EQ and The White House Press Secretary


How important is Emotional Intelligence in the role of White House Press Secretary? Probably more important than most of us have skill. As Jen Psaki passes the torch to her successor at the podium, Karine Jean-Pierre, let’s consider just what it takes to live in their shoes daily.


One of the most difficult parts of the job seems to be able to represent the administration for which you are working and balancing the opposite points of view coming at you.  A strategy we have all seen Ms. Psaki employ is, Breathe Right.  It may sound simple, but when posed with a statement or question that is counter to what information she may have just shared or posed with a question that is clearly out of left field, taking that deep breathe and then responding has shown her ability to self-manage.  Another strategy we’ve seen modeled nicely by the outgoing Press Secretary is, Learn a Valuable Lesson From Everyone you Encounter.  We’ve heard it during many press conferences, ‘I hadn’t thought about it like that, let me get back to you.’ It is a common phrase she has employed to keep the peace during the exchange and then reengage later.

Relationship Management

Clearly, relationships are paramount in this position.  It’s a balancing act to have strong relationships with much of the administration you are counting on to share important, sometimes secret information so that you can represent them appropriately.  It is just as important to build relationships with the very press Corp that you are sharing this information with and fielding questions that are unlimited as to scope.  Building Trust is one of the most important relationship management strategies we’ve seen over the past 15 months by Press Secretary Psaki.  She stated from the beginning that one of her goals was to bring back the trust that may have been lost from her predecessors and by all accounts, she has.  She has been careful with what she shares, how she shares it and when.  She has balanced this strategy with another important one in building relationships, Don’t Avoid the Inevitable.  Knowing that a tough conversation is about to happen isn’t the time to shut down the discussion. Quite the opposite, this is when you get to show how you handle the tough conversation with dignity and honesty.

For more information, please visit: POLITICO – Jen Psaki is Leaving The White House

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