The value of emotional intelligence in difficult times (part 2)

We understand Emotional intelligence (or EQ) as including self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, and relationship management. Additionally, we practice mindfulness to train awareness as the foundation for all other EQ competencies. A sustain practice can get us these 5 benefits.

  1. increased calm and focus.
  2. managing emotions and making skillful decisions.
  3. increasing resilience.
  4. enhancing creativity and innovation.
  5. building connection and collaboration.

Let us explore the three last benefits as we covered the first two in our previous post.

Increase Resilience and Avoid Burnout

Especially right now, as we each face new challenges daily, resilience entails both adaptability and preventing burnout. The EQ skill of self-management allows for deliberate decision making, response flexibility and adaptability. On the other hand, self-awareness helps us identify when our physical, mental, or emotional status is not right. This awareness lets us know that we need to pause and recharge, rather than getting to the point of burnout and becoming unable to function at all. We can also burn out from empathic distress (being overwhelmed by the suffering of others). The antidote to empathic distress and burnout is empathy and compassion, also key skills of emotional intelligence.

  • Gratitude helps us appreciate the things and people supporting us. This (re)fills our tank with deposits of positivity and appreciation.
  • Self-Compassion allows us to respond to our own pain and challenges with care.
  • Compassion is a prosocial response that helps us avoid burnout and overwhelm.

Enhance Creativity and Innovation

This time of coronavirus necessitates a NEW response to the situation, and to our ways of working and being. Creativity and innovation are essential, and they require us to be calm, focused, and have the capacity to manage our emotions and shift out of autopilot. In other words, emotional intelligence is necessary to foster new and creative responses.

Furthermore, creativity and innovation thrive in work environments that allow for new and diverse ideas to be voiced and heard. This requires trust and psychological safety which grows as we improve the quality of our connection in relationships, facilitated by developing our EQ.

Build Connection and Collaboration

In this time of “social distancing,” we need to focus on physical distancing but enhancing connection. When we connect deeply and feel understood, we co-regulate to manage the intensity of our experience in a time of increased insecurity and fear. Connecting from where we really are allows us to move forward, and work and create more effectively together. This type of connection also supports trust and psychological safety, which is essential for effective collaboration and team functioning.

Emotional intelligence skills are necessary for this type of connection: mindfulness allows us to be more present, to listen in a more nuanced way, and give others a sense of being heard and understood. Awareness helps us be conscientious of the impact we have on others, and how our actions may support our colleagues. Empathy is the ability to take the perspective of others, to feel for what they might be going through, and understand that they are coping in their own way. Compassion builds on empathy, asking what you and others need, and what would truly be of service in our lives, work and world.

How The School of We (TSoW) Can Help?

Our approach to build emotional intelligence takes mindfulness as the foundation to cultivate self-awareness, which then becomes the foundation for all the other EQ competencies. When cultivated in this way, we know that emotional intelligence is highly trainable.

We at TSoW offer several workshops and programs that build EQ this way. Let me highlight two:

  • Our premium offering is Search Inside Yourself (SIY). As SIYLI declares, assessments of over 1,500 program participants provide evidence that the SIY program leads to improvement in a broad array of EQ skills, including ability to manage stress, increase resilience, and empathy. We are proud to offer the SIY program in an online format, with the power of the in-person program delivered online during this time of limited physical contact.
  • Additionally, we have developed Moving Forward, a new 8 hours online program to focus on overcoming negative emotions and skill building in areas of most acute need.

In all the programs we run, whether online or in-person, we value bringing people together for interactive and transformational experiences and to connect meaningfully with others.

(NOTE: This article is an adaptation of the post originally published in English on the SIYLI blog under the title “Emotional Intelligence is not optional”)

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