Written by: Galit Cohen, Executive Contributor
Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.
Emotional intelligence is defined as the ability to recognize, understand, and manage your own emotions, and recognize, understand, and influence the emotions of others.
Emotional intelligence is not simply a superpower in leadership. It’s critical – especially in times of crisis.
A current leader who exhibits exceptional emotional intelligence in their leadership is Ukrainian President, Volodymyr Zelensky.
Zelensky has captured the hearts of millions all over the world through his bravery, inspirational leadership, and overall emotional astuteness.
His infamous response, “I don’t need a ride, I need ammunition” when offered to be evacuated from Ukraine by the US, will likely be printed in history books.
There are three specific elements of emotional intelligence that Zelensky has demonstrated since his country has been invaded and forced to go to war: Influence, Emotional Regulation, and Inspirational Leadership.
Our brain's emotional center depends mostly on external sources to manage itself.
In other words, emotions are contagious; and they are most contagious from people at the top. Leaders' emotions affect everyone around them.
Zelensky has remained strong and steady. Despite having the pressure of leading a warring country, he’s never shown fear. He’s made it clear to his people that he is in the war with them.
We look up to leaders who can appropriately manage their emotions. They are our guide for how to feel – especially during times of uncertainty.
Zelensky’s ability to maintain a lionhearted presence unconsciously signals to everyone fighting in Ukraine to do the same.
While maintaining this presence, President Zelensky has never communicated a deceptive reality, he’s remained honest about the current situation
Influence is a vital aspect of leadership. As a leader, you need your team (in this case, country) to buy into your vision.
The influence competency of emotional intelligence refers to the ability to gather support from others with relative ease and lead an engaged group, mobilized, and ready to execute the tasks at hand (Source).
Influence however does not just come to those with an authoritative title– even one as powerful as president.
Nowadays, people are not just blindly obeying orders. A leader's true influence is the power their people voluntarily give them.
“People work hard for money, harder for a good boss and hardest for a cause” ‒ Tanner Corbridge
Since the start of the war, Zelensky has been consistently posting selfie videos reminding the people of Ukraine, along with the rest of the world, of the cause they are fighting for.
He’s constantly reminding people about the cause.
These videos have served many purposes but one big one is to rally and motivate his people by constantly reminding them of the cause.
Inspirational Leadership refers to the ability to motivate and guide people to get a job done while bringing out their best work.
Leaders strong in inspirational leadership competency can communicate a group's shared mission in a manner that “offers a sense of common purpose” and thus galvanizes.
Zelenskyy profoundly understands that his role as a president of a warring country is to motivate and equip Ukrainians to the best of his ability to defend their home.
He focuses his people on what they can control such as creating weapons, rather than what is currently out of their control like the outcome of the war.
He's doing what he can to equip his people for success.
He regularly connects with his people with clear and authentic communication. He doesn't hide behind the complicated language.
Brief disclaimer: What is happening in Ukraine is horrible. I can’t pretend to know exactly what is going on.
No one knows what's happening unless you're there firsthand. This article is based on what I've read and seen in the media.
Galit Cohen, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine
Galit F. Cohen is a leadership coach specializing in evolving Emotional Intelligence. Galit brings a unique perspective from growing up in a multicultural household, which provided her with a trifocal lens to examine her relationship with others.
Galit is a fierce advocate for positive self-talk and passionate about empowering others to overcome self-doubt. She believes there is something magical about each person and loves helping others find that magic within themselves.
Galit holds a master's degree in Organization Development and Leadership and bachelor's degree in Communication and International Studies. She has been featured in Ariana Huffington's Thrive Global and Authority Magazine.