By: Donna R. Wood, Wellness Coach
When I was in my mid-20s, I had the most amazing LadyBoss, in every sense of the word. I looked up to her and studied how she managed her professional life. We were having a conversation one day, and she said, “It’s never personal. This is business. If you want to get ahead, you have to stop letting emotions dictate your life. Save your emotions for your personal life, where they matter.”
To be honest, I was a little slow on the uptake. I was in that time of life where we tend to take things that our mentors say as literal. What I heard her say at the time was that in business, you shutdown your emotional processes altogether. Every decision is made based on data, logic, and reason. To some extent, that is true.
However, I have learned in the last twenty years that what she was referring to was our response to the actions of others. When it comes to business, we need to ensure that we are not taking everything personally, sparking unwarranted emotional responses. When we react from a wholly emotional place, we tend to respond without thinking, put up walls, and appear defensive.
Today, many people live in their feels, where everything requires or sparks an emotional response. If they are feeling stressed or out of control of their life, they lash out at others, and use psychological violence in an attempt to manipulate the receiver into seeing/doing things their way. If they are feeling unheard or ignored they tend to raise their voice and attempt to shout down the receiver. When these things happen in the workplace, most often the person who is reacting from their emotions becomes isolated and considered toxic. Knee-jerk reactions and flying off the handle will only serve to allow the receiver to show you the door.
Emotional intelligence is the key. It gives us the ability to understand, use, and manage our own emotions to positively affect our ability to manage stress, communicate effectively, overcome challenges, and diffuse conflict.
The Four Keys of Emotional Intelligence:
Self-Management: Enables us to manage impulsive feelings and behavior. It gives us the ability to self-motivate, uphold our commitments, and to be flexible and adaptable to change (pivot) as necessary.
Self-Awareness: Know thyself. A self-aware person knows and understands how their own emotions affect their thoughts and behaviors. Being aware allows us to manage our emotions in a constructive and positive manner, and build our self-confidence.
Social Awareness: Read the room. Being socially aware allows us to see people as they are, and also meet them where they are. Social awareness enables us to exercise empathy when it comes to others, pickup on emotional cues, feel socially comfortable, and recognize the power dynamics in a group or organization.
Relationship Management: When we practice self-management, self-awareness, and social awareness, we are able to develop and maintain healthy relationships with others. We are able to communicate effectively, inspire and influence others, be a team player, and manage conflict.