The term emotional intelligence was created by two researchers by the name of Peter Salavoy and John Mayer in 1990. Since that time this phrase has been a topic for discussion for so many and rightfully so. Emotional Intelligence consists of how you manage, understand, and recognize your own emotions, as well as, others. You may say it’s hard enough to manage my own emotions, let alone someone else’s. Which I totally understand and empathize with, but when you don’t take into account someone else’s emotions when you interact with them it can cause dire consequences. In addition, when you are making decisions for yourself in a state where you are not managing your own emotions it can cause dire consequences as an example.
It is scientifically proven that emotions precede thought, because thoughts are a way of processing feelings, and feelings typically come first. It is also known that thoughts can trigger emotions so the relationships between these two terms can be quite intertwined and even profound at times. A recent study advised we have 6,200 thoughts per day. So, can you imagine the amount of emotions a person can go through in a given day? This is why emotional intelligence is important because as you work with individuals you never know what a person may be thinking, or going through, which cause them to behave a certain way. Benefits is emotional intelligence is that it can help you figure out how to mentor or coach someone, or what strategies to use to resolve conflict, or how to foster an inclusive environment.
I recall a past employee sharing with me how she appreciated reporting to me because of my leadership style and because I lead with emotional intelligence. She advised that many of the managers and leaders in the organization didn’t have a clue how important emotional intelligence is. Due to the lack of emotional intelligence, she felt misunderstood and would get frustrated with how she was treated because she felt as if she really wasn’t being heard, nor treated as if she brings value to the table. There were times in her career where she didn’t care for her job, not because of the work, but because of how she was treated and the environment she was in. You see, people didn’t pay attention to how THEIR actions impacted her. They felt she should just suck it up and deal with it, and frankly that does not work. I was extremely humbled that she felt I had created a different environment for her to work and this made me appreciate the time I spent increasing my emotional intelligence.
With that being said, here are some tips I implemented to increase my emotional intelligence over the years. Trust, I still learn and work on this daily. ☺️
Self-Introspection & Self-Reflection – if you have been following me for a while you know I always say everything starts with YOU. Begin by understanding how you manage your own emotions. Some questions you may ask are: (1) What emotions do you exude in stressful situations? (2) How do you manage your emotions? (3) How do you recognize when you are emotional? (4) What patterns of emotions do you have and when do they show up? These are just a few questions to get you started to understanding yourself. Again, it first starts with you!
Take Responsibility – own your emotions when they come out, whether good or bad. If your emotions has negatively impacted someone else, own up to it and apologize. Again, you don’t know where that person is mentally, or what thoughts are running through their head. Don’t try to make them feel "less than" by diminishing the impact you had on them.
Accountability – have someone hold you accountable as you build your emotional intelligence. If you find you are giving off certain negative energy in certain situations, have someone you trust call you out on it.
Practice Empathy – people tend to confuse sympathy with empathy. Sympathy is a feeling your share with someone else, while empathy is understanding how the other person is feeling. Take time to understand how the other person is feeling, whether it’s due to your actions, or someone else’s. Sometimes, this takes you walking in the other person’s shoes.
Actively Listen – I like to say, “listen to understand, not to respond”. When someone is taking time to share their emotions with you, which isn’t easy for many, you should be honored. So, LISTEN to them. Don’t listen so you have a reply or solution for what they say, but listen to gain understanding. Their understanding and their reality. This understanding brings a perspective you may, or may not have had. This listening helps you understand where the person is coming from and how you may need to think about how you interact with the individual. Just take a moment to listen and learn. Trust me, it will change your life.
As a leader in corporate America for over 15 years I have found that emotional intelligence has served me well. But, before I close out this blog post let me share a final story with you of a time where I saw first-hand, how the lack of emotional intelligence caused mayhem. The area of the organization I was a part of was going through an organizational change. Since I was in management, I was privy to some of what was occurring with the change, but not all. I was asked some questions concerning my team and I provided my thoughts based on where the organization was going. I recall attending a particular meeting with my peers and it was stated that the changes that were going to occur no one would have an issue with. It was also stated that the changed made sense and everyone will see that it makes sense when the new organization is rolled out. Now mind you, I still didn’t know all the changes that were occurring so I was interested to see the final organizational structure. All I can tell you is when the individual conversations started happening with those who were impacted and in the same office with me, the entire vibe, and energy, on the floor shifted and not in a positive way. So what happened?
People were upset with the changes and had A LOT of questions.
Leadership was not expecting that much push back as they felt everyone would be onboard with the changes and out would make sense. NOT!!!
The emotions of those impacted was not handled in the best way in terms of the response when they brought their concerns to the table.
So, what a couple people thought was going to be an easy organizational change where EVERYONE would be onboard, and AGREE with all the changes, was anything but. What made the matter even worse is when people shared their feelings, when they were asked to mind you, in some instances their feelings were ignored to where the morale of the team went down. In the instances where the managers actively listened to the concerns of their employees and empathized with them, those employees felt at least heard and better, even though they still had to go along with the organizational changes. As I watched this unfold it became quite evident to me how important emotional intelligence is. Empathizing with the team during the organizational change was key component missing.
In conclusion, I hope you can see how important emotional intelligence is and the difference it can make in your life, and the lives of those around you. Take time to understand how you manage, recognize and understand your own emotions. Then take time to understand how you manage, recognize, understand and influence the emotions of others. Remember it’s all about being the “BEST YOU IN ’22!” YOU GOT THIS!!!! Now go forth and conquer!!!!
WE GOT WORK TO DO IN ’22!!!
Until next time,
The BA Martial Artist is signing off🥋
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