Emotional Intelligence is Mark McGowan's Secret Weapon

The latest COVID cluster has had emotions peaking across Perth and Peel, with everything from fear to rage being felt in the community. And while WA Premier Mark McGowan has shown several occasions of emotional intelligent skills in dealing with the reactions from the Perth community, this doesn’t make him ‘emotionally intelligent’. He is choosing to leverage his emotional intelligence in his decision making.

That is what is helping him maintain his popularity. After all, whether the Premier’s decisions are right or wrong is irrelevant. There is no right or wrong when it comes to a pandemic. His ability to leverage his emotional intelligence in order to connect with Western Australian’s and have the state working together is what stands out.

The communication of our politicians is key to the success and outcome. Yes, the decisions are vital but the way in which we communicate each of those decisions determines whether the message is received and the emotional reaction it triggers in each person.

Groups advocating the Premier's decision making skills are appearing on social media platforms such as FaceBook

Through his calm demeanour, the Premier uses emotionally intelligent language referring to himself as being part of the WA community using the words ‘we’ and ‘us’ rather than ‘you’ or ‘Western Australians’. He doesn’t speak at the WA community, he knows he is part of it, which also makes him responsible and speaks as one of them.

While the Premier mostly displays relatable personal skills and emotions as he continues to be questioned on all his decisions, receives death threats and is asked the same questions several times over each day, we have seen occasions where his control has let him down. The use of emotional intelligence within the relationship between the Premier and the Prime Minister has also been questionable at times as they point the finger back and forth on who is to blame with international flights arriving and the hotel quarantine process. Getting caught in a blaming game loop rather than focusing on the solution and how to ensure it doesn’t reoccur, shows poor self-regulation.

Empathy is one of the greatest skills for any person and situation. The ability to get out of our own head and empathise with the emotion’s others are feeling. Knowing the best thing to say rather than the worse based on the emotion of the other person.  The Premier'ss famous response to the Easter Bunny letter (allowing the Bunny across our locked border) was a perfect example of his ability to understand others’ emotions and respond in the best way to meet their emotional drivers.

Unfortunately, this empathy didn’t extend into the relationships with the other State Premiers causing some tension and interactions that lacked emotional intelligence on both sides.

Mr McGowan's popularity has soared with the WA public, leading to the production of many political memes, even a music video has been created as a tribute to the Premier.

Putting it all aside, the Premier's motivation and ability to get things done continues to create drive and results. The WA economy has been referred to as ‘leading the nation on COVID-19 recovery’. His decisiveness and confidence mean that there continues to be little delay in any actions or decision made.

       There are more than 2 million people in Perth, and that’s a lot of highly emotional people turning their attention to one person to ‘fix it’. 

The Premier’s emotional intelligence skills determine his ability to manage his personal emotional reaction, think logically and communicate clearly to the community waiting for an answer.

Do these skills make him emotionally intelligent? No, not always. Like all of us, he has had some moments that weren’t totally emotionally intelligent and will continue to. That’s part of being human.

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