Do You Maintain Composure in Business?

Good crisis management involves tapping into your emotional intelligence


In a recent Chicago Tribune article, “Lessons from KitchenAid: Even the worst social media mistakes are preventable,” Scott Kleinberg presented an example of how to respond in the face of potential business crisis. Featured was the story of a tweet posted during the recent U.S. presidential election debate, to the official KitchenAid Twitter account that read, “Obamas gma even knew it was going 2 b bad! She died 3 days b4 he became president.’ #nbcpolitics

KitchenAid Tweet

What was your first reaction when you read this? Did you think it was a joke or a mistake? As it turns out the tweet was made in error; intended to be posted to a private Twitter account. Mistakes happen. We are all human, but sometimes what defines us is not our mistakes but how we respond to them.

In the case of KitchenAid the response involved publically acknowledging and apologizing for the error, a response described by Kleinberg as “quick and calm.” Whether or not you agree with the response, and there were those who felt the response unnecessary and others who wanted more, the response demonstrated an understanding of emotional intelligence (EI), which is sometimes also called emotion quotient (EQ).


What Would You Do?

Imagine if this happened to your business, how would you have reacted? Would you have ignored it, reacted with anger, embarrassment or defensiveness? Is it possible you would have overreacted or underreacted? How you react privately and then how you respond publically demonstrate your EI.

Your ability to recognize and manage your own emotional reactions to situations is a key aspect of EI. First reactions can be powerful triggers of first responses. Are some people naturally better at maintaining composure under pressure? Perhaps, but EI is something you can improve with practice. In the case of KitchenAid, we do not know the initial private reaction nor do we know who crafted the public response, but somewhere along the line someone tapped into a little EI.