Emotional Intelligence in the Face of Crisis

January 27, 2021

COVID has brought about an unprecedented season of crisis and uncertainty. What started off as a few weeks have morphed into months of shut-downs, disruptions in production, and rising unemployment and insecurity. It has become what my coach called a VUCA: a Volatile Uncertain Complex and Ambiguous time for many entrepreneurs like myself. And yet, every crisis also brings opportunity. This is an excellent time to develop your team. Team personalities seem to come alive when uncertainty presents. Both the good and the bad. As a leader, it is critical to understand how this plays out in team dynamics, as well as how it impacts your leadership.During this shift in “business as usual”, have you thought about what kind of a leader you are?  What about the people in your team? How is teamwork in this season? What about the synergy? As you think about your team, have they been able to deliver on targets in the midst of working remotely, or you are finding yourself chasing monkeys and overwhelmed? Perhaps you have more time on your hands to review your strategy because your team is working amazingly!The MBTI (Meyers Briggs Type Indicator) is a self-assessment tool that provides a framework that can help you better understand the personalities that make up your team. Sinapis has embedded an overview of the MBTI in its training. A quick glimpse gives you a picture of 16 personality types that play out in the team. As a progressive leader, it is worth understanding so that you can offer much-needed support to your team. MBTI presents four pairs of categories that aid in explaining how we act. You can take an online MBTI test, after which you will be given an assessment of your Meyers Briggs profile.


Here’s an example of how knowing your team’s MBTI profile can be helpful:Juma, the CEO of a Business Services Organization is an ESFP. He is an excellent leader with a strong need to belong, thus relishes relating with others. He seeks harmony and cares about the feelings of others, displays loyalty, and connects easily with people. However, he talks a lot, makes assumptions, steers away from conflict to salvage the relationship, is hesitant to try new things, and does not pay attention to his own needs. Juma must learn to manage Akoth who is INTJ with a strong desire for order, space to think, and minimal supervision. As Juma learns to understand his own tendencies and biases as well as those of his team, he can more effectively lead in a way that is effective. He can also customize his approach based on the uniqueness of those on his team, creating a space that capitalizes on each person’s strengths and weaknesses.It is one thing to understand how the people on your team are wired. But an effective leader can activate these differences to add value and deepen the capacity of the team. As the team leader, consider how you can support each team member:

  1. Use affirming words as you leverage each team member's strengths.People give their best when they are known and encouraged.
  2. Prioritize skill development in the areas of challenge.Create a culture of personal growth and development in your business.
  3. Assess how your personality is impacting the team.Model self-awareness and acknowledgement of how others are wired.
  4. Learn the art of checking-in with the team and having moments of fun and relaxation.Use your understanding of the differences in your team as a positive!
  5. Help the team embrace new technology progressively as they learn how to integrate work life balance during this unique season.Each person will approach things differently based on their unique personality type.

Entrepreneurs must keep the vision alive yet also embrace change to help their teams remain relevant and engaged. This was true during pre-COVID times and even more so today. By increasing our capacity for emotional intelligence, we can increase our resilience in the face of whatever life throws at us.  

Leonard Nyamai is an organizational effectiveness coach and Sinapis trainer with over 13 years of experience in training and people development. He has excellent facilitation skills. Those who have attended his sessions describe him as passionate and energetic. Leonard has an easy-going personality that enables him to bond well with clients. He is the Founder Director of ICA Consulting Ltd, a vehicle focused on the development of soft skills in individuals, teams and organizations.

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