RAISE YOUR EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE: Emotional intelligence is a critical soft skill for management accountants, especially during crises such as a pandemic

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Author: Kristine Brands
Date: Mar. 2021
From: Strategic Finance(Vol. 102, Issue 9)
Publisher: Institute of Management Accountants
Document Type: Article
Length: 992 words
Lexile Measure: 1310L

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THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC has challenged leaders across the globe and thrust them into a difficult situation fraught with tremendous uncertainty and stress. Laura K. Murray, a psychologist at Johns Hopkins University, said, "Leadership will be one of the most heavily tested skills throughout the coronavirus pandemic" and that emotional intelligence, also referred to as emotional quotient (EQ), is a critical leadership skill for navigating the new normal. EQ is the ability to identify and manage one's own and others' emotions to help overcome challenges, resolve conflicts, and relieve stress. According to psychologist Daniel Goleman, EQ is characterized by five factors: self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy, and social skills. He reported that almost 90% of the difference between top-notch and average leaders was attributed to their distinct levels of emotional intelligence (bit.ly/3d0xcEy).

Under normal circumstances, management accountants' jobs may be stressful. They need to pay attention to detail, face deadline pressures, work long hours, keep up with technical updates, and serve stakeholders who don't understand accountants' responsibilities. These challenges may cause them to be overly emotional in stressful situations and collaborate or communicate poorly. This behavior compromises composure and demonstrates a lack of soft skills. Times of crisis call for accountants to demonstrate high EQ to support their organizations' finance teams and business operations. The good news is that you can raise your EQ.

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