61% of Americans say that work is a significant source of stress. People also say “Cry After 5”.
What happens to us when we can’t manage that stress anymore? What happens to our mentality when we don’t know how to effectively recognize and manage our emotions, especially in the workplace? What do we do with all of the anger, frustration, tears, and laughter that we experience at work?
Emotional Intelligence is that ability to identify and manage our own emotions and the emotions of others. It is the IQ that gets employees hired, but employers are more than ever looking for people with a higher Emotional Intelligence to promote and retain. Emotional Intelligence starts with each of us individually.
The first step of Emotional Intelligence is to take an honest inventory of ourselves. This comes by reflecting on past experiences and situations, talking openly with a friend to gain honest and sometimes harsh feedback, and maybe even asking that co-worker we don’t know so well what their first impression was of us.
We all want to believe we are self-aware, but we are also changing. We will not be the same all of the time. This is why we must understand who we are at the core. What are our natural emotions? For some of us, our first reaction to frustration is to cry, while for others it is to walk away because “if we have to listen to any more of this, we will lose it.”
We also have to understand those moments when our strengths become our biggest weakness. Think of a person who is driven. It is a great trait when things are needing to be done, but what about those moments when the team is focused on other priorities. What impression does the high achiever and driven performer make then?
Our body have a limbic reaction, meaning that we will always have a natural first reaction. When we stub our toe on the bed. When we are mad, but then our bag or coat gets caught on the door and we can’t leave. Some thing natural happens in both of those scenarios.
After that moment, and hopefully and quickly after that moment of high blood pressure and a bad word, we have to find tricks for ourselves to deescalate. Some ideas:
- Run or workout
- Therapy or meditation
- Talk with a trusted mentor or friend
- Realize that we only have ownership in our problems, reactions, and actions
A lot of the tricks above are short term, but without long term accountability, we won’t be successful. Professionals with high Emotional Intelligence partner up, take a break, and set deadlines and measurable goals to make progress.
Emotional Intelligence starts with us.