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Leading by emotions at a distance

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Shraddha Awasthi - Ph.D. - Associate Professor, Chitkara University Punjab

02-Jul-2021

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In this virtual world the way we work and engage is constantly evolving. This has led to a greater need for bosses that are emotionally intelligent; who generate trust, build engagement, provide leadership and embody empathy.

“Leadership is not domination, it’s an art of persuading people to a common goal”- Daniel Goleman

For the leaders across the world the current situation possesses enormous challenge. The kind of uncertainty becomes much more complex for leaders of today. They are facing number of leadership dilemmas and conflicting demands. They do not even have simple binary answer. Leadership demands are now a days are of an unprecedented nature because both the perspective seems logical, and it is like a game that cannot be won.

In this virtual world the way we work and engage is constantly evolving. This has led to a greater need for bosses that are emotionally intelligent; who generate trust, build engagement, provide leadership and embody empathy.

Virtually employees can lack of emotional and interpersonal connection that makes team and their members more effective. Gone were the days where issues can be formally discussed and advised.  The questions always arises in the mind of team leaders “ How did you get the best from your team during the current time of pandemic.”. Behavioural changes are hard and take practice little by little.

It is of no doubt that leadership is heavily tested throughout the covid-19 pandemic. As believed by Delloitte believed that the ‘DNA of leaders is their ability to think, act and interact differently’.The importance of recognizing and understanding the power of Emotional Intelligence (EI) should not be underestimated in the realities of digital workplace. Many organizations are now using this power of empathy to understand the stories of other side and make the team comfortable in this tough time of pandemic. Like,New Zealand PM Jacinda Ardern took a 20% salary cut to show solidarity with those who lost employment during pandemic, the human side of Tata steel has taken the path of agility with care by not only protecting the earning of permanent and contractual employees but also extended the social security schemes to the family members of employees who lost their lives during this pandemic, Employees health and safety is a top priority for Huawei. Companies now a days partnered with  major hospitals to offer staff and their families a range of health benefits, including rapid medical care around covid. Many leaders organizing various interactive activities for staff such as cooking competition, virtual fitness challenge, drawing competition etc in order to feel connected and maintain the bonhomie.

At last, Emotionally intelligent leaders must recognise, build a sense of connection and belonging for both new starters and current teams. This ability can be achieved through practicing empathy, be real with team members, label their fears and last but not the least take care of yourself.