Emotional Intelligence: 3 things you can do now to make a difference

Emotions are running high during this global pandemic. The need to recognise, understand and manage these emotions is crucial as we strive not just to survive but to thrive through this adversity. We need to choose behaviours that will ensure the performance and achievement for ourselves and our team members.  We need to choose practices and strategies that maintain a successful working culture, that value the contribution of all and put the wellbeing of our team centre stage.

Emotional Intelligence has risen in rank.  No longer a “nice to have”, it takes its status as an essential skill to ensure you can lead yourself and others in these turbulent times. 

So, what is Emotional Intelligence and what 3 things can you do right now to make a difference? 

Emotional Intelligence : What is it?
Emotional Intelligence (abbreviated to EI) or Emotional Quotient (abbreviated to EQ) is a term popularised in a book published in 1995 by Daniel Goleman who claims it is “an ingredient of life’s success”.

According to Wikepedia Emotional Intelligence is “the capability of individuals to recognise their own and other’s emotions, to discriminate between feelings and label them appropriately and to use emotional information to guide thinking and behaviour”. 

American leadership guru and author Warren G Bennis claims “Emotional Intelligence more than any other factor, more than IQ or expertise, accounts for 85% to 90% of success at work. IQ is a threshold competence.  You need it, but it doesn’t make you a star.  Emotional Intelligence can”. 

There has been a growing resurgence and interest in Emotional Intelligence over the last few years. Consider the research from The World Economic Forum Future of Jobs Report which identifies a shift in the division of labour between humans, machines and algorithms. 

The report cites that by 2022, 58% of task hours will be performed by humans as opposed to 71% today. “Automation, robotization and digitization” are impacting the way we work.  That resulting impact is determining the growing skills required by 2022 as humanity balances out AI. And Emotional Intelligence ranks as number 8 in the top 10 growing skills.  

At the time of writing and in the throes of a world crisis with COVID-19, it’s true to say that no-one is immune to the impact, the disruption and heartache that this pandemic is causing. Brittany Kirk, a Learning and Organisational Development expert at US Firm Gibson clams “with great disruption comes great opportunity for us to grow and evolve” and I applaud her positive take on the situation. 

And, whilst Goleman rightly identifies in an article for Korn Ferry Institute that “many large organizations have formulated contingency plans for emergencies” he goes on to say that “most of these plans omit … a crucial factor in effective crisis management: emotional intelligence (EI). Intelligent handling of the emotions that come with crisis is crucial. An emotionally intelligent leader will handle any crisis, big or small, better than someone without EI competencies.”

An emotional Intelligent leader then will be able to achieve high performance despite the disruption and the adversity that a crisis brings by leveraging proven skills and techniques.

Here’s 3 things you can do right now to make a difference:

1.  Acknowledge the emotions you are experiencing
Emotional Intelligence expert, author and trainer Harvey Deutchendorf promotes benefit in identifying and labelling our emotions.

Deutechndorf claims that keeping our feelings bottled up and denying them will only make things worse.  “putting our feelings out there helps us to manage them as speaking them out loud lessens their impact on us. It also helps us connect and share with others who are feeling the same way. This normalizes what we are feeling and helps us feel connected and supported”.

Write down the feelings you are experiencing throughout this challenging time. Know that human natures is such that we will experience a deluge of emotions before accepting and integrating a situation.  I use the analogy with The Change House which you can read more about here.

2. Connect with your team

I always advocate face to face to communication as the crème de la crème of connection. But with obvious challenges during this pandemic it’s not always a viable option.  The next best is virtual connection – we’ve all become adept at Teams and Zoom calls and I would always favour these online connections over a phone call or an email.  Arrange a virtual check in with your team members – ask them how they’re doing. How are they feeling and what do they need from you?

3. Manage your Energy
Personal energy is renewable.  You need to recognise what’s draining you of energy and limit these things.  You need to recognise what will replenish and renew your energy and introduce new routines that ensure you’re in the very best place to support yourself and your team.  This article from Schwartz and McCarthy is one of my favourites for practical and sound advice on managing your energy and is so pertinent at this time


More Posts

Become a truly exceptional EA by combining strategy, finance, marketing and leadership know-how in this accessible and accredited blended-learning Programme. The Mini MBA is for Senior & Executive Assistants who want to master business and leadership skills.

The knowledge and skills you will learn will be equally useful within your professional role and personal lives.

IAM are one of the oldest professional bodies for business and administrative managers in the UK.

During your period of study with Your Excellency Limited, you will have Student Membership status of the IAM.

When you achieve your qualification, you’ll be able to take advantage of a preferential Your Excellency alumni rate and upgrade to full membership status.

Existing IAM members are eligible for 15% discount on listed training prices.

Your Excellency offers professional accredited training through the SFJ Awards.

SFJ Awards are the Ofqual regulated Awarding Organisation for the Level 3 Award in Professional PA and Administration Skills and Level 4 Certificate in Office and Administration Management.

Reserve your place on the SFJ Awards Qualifications

Grow your confidence and study for an accredited, industry recognised professional qualification.


Places are VERY limited for each cohort and every programme of our Mini MBA sells out fast.