People Matters PM April 2022

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Why emotional intelligence is crucial to effective leadership now

Emotional intelligence has always been relevant to effective leadership, but in a post-pandemic world, it is a vital ability for a number of reasons. During the pandemic, when every-

one was going through a really tough time, there was an increased need for leaders to be “present” for their team members, to be able to connect and engage with them much more. More importantly, to be able to listen to them intently. The need of the hour was empathetic leadership, which allows safe space for employees to express what they are feeling, and also offers the right level of support needed in the circumstances. Executive and leadership coach Harsh Johari says in the post-pandemic world, where work still continues to be remote, the challenge to engage and build trust remains. “When people are not physically around, the social interaction and camaraderie is missing. This can sometimes create a trust deficit between a leader and the team. So, leaders need to be

authentic and genuine. You need to be clear on your intention as a leader. "If at the end of the day, you are just looking for process output and business results and don’t really care about people, it will not work. But if you want to trust your team members because you really want to build strong relationships with them, you really want to help and support them, you really believe that your success is linked to their success, then you have a really good chance to build a high performing team who trust and respect each other. Business results will follow eventually. That’s the sign of an emotionally intelligent leader,” he contends. While the earlier projections of 100% work from home have been unfounded, we are definitely headed for hybrid work-life, says Singh. “As a result, managers won’t have as much face time with teams. More

Employee engagement

time) the emotions a person is experiencing. “But the crux is to understand how those emotions can tend to affect how a person behaves, reacts and decides/makes choices based on the impact of the emotions. The second level of emotional intelligence is social awareness i.e., being conscious of how others feel and how those emotions can impact their behaviours/ choices,” says Gurprriet Singh, managing director, APAC Regional Leader of Leadership & Succession, Russell Reynolds Associates.

If leaders don’t have a high level of emotional quotient, they will not be able to connect authentically with their teams and build meaningful relationships April 2022 |