How do you manage your emotions?

I’m currently pursuing my certification to deliver the Emotional Intelligence in Action (EQIA) assessment tool. This post, and possibly others, will relate to my experience and reflections throughout this process.

Emotional Intelligence (EQ) is the ability to be aware of our emotional experience and to manage our emotions effectively in relationship with others. Research indicates that EQ matters twice as much as technical expertise or IQ in determining if someone will be high performing. Luckily, unlike IQ, it is something that, with practice, we can develop.

We all access different emotions and different situations present triggers for some people, not for others. One of the first steps in developing our emotional intelligence is to identify our own triggers. For example, I feel anxious when I think I’ve done something wrong; I feel excited when I get to present in front of a group of people. Different situations will present different triggers for different people. What are yours?

The next step I would suggest is to recognize your existing strategies for managing emotions. We have all developed strategies for managing emotions throughout our lives. Some are productive, some may be destructive. Some people may get angry and punch a hole in the wall; some people might simply take a deep breath. Either way, our strategies for self soothing often become unconscious patterns of behavior. In order to develop our EQ, it is important to recognize what our strategies are when triggered, continue or support those that are working and stop or rethink those that are not.

When I’m stressed or feeling anxious, I tend to jump to action very quickly, often before I’ve thought through any courses of action. Sometimes, this strategy is very successful because I get things done and my anxiety about a situation does not make me freeze. HOWEVER, sometimes, I move forward too quickly, without consciously making an informed decision, and end up having to backtrack. At the very least, this means I have wasted time; it can also mean I have to repair relationships that are hurt in the process. My practice is to try to think about why I am responding as such in the moment.

What are your strategies? Which ones are helping or hindering?


Krysty Wideen is a learning and organizational development consultant with The Refinery Leadership Partners, based in Vancouver. Failing to leave her day job at work, she often finds herself relating every day, commonplace observations and activities to insights about leadership, business, human resources, and anything, really. Now she has a place to share her observations and insights.

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2 Responses

  1. Well Krysty, I think my reactions depend not only on the situation, but the context.
    If I’m at work, my eyebrows will jump right off my head, and I’ll probably talk slowly, think things through, and go into my ‘diplomatic’ mode.

    If I’m at home however and having WWIII with my (lovely) boyfriend over the dishes not being done, I’ll probably chuck the remote across the room.

    Which I think is a form of control really, since I definitely am not throwing things at work… yet. 😉

  2. […] I am certified in the MBTI (Are labels relevant) and enjoy drawing insights from assessments (see my reflections about the EQ) that build self-awareness and […]

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