Our NHS People

Why this matters now

Crisis conditions require us to make decisions which may have far-reaching consequences in emotionally challenging circumstances.

High-EQ leaders have a mix of emotional and social skills that allow them to do this well. This does not mean they are unaffected by the emotional needs on display around them; but they are able to interpret and work with that emotional information, allowing them to manage difficult situations and often to see opportunities that others miss.

Conversely, when low-EQ leaders experience strong emotions their decisions tend to be reactive rather than creative or forward thinking.

Within health and social care, there is evidence of the impact of poor emotion regulation. For instance, Dr Chris Turner’s Civility Saves Lives has shown an average 61 per cent reduction in cognitive ability when staff are on the receiving end of aggressive or undermining behaviour. A BMJ study that 91.2 per cent of anaesthetists performed at the expected level, when working with a polite surgeon. That figure went down to 63.6 per cent when faced with a rude surgeon.

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