Can Emotional Intelligence Help Leaders Deal with COVID-19?

Serving leaders can leverage emotional intelligence to help deal with COVID-19.Serving leaders can leverage emotional intelligence to help deal with COVID-19.

Emotional intelligence (EQ) can help you better prepare for COVID-19 in the coming weeks and months. For serving leaders, it’s an opportunity to develop a stronger connection and relationships with your team.

People are afraid.

They’re concerned COVID-19 is running rampant and there’s nothing they can do. It reminds me of the stories my mother shared about polio epidemic in the middle of the last century. She spent three years in an iron lung.

When I was learning about emotional intelligence, it struck me as a critical element in training our future doctors dealing in high stress situations. Emotional intelligence could have made a huge difference for the polio patients and their families.   

The responsibility of leadership to help others

We may not be able to immediately eradicate this disease globally, but it is critical we begin developing new ways of administering treatment to people around the world.

We still have much to learn about the COVID-19. I spent the past couple of weeks trying to better understand what’s happening. My clients were looking for ways to help their workers through these uncertain times.

Various parts of the world are being impacted differently. The doctors I’ve talked with feel like we’re at the tip of the iceberg with what we know about COVID-19. I feel odd saying this, the data scientists I know are also trying to identify potential early patterns for treatment options. It’s amazing how far  we’ve come in such a short time.

We have such incredible tools at our disposal. Many people working to understand what can be done on a local and global scale. Much of the work we’ve recently done to eliminate polio from the world by developing different vaccines and delivery systems should help us defeat this new disease. Bill Gates has been on the leading edge of advanced treatment options dealing with polio and other diseases for a number of years. Check out his article How to respond to COVID-19.

We need to use EQ when dealing with COVID-19.

Many people are fearful both for their families and their communities. Emotional intelligence can help us towards a brighter tomorrow. It might be helpful to share how different elements of emotional intelligence can help serving leaders empower the people around them.

Be Self Aware

The first element of emotional intelligence is self-awareness. It’s you. How aware are you of what you’re feeling? This requires accurate self-assessment. Its hard to get a good reading when you’re not sleeping or eating and you’re overwhelmed by a constant flow of negative information.

Make sure you include your own self-motivation and self-confidence. It is easy to understand how all this COVID19 news is impacting you and your own mental health. My suggestion limit TV and avoid living on social media for the next several months.

Use Self Management

The second element of emotional intelligence is self-management. This includes emotional self-control.  This calls for increasing transparency and adaptability. How are your dealing with this epidemic? Do you still take the initiative when knowing what’s needed your own health? How are you adapting to changes to your schedule?

Are you optimistic? Are you in charge of your future direction? Has this changed over the past several weeks?  Many of the leaders are on the edge of being overwhelmed by the increasing flow of unconfirmed information going to their offices.

Emotionally intelligent people feel like they are still in charge. They don’t do well when they feel like victims.  COVID-19 is going to defeated. It’s going to take time and resources.  

Have Empathy for Others

The third element is where I see a tremendous opportunity to help our families, friends and communities. We must have empathy for others. We need to understand how others are feeling. We must help them work their way through the fear.

Leaders should look at COVID-19 with beginner’s mind. This increases the number of new possibilities available to stop the virus from spreading.

Keeping a service orientation is a critical element in success in helping others deal with their challenges. Many of the children I talk with are fearful. Parents are uncertain on what all this means. It’s understandable. Remember, your kids are a lot smarter that we were.

You need to have discussions with your parents. I’ve had several conversations with the people in my community about what can be done for older people who are at increased risk. It takes a community effort to help others to retain their health and independence.

Your children are in a constant state of information overload.  As parents and caring people, we must help them to get back into emotional balance. It’s not easy to do this. But we must.

Manage Your Relationships

The final element of emotional intelligence is relationship management. We have already seen significant disruption in our critical relationships.  We need to empower others to help people in their communities.

Many of us have our strongest relationships at work. What happens when we don’t have an office to go to? How do we remain connected and productive while working remotely? For younger people, much of their lives are tied into work and their community organizations.

Work harder to remain connected to the important people in our lives. This is huge test of how the future of work may look. Serving leaders need to help their people through this evolving process.  

It’s easy to respond by command and control during these times but we must work to inspire others with actions and words. Any time you deal with change of this magnitude there is going to be increasing conflict.

As serving leaders help our teams to understand that we need to be at our best to defeat COVID-19. In this environment, a little inspiration and helping others goes a long way to reduce conflicts.

In the next generation of organization, we will see increasing teamwork and collaboration. COVID 19 has just accelerated this transformation.

Over the coming weeks I’m reaching out to my community to see how we might be able to help battle this disease. I know a number of key players globally from my work with Microsoft, IBM, and several larger healthcare organizations.

You can learn more about the entrepreneurial efforts to defeat COVID-19 here. If you would like to get more involved, we could use your help. Drop me a line

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