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Growing Your COVID Emotional Quotient (EQ): Leadership During Uncertainty

By Kerstin Woods

I don’t know about you, but I hit the wall this weekend when it comes to COVID. And, I feel like that sensation was shared by many of those in my family and (socially distant) social circle. A recent study showed that 59% of people feel coronavirus has a huge impact on their daily lives.

There was an edginess to the weekend that was palpable. If you are feeling like that, I hear you and I see you. If you’re not, that’s wonderful news.

As a manager, I have to listen to this inner voice of discontent in a different manner. I need to see it as a signpost that drives me to engage with my team. Because, the odds are, if I’m feeling this way, members of my team may be as well.

As a leader, I’m not experiencing COVID alone, I’m experiencing it as part of a virtual body of employees that are impacted by the world around them. I can’t ignore that fact as I seek to maximize positive results in my organization.

Monday Motivation

So, on Monday morning I sent my team a note, sharing with them my weekend frustrations, along with a quote of hope and inspiration. I encouraged them to share an inspirational (or hilarious) quote in exchange that we will review in an upcoming staff meeting.

This act on my part is uncomfortable – it’s vulnerable, real, and personal.  But, it’s necessary. And, if you don’t believe me that vulnerability is a critical skill for leaders, I’d highly recommend you read “Dare to Lead” by Brene Brown. It will challenge you to turn vulnerability on its head – from a fearful negative to a courageous positive.

It’s thrilling how many thank you notes I got from my team after sending that email, a lot of people could relate. And, I think there was genuine surprise at my outreach and authenticity. Which, in turn, got me thinking about leadership in the days of COVID.

My task this week is to create a list of qualities I admire and believe make the best kind of leader. Stay tuned!

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