last 6 months.