Personal Finance

Why emotional agility is key in business leadership

Summary

  • Leadership capabilities and expertise are needed now more than ever as young business leaders attempt to formulate and execute contingency plans.
  • It is almost impossible to separate leadership from emotional agility because the two help in self –awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy and social skills.

Business organisations go through constant change as profits fluctuate, sales increase and decrease, productivity levels change and customer behaviour also shifts. Covid-19 has presented businesses with unprecedented challenges, trying their resilience and ability to adapt.

Leadership capabilities and expertise are needed now more than ever as young business leaders attempt to formulate and execute contingency plans. It is almost impossible to separate leadership from emotional agility because the two help in self –awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy and social skills.

During unprecedented situations, it is easy for young business leaders to be constrained by old ways of working. When a seed hits the ground, it takes a combination of fertile soil, water, and sunlight to grow and exactly the same applies in business. Business leaders should allow and appreciate a combination of their thoughts as well as embrace change and emotions positively so as to become emotionally agile. This way, it will be easy to shift mindset to the new normal at hand and navigate the unknown future with ease.

It is common to see business leaders who are so passionate about a particular strategy and path so much that they claim to be scared of change due to the existing environmental changes. However, upon taking a closer look, one realises that perhaps it is not the changing of the world around them that they are scared of, but the changes in themselves. Largely, this is because they do not like the new person that they become. It is at this point that young business leaders are invited to view emotions as an asset that should be leveraged in strategic decision making. Emotions should provide business leaders with insights to navigate daily business challenges and so they should not be scared to stay with them long enough to discern meaning.

The required emotional agility will allow business leaders to manage, interact and navigate their experiences to achieve the desired business outcome or results. Emotions is what make people human and as such business leaders are forever dealing with subjective feelings that determine how they take action and motivation behind those actions. David and Congleton said “Effective leaders don’t buy into or try to suppress their inner experiences. Instead they approach them in a mindful, values-driven, and productive way—developing emotional agility”. I cannot agree more.

Having a structured system to deal with the emotions as a business leader makes one responsible and calls for the use of insights gained to grow business especially during times of uncertainties like now. This makes it easy to take advantage of the existing situations to quickly mobilise response mechanisms and transition to what next in business. Emotions should be used to evaluate the world by proactively noticing them, evaluating and integrating them into complex business decision making matrix.

Ms Kiambati is senior lecturer Karatina University