The Emotional Intelligence Livestream #15


Moment of Truth for Managers: Time to Change?

In the face of pandemic WFH, antiracist uprisings & uncertainty, what do managers need to know and do better?

We are in a time of change – are managers ready?  Join Jeff Kinsley – Managing Director International Learning and Development at FedEx;  Princess Ayers-Stewart – Director, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at REI; and Joshua Freedman – the CEO of Six Seconds, in powerful conversation to rethink the role  of Manger in today’s context. 

As the pandemic grinds on, and in the midst of the antiracist uprising, are we going to do “business as usual”? With uncertainty, work-from-home, recommitment to diversity… what does it mean for management? What kind of leadership skills are required today, and how will these be developed?

We’ll share some insights from a survey on managing in 2020, add your answers here.


Would you agree we’re in a time of change? Between the pandemic, Black Lives Matter uprising, and the uncertainty about the future… it seems a lot of change is in the air. So a big question:

Are managers ready?

And what will they need to be better at?

On today’s broadcast we’ll go deep into this question and consider how emotional intelligence might be part of the solution. We’ll share some data from a survey on this topic.

Now I’d like to ask Princess & Jeff to introduce themselves by answering an opening question. In our survey about today’s topic, we asked: “My organization’s norms around communication and teamwork have to change.” — 75% answered a strong Yes. 


Princess Ayers-Stewart is a dynamic thought leader who has spent 20 years in legal and corporate environments working to end discrimination and promote fairness in employment through EEO compliance, diversity, equity and inclusion. She recently joined REI and leads its Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion work. Prior to REI, she served as the first-ever Chief of Workforce Diversity and Inclusion at Seattle Children’s Hospital.

She is also the co-founder of Ayers-Stewart Group where she serves as President. It is a suite of brands that creates opportunity, connects people and cultivates inclusion through consulting, wellness and hospitality. 

A native of Chicago, Princess currently resides in West Seattle with her husband Barnett Joseph Stewart. They have two children, Britt age 30 who resides in Los Angeles and Andre age 23, residing in Chicago. They are first-time grandparents this year with the birth of their granddaughter Amada. 

Jeff Kinsley is the Managing Director International Learning and Development at FedEx. Now based in Amsterdam, Jeff was previously Divisional Manager – FedEx Latin America and The Caribbean, and was Senior Management Facilitator at the Global Learning Institute for FedEx Express. Skilled in Operations Management, Freight, Management, Succession Planning, and Organizational Development, Jeff is a strong sales professional with a Executive Education Institute of Government focused in Municipal Administration from UNC Chapel Hill.

Moderator: Joshua Freedman, cofounder and CEO, The Six Seconds Emotional Intelligence Network, working since 1997 toward a world with more EQ. Josh is a Master Certified Coach and author of the best-selling At the Heart of Leadership
Twitter: @EQjosh of @6s_EQ
IG: @joshmfreedman of @6secondseq

Key questions

  • On that survey, 84% said “Our managers will need to interact with teams in new / different ways” but only 25% said their managers had the skills to manage in this virtualized environment. What makes managing in this context more difficult?
  • One of the constant challenges in business is “do more with less.” Right now, many orgs have laid people off so their understaffed, and the people left behind are already exhausted. How does this affect managers?
  • On our survey also asked if “Our managers already have skills to be highly effective building & leading a diverse workforce” and only 23% said yes. What are the required skills and how can we grow these?
  • We seem to be living in a time of intense polarization and xenophobia — is this a business issue? 
  • Right now, we’re seeing shifts to virtual work and a call for antiracism. Both these issues involve changes in power dynamics. What makes that so difficult? 
  • How do we increase openness to change?
  • In terms of the challenges managers are facing, what’s changed with the pandemic?
  • When people are struggling, they have a tendency to return to old ways, to what’s familiar — which makes it particularly hard to change in stressful situations. Yet that’s the reality. We’ve got a challenging time AND a need for change. How do you do both?
  • When it comes to Diversity, Inclusion & Belonging — we step into some big emotions. And people are often defensive. Is that defensiveness a problem?
  • Many of our viewers are working on bringing emotional intelligence to workplaces. What advice would you offer them on doing this more effectively?
  • What gives you hope for the future?
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