Emotional Intelligence Can Help You to be happy at work

project manager 1As I was writing my list Ten Ways to Become More Assertive for Parker’s Points I realized there were two very different reactions to someone saying something you do not agree with. One reaction is to just say nothing and seethe inside and the other is to aggressively attack the person and his/her comment. Either way you probably will not feel good afterwards about your response. What do you do?

I know when it happens to me my way of responding is to keep quiet. People tell me I am a good listener but maybe at times this can be a hindrance. (With a positive strength there can be a negative side) In keeping quiet the assumptions others make is that I agree with what has been said.

If your response is anger then it is clear you don’t agree but depending on how you use that anger your comments could be destructive to the other person. If you are constantly using the pronoun “you” instead of “I” you may be attributing characteristics to the other person that are destructive to that person.

If you are not sure how you respond monitor your interactions with people during the week to see the emotions that are triggered. Notice when you feel an emotion-anger, annoyance, upset, caring, sadness. Stop and count to 10 before you respond. Take several deep breaths. Do you want to respond or let it go? Can you use empathy to feel what the other person feels? How can you respond in a helpful and satisfying way?

Being self-aware is one factor of emotional intelligence. If you are not familiar with emotional intelligence here is the Wikipedia definition: (EI) is the ability to monitor one’s own and other people’s emotions, to discriminate between different emotions and label them appropriately, and to use emotional information to guide thinking and behavior.

While in the past IQ Intelligence Quotient has been the criteria by which we measure cognitive skills. Today the thinking is your EQ Emotional Intelligence Quotient may be even more significant. According to what we now know about the brain we are hardwired to feel before we think. So really understanding what you are feeling and what triggered that feeling is important to your career.

For some of us this will take some work and practice. A friend once told me he knew exactly what he thought about something and could explain it easily. He was smart and highly educated. But he told me he had trouble figuring out how he felt about that same idea.

Many highly intellectual people are similar to my friend. They are so used to thinking through an issue that they use their intellect exclusively.

It is now time for all of us, myself included, to become more aware of what is going on within our bodies, the place we frequently feel those emotions. Where do you feel anger, sorrow, annoyance, caring and how can you get better at detecting the feelings in the moment?

As Ronda Muir says in her article Emotional Intelligence for Lawyers, “There is also significant research data that leaders are more productive and effective if they are able to identify, use, understand and manage emotions. Higher manager self-awareness, a critical component of emotional intelligence, leads to higher management performance. Empathetic skills assist in understanding multiple viewpoints and motivating others. Both positive managerial mood and the ability of the manager to enhance positive mood in others has been found to increase employee performance, improve retention and reduce group conflict.” Based on this information I would say that working on improving your emotional intelligence will help you to be happy at work.

Interested in working on your emotional intelligence? Need practice observing your emotions and becoming more self-aware? A coach can help. Call me at 781-598-0388 or email me at asparker@asparker.com

For further reading:

The Importance of Emotional Intelligence in Law Firm Partners

Emotional Intelligence: Why it Can Matter More than IQ by Daniel Goleman

The article that I quoted from, Emotional Intelligence for Lawyers, by Ronda Muir is not on the web as far as I can tell. I have a copy that I received when I attended a webinar put on by the ABA. This is one of a career centered series that the ABA has offered. The ones I have attended have been excellent. You can see future programs on the ABA website.

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