Managing Organizational Crisis through Emotional Intelligence

Karthik Anveshan, Emotional Intelligence, General Psychology, Mental Health, — Issue 10

“EQ training is a ‘must do’ training needed by all leaders in organizations. We need it personally for growth, and our employees need us to be self-aware of our emotional footprint on the people we work with.”

– Joni Earl, CEO

Sound Transit

Crisis is very much part of our lives. It comes out of nowhere and surprises us. Covid-19 is one such crisis, although we have to deal with number of crisis situations in our daily lives, personal and professional both. The global pandemic of Covid-19 has put forth innumerable challenges for our business leaders and industries. From health care to government, school systems to non-profits, almost every organization has experienced unprecedented challenges over the past few months that have tested the values and skills of its leaders. Managing and navigating through this uncertainty requires mental and emotional strength and immunity, courage and compassion. The manager who can understand emotions accurately and clearly may often be better able to anticipate, cope with and effectively manage change.

Business leaders who can “embrace the emotional side of an organization, will infuse strength and meaning into management structures, and bring them to life.”1 In brief, leaders who can use their feelings and their knowledge of them constructively will have certain advantages over those who cannot.

Emotional intelligence is the capacity to understand one’s own emotions and feelings and also to empathize with the feelings and emotions of others.2 It is an essential component for leaders whose communities are impacted by crises, whether interpersonal and small-scale or a widespread pandemic. Emotional Intelligence (EI) can be considered as an internal toolkit, a collection of faculties’ leaders and managers can develop that will help them to understand and regulate themselves, and more skilfully manage their relationships. Developing emotional intelligence equips leaders with reliable internal resources to exercise in times of increased complexity. Such crisis situations provide extraordinary opportunities to strengthen and apply these vital competencies.

To be prepared for any unexpected crisis requires immense patience, compassion, empathy, trust, and a grounded emotional understanding of the self and the changing situation around the person. To be able to lead with these qualities requires a search within that is to be self-aware, which is the first important component of Emotional Intelligence. Things do not work positively, conflicts do not get resolved easily and communication is not effective unless and until a leader, a manager or the head of any and every organization is well aware about himself or herself. What is working within, what is not working, where I am going wrong, how can I change my perspective and control my reactions and actions to bring more proactive, positive and healthy change? These are some important questions which need to be worked upon. Any crisis situation requires a thoughtful approach and leaders who work on their Emotional Intelligence traits will face challenges with confidence and resilience.

EQ or Emotional Intelligence is now commonly viewed as important for businesses to survive and grow. Some studies indicated that about 60% of the larger global companies have Emotional Intelligence in their employment pre-screening tests and process. Studies indicate that those individuals struggling in business;  owner, management or staff, employee tend to score low in EQ Emotional Intelligence and for the reverse, individuals doing well and more successful in business tend to score high in EQ Emotional Intelligence.3

Whether medicine, education, or business, there’s no doubt that insight into the importance of these skills is growing day by day. Writing for Fast Company, Harvey Deutchendorf reports: “According to the World Economic Forum’s Future of Jobs Report, ‘The awareness that emotional intelligence is an important job skill, in some cases even surpassing technical ability, has been growing in recent years. In a 2011 Career Builder Survey of more than 2,600 hiring managers and human resource professionals, 71 percent stated they valued emotional intelligence in an employee over IQ; 75 percent said they were more likely to promote a highly emotionally intelligent worker; and 59 percent claimed they’d pass up a candidate with a high IQ but low emotional intelligence.’”

Emotional Intelligence is a fundamental ability for healthy and affective interpersonal relationships and interpersonal communications. Researches indicate that Emotional Intelligence is a learned behaviour and ability developed early in life and not genetic. The second component which needs to be worked upon by leaders and managers is self-management. Once a person becomes aware about his/her qualities, one needs to learn emotional self-control, an important part of emotional maturity, to learn to control one’s feelings and/or expressing them in appropriate settings and appropriate ways. An emotionally intelligent leader is goal oriented and self-motivated and has the ability to keep working despite setbacks. The manager with emotional intelligence is optimistic, has a positive outlook, and hopes for the best and prepares for success. In short he/she develops the skill of resilience and adaptability.

Social awareness is another important aspect that needs to be developed by every organizational head to positively face any crisis situation.  It is important to develop empathy, one of the pillars of the ability to form connections with others, understanding and acknowledging others’ emotions. Empathy is the ability to identify how others experience and share emotions. Showing concern and interest into what others are saying is a part of active listening skills. Practicing active listening requires one to listen to others with eyes and heart, and to be present in the conversation physically and emotionally. Another great way to gain emotional intelligence is, by reading people’s body language and observing how they interact and respond to one’s behaviours. These techniques will provide managers and leaders with insight and feedback on how others perceive intentions and behaviours. A leader needs to be service orientated, helpful, contributing to the group effort, and displaying good listening skills. Organizational awareness is the ability to explain oneself well and be aware of how one is being understood, as well as sensing the level of comprehension of emotions of the people of one’s organization.

The last but not the least important component of emotional intelligence is Relationship Management. It is the ability to use the awareness and the emotions of others to develop and maintain relationships. These skills are vital in working in teams and with partners, clients, vendors and customers. It also incorporates inspirational Leadership, like being a good mentor, role model, and authority figure. An emotionally intelligent leader would be effectively able to motivate others. He/she also has conflict management skills, and the skills to improve relationships, negotiate, and lead; the ability to settle disputes, differences of opinion, and misunderstandings.

Building better relationships can only begin when a person decides it’s important and takes steps to get there. It’s an exercise in honesty and focus. Being honest with yourself and paying attention to your body and its responses helps emotional intellect. It is also important to be aware of changes in mood; particularly in situations that manifest happiness, sadness, frustration, disappointment, anxiety, fear and angry. Diminishing old habits and learned behaviours and replacing them with effective responses, will improve relationships with business associates and customers.

Emotional intelligence is one x-factor that helps to achieve the goals successfully by any organization. Attaining new knowledge and increased awareness of self and others puts the business on the right path to healthy relationships with partners, improved communication with customers, and better employee work performance. Conflicts can exist between business partners, sales, customer service teams and the client. When customers feel that the business organization cannot relate to their needs and concerns, the opportunity for relationship building diminishes and interferes with potential revenue. The key to building better business relationships is having insight and rendering positive behaviours in the four skill areas of emotional intelligence (personal awareness, personal management, social awareness and relationship management). 4

A study conducted by Talent Smart, tested emotional intelligence alongside 33 other important workplace skills, and found that emotional intelligence is the strongest predictor of performance, explaining a full 58 percent of success in all types of jobs. In that same study, 90% of top performers have a higher emotional quotient and make $29,000 more annually than lower EQ counterparts. Now the pertinent question is could emotional intelligence be the missing x-factor for your business? 4

Bibliography

  1. Barach, J.A., and Eckhardt D.R., Leadership and The Job of the Executive, Quorum Books, Westport, Connecticut, 1996.
  2. Goleman, D. Emotional intelligence.New York: Bantam Books, 1995.
  3. https://www.thehrdirector.com/features/leadership/importance-eq-business/
  4. https://mindflash.com/blog/how-emotional-intelligence-training-improves-business-performance

Suggested Reading

Goleman, D. (2008). Working with emotional intelligence. Bantam Doubleday Dell Publishing Group.

Brief Profile

Dr. Rashmi Soni

Licensed NLP & Emotional Intelligence Practitioner

Life Skill Coach and Personality Development Trainer

State Counsellor for COVID-19 for U.P. by UNICEF and U.P. Government

Counsellor for Women Power Helpline 1090 by U.P. Government, UNICEF and U.P. Police

E mail: rashmi_psychologist2003@yahoo.co.in 

Ph: +91 9415063105

Dr. Rashmi Soni is an Associate Professor, Head of the Department of Education in Sri Jai Narain Post Graduate College, affiliated to University of Lucknow. She has 20 years of work experience. She is a Ph.D. in Education from University of Lucknow. Her research was on Intellectual’s Expectations from a University Institution: An Exploratory Study. It is the first Ph.D. in India on Higher Education. She has also authored six books on Higher Education and Psychology. A Motivational Speaker and a Mindfulness Practitioner, Dr. Soni is a visiting counsellor in many schools and conducts number of workshops and orientation programmes for parents, teachers and students in Lucknow and other states. She is a Psychological Counsellor for Childline and an Active Member of many organizations like People for Animals, Human Unity Movement, Humsafar organization for Women, and CCYRCI (Circle for Child and Youth Research Committee )and Member of International Child and Youth Research Network (ICYRN).

Dr. Soni is an Expert Counsellor and Trainer for Muskurayega India Initiative by NSS, U.P., UNICEF and Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI) has been conferred with Shakti Samman Patra by U.P. Government for Mission Shakti Project on 24th December 2020 for providing Mental Health Counselling Psycho-social support to Women and Children, Rashtriya Gaurav Samman Puraskar for Health and Education by Health and Development Association in association with Global Achievers Foundation on 27th August 2012; “Shantidoot” Shiksha Gaurav award by World Peace Movement Trust, Meerut, on 17th November, 2012 at an International Seminar. Dr. Rashmi has research interest in Higher Education, Adolescent Psychology, Emotional Intelligence, and Life Skills & Attitudinal Development. She has to her credit number of papers published in renowned National and International Journals. Till date she has delivered more than 100 Lectures on various academic platforms, Universities, colleges and training programmes. Dr. Rashmi is associated with Ramakrishna Math and Mission, Lucknow and conducts Personality Development Workshops for youths.