Have you ever wanted to tell your boss what you really think? Most of us, maybe all of us, have felt that way at one time or another. Some of us have even wanted to include a healthy dose of profanity as we share our innermost feelings! Some of us have even gone ahead and done it, often with disastrous results. Emotional intelligence is the idea of learning how to manage our emotions to achieve a positive outcome for ourselves and everyone else. Of course, there’s more to it than that. Emotional intelligence also involves being aware of other peoples’ emotions, responding appropriately to emotions in other people, and learning how to influence the emotions of others.
Examples of Good and Bad Emotional Intelligence
In the above video, you can see two examples of emotional intelligence (or the lack thereof) in the workplace. In the first example, the employee barges into his boss’s office and lets her have it with shouting, profanity, and aggressive behavior. He is showing emotionally unintelligent behavior and the outcome is not what he wants. In the second example, he manages his emotions using emotional intelligence. He may want to yell at her, but he realizes that doing so would not achieve his desired results, so he manages his emotions, speaks with her assertively, but not aggressively, and achieves a much more desirable outcome.
Emotional Intelligence is About Being Intentional
Emotional intelligence is about being intentional with our emotions. It means we manage our emotions, no matter how difficult that may be, instead of letting our emotions manage us.
Other Aspects of Emotional Intelligence
In addition to being intentional, emotional intelligence involves us learning to maintain our sense of calm, especially in the face of emotionally-charged situations. A short-term technique which I’ve discussed before is to use the stoplight metaphor. That means, when you encounter an emotionally-charged situation, you first go to red or stop. Just stop before you do anything else. Then go to yellow in which you consider your entire range of options. Finally, go to green in which you choose the best one based on achieving a positive outcome for all parties involved in the situation. It’s similar to the idea of counting to ten before you say or do anything. A long-term technique is to practice meditation, yoga, prayer, or similar techniques which can help you learn to focus your attention and generally maintain your calm. For more information on meditation, I recommend Matthieu Ricard’s book Why Meditate?
Also, I recently ran across a great post at The Babble Out on emotional intelligence which is well worth a read. Here’s the link: thebabbleout.com/relationship/emotional-intelligence
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