KINDNESS word made with building blocks on a light backgroundBy Rita Pagan

The struggle is REAL.  We’re all stressed in every aspect of our lives right now.  There are days I feel like I just can’t function, mentally, physically, and emotionally.  It’s overwhelming.  So having emotional intelligence is at the utmost importance right now.

Emotional intelligence is the ability to make emotions work for you instead of against you.  How do we all keep this at the forefront?  How do we consider these things as we interact with loved ones and co-workers?  I’m going to need a t-shirt that says “I’m sorry for what I said during COVID-19.”

So, where do we start?

  1. Take care of yourself. Step away from the news, exercise, take a social media break. Your mental health is important.
  2. Self-awareness. This involves remembering what you need to do to remain calm and safe. In our current crisis, this means you must consider how your decision-making may be influenced by your emotional state, and then adjust your choices accordingly.
  3. Practice empathy. If they are feeling anxious or overwhelmed, don’t compare their situation to yours (or to others’). Instead, think of how this situation–or another one–makes you feel similarly anxious or overwhelmed.
  4. Listen. Resist the urge to interrupt or propose a solution. Instead, focus on understanding the how and the why: how the person feels, and why they feel that way.
  5. Be patient and kind with yourself and others. We’re all adapting with new issues and new emotions.  Be patient and kind as we all learn.

These challenges are also opportunities to put your emotional intelligence to work. Doing so will help you to connect with your people, to take your relationships to the next level, and to pull together. Curious about your EI and how you rate?  Take the Global Leadership Foundation EI assessment.

Rita Pagan is IPMI’s events and exhibits manager.