Webinar Report: Emotional Intelligence in a Time of Uncertainty by Kay Joyce

“The importance of emotional intelligence has rarely been so acute as during a crisis especially what is being experienced during the period of uncertainty that surrounds COVID-19” mused business and career coach, organisational development consultant and founder of Moving Forward Kay Joyce ahead of the latest ICBE Lunchtime Bytes from the ICBE Business Excellence Skillnet.

Under the heading of ‘Emotional Intelligence in a Time of Uncertainty’ Kay focused on the deepening of awareness at an emotional level from dealing with personal emotions as a leader, the emotions of teams, the emotions of families and those around us.

Kay began by explaining the roles and structure of our brains.  The limbic system is where emotions are experienced and EQ requires effective communication between rational and emotional brain.  Our best and our worst experiences are associated with our emotions.  Acting as the predominant controller of emotions and feelings the Amygdala operates as a warning system she explained.

Building on this underlying physiological base the Emotional Capital Model developed by Dr. Martyn Newman co-founder of RocheMartin proposes a focus on Leaders as being ‘Emotional Capitalists’ and ‘Essential Strategies’ for building EI and Leadership for Business success.

This model (Emotional Capital Model) is composed of 10 key Dynamic Emotions broken into three focus areas covering:


  • Self-Knowing
  • Straightforwardness
  • Self-Control
  • Self-Confidence
  • Self-Reliance


  • Adaptability 
  • Optimism
  • Self-Actualization


  • Empathy
  • Relationship Skills

Taking the example of Uncertainty posed by Covid-19 the focus to increase motivation would concentrate on

  1. Inner – Self-Reliance 
  2. Outer – Self-Actualisation
  3. Other – Empathy

Looking at these three areas in further detail Kay explained how to first encourage self-reliance.  Key to this is maintaining a level of personal control over circumstances is a key of mental health.   “When people feel concerned in uncertain circumstances, it can drain motivation and cause them to become less productive.   As people work from home, now is the opportunity to support and understand self-reliance and empower yourself and others.  The more people are involved in decision making, the more ownership they feel to exercise personal accountability.   Take consultative approach by asking questions such as: ‘How do you think we should handle this?’ , ‘What would work best for you in your circumstances?’ How can I help support you?’  to build self-reliance” advised Kay on some of the key steps and areas to be explored.

Abraham Maslow defined Self-Actualisation as, “doing what you can do.”  Maslow also identified the most powerful motivation arises when people are engaged in meaningful work that matters to them.  “When people have a clear vision and understand their role, their motivation moves from being externally driven to internally powered.   Working remotely and in a time of uncertainty can create challenges, one of which is prioritizing the competing demands for attention.  It is ‘Intrinsic motivation’ that helps sharpen focus, direct energy and maintain commitment thorough adversity” added Kay demonstrating how awareness of the drivers can help with managing and achieving the best from remote working teams.

In her final point on harnessing emotional intelligence in times of certainty Kay highlighted the importance of showing empathy.  “Empathy is the capacity to be aware, understand, and appreciate the feelings and thoughts of others.  We tend to see and experience the world from our own perspective and through our own lenses.  At a psychological level people have two essential needs: to be understood and to be admired, and the most fundamental one is to be understood” added Kay quoting the learning of Heinz Kohut.  Building further on this Kay also quoted the learning Stephen Covey who advocated ‘Seek to understand and then be understood’” shared Kay.  “Your goal is to demonstrate that you understand how others feel and why they feel that way” offered Kay as a path to demonstrating empathy.

Using the iceberg analogy (we only see a fraction of what is really going on) Kay explained the hidden difficulties in interpretation as emotions translate in behaviour.

“We see and experience behaviour.  However we do not see what is going on under the water from feelings, emotions to values and beliefs” summarised Kay in finishing her webinar.

Kay also offered the following reading material for those interested in exploring further.

  • Emotional Capitalists The New Leaders, Martyn Newman
  • Emotional Intelligence (EQ), A Leadership Imperative!, Daire Coffey and Deirdre Murray
  • Working with Emotional Intelligence, Daniel Goleman
  • Emotional Intelligence – Why it can matter more than IQ?, Daniel Goleman. 
  • HBR – Harvard Business Review Articles. 
  • Leadership that Gets Results – Daniel Goleman
  • What Makes a Leader – Daniel Goleman
  • Mayer and Salovey writings. 
  • Rochemartin www.rochemartin.com

You can browse Kay presentation below: