How Emotionally Intelligent Leaders Communicate During COVID-19
In this period of COVID-19, maintaining a steady line of communication with your team is one of the most important things to do in order to become an effective leader. However, the quality of communication between yourself and your team can vary. Even if you actively communicate with your team on a regular basis, it may not be enough to clearly define what it is that you want to achieve together.
As a leader, you have to not only be aware of your team’s content but the content that you’re providing as well. That content is your leadership. The quality of communication that you have with your team is only as effective as the quality of leadership that you’re presenting to them. In order to become more effective as a leader and as a communicator, you have to possess emotional intelligence.
Emotional intelligence is the ability to manage ourselves and our relationships effectively. Having emotional intelligence integrated in your leadership will change your team’s perception of you as their leader. In this case, it is the ability to step back and look at yourself and at how others view your attitude and behaviour.
Now, ask yourself this question: How often do you, as a leader, take the time to do just that? If your answer leans towards “not often”, then this may be the time for you to do so. Make use of your time in self-quarantine to become a better leader not only for your team but also for yourself.
Here are three actions that a leader must take in order to utilise emotional intelligence in communicating with their team and themselves:
Daniel Goleman, who proposed the concept of emotional intelligence, encourages leaders to utilise the time that they’re given for self-reflection. As stated before, possessing emotional intelligence means being able to step back and look at your leadership from a reflective standpoint. When reflecting and questioning brings out new information about yourself, you possess greater insight into your role as a leader and your leadership skills. Communicating this insight to your team will help establish a clear distinction in your role as a leader that is reflective of what their goals and intentions are.
Leaders gather feedback
Gathering feedback from your team to improve your performance and development both as an individual and as a leader is one of the most essential steps one must take in order to become more effective. Feedback should be focused on performance improvement. Encourage your team members to be open and honest about their assessments. They should be forthcoming in providing feedback to you when requested or as required. Your job as the leader is to then respond to the feedback. The same principles apply to you when you critique your team.
Leaders act, not react
An effective leader is able to identify the situations in which they tend to react, rather than act. Reacting gives the power to the situation, rather than to yourself. When one acts in the face of adversity, it is a conscious decision to take the situation into their own hands. This is a sign of maturity in a leader. The ability to adapt and adopt different behaviours in response to provocative situations communicates to the team that you’re a leader that’s level-headed and ready to face whatever comes your way, leading to an increase in trust in your leadership skills.
By taking into consideration these three actions, this is how leaders learn to become better communicators to their team and to themselves. One of the few benefits that the COVID-19 pandemic has given to us is the time to grow that is motivated by our own will to become better versions of ourselves. If we’re not using that time to do just that, then we can never be as effective as we want to be.