The unprecedented challenges that have befallen businesses throughout the U.S. since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic (and the accompanying economic slump) have made it more clear than ever that emotional intelligence — EI or EQ, for emotional intelligence quotient — is an essential part of a leader’s toolkit.

Just as essential in times like these is the ability to roll with the punches, as indeed the pandemic has resulted in countless trials and tribulations.

That has been particularly true for those of us who operate skilled nursing facilities — which, of course, house a particularly vulnerable segment of the population. For months on end it was a matter of protecting residents. More recently it has become a matter of vaccinating them.

At The Allure Group, for instance, our longstanding commitment to technology turned out to be a saving grace. Long before the pandemic we had installed PadInMotion technology — i.e., Samsung tablets — at all 1,400 bedsides in our six facilities, the thinking being that residents could use them for entertainment and relaxation purposes.

But when the pandemic hit, these tablets became something of a lifeline, as they enabled residents to stay in touch with loved ones who were barred access to our facilities as a result of government-imposed lockdowns. 

In addition, Vis-a-Vis technology — i.e., hand-held devices dispensed to residents upon their discharge — allowed for the free flow of information between those residents and clinicians. Residents are able to reach out if they have questions, or need to schedule a follow-up appointment. And healthcare professionals can keep tabs on the vital signs of those who have been discharged, and likewise touch base when the need arises.

As mentioned, all of this is indicative of Allure’s continuing commitment to be ahead of the tech curve, and ensure that our staff and residents have at their disposal cutting-edge tools that ensure the well-being of one and all.

But as also mentioned, it is no less crucial that a leader possess the necessary interpersonal skills to connect with staff and residents. That is where EI comes in. To be most effective a good leader in healthcare, as in other businesses, must be self-aware, self-motivated, self-regulating, empathetic and socially skilled.

The concept of EI, which dates back to Daniel Goleman’s 1995 book, “Emotional Intelligence,” has been found to be no less important than intellectual ability or technical skill. Leaders possessing EI encourage creativity and risk-taking. They are transparent and solicit input from others. And the result is a culture in which employees are empowered and, as a result, are happier and more productive.

That is the sort of culture we have always sought to create here at Allure, and should be the goal of every company, in every sector. And never has that been more true than now, during an unprecedented health crisis.