Manager's Tips and Tools

by Manager Development Services

What is Emotional Intelligence? (part 1 of 3)

As already discussed, emotional maturity seems to be elusive to most people.  To get hired in the first place, an employee must exhibit a certain amount of “mental” intelligence during the interview process.

“Emotional” intelligence, on the other hand, is a different story.  It’s difficult to ascertain the emotional intelligence of an individual until I’ve worked with them for a period of time.  To understand what drives an individual, what “triggers” them, and what will inspire them, I must:

(1) observe their personal interaction within the workplace, and

(2) have an understanding of motivations behind different emotions.

If I understand the motivations behind Fear, Insecurity, Worry, Envy, Jealousy, Resentment, Anger, etc., then I am better able to influence self-defeating behaviors and attitudes which could become potentially poisonous to my department.

The first thing I need to understand is that emotions are neither good nor bad, right nor wrong – they just are.  It’s what we do with our emotions (our behavior) which can be either constructive or destructive.  Once again, I must realize that I have a choice.  I must learn to feel the feeling and chose the behavior.

Our emotions, or feelings, are necessary and have evolved for very specific reasons – to enable us to survive.  Without them, we wouldn’t be here.

When used in a healthy way, they protect us, nurture us, and allow us to persevere.  It’s only when we let them runaway with us that they become destructive.

Fear alerts me that there is danger present.  It motivates me to take appropriate action to protect myself and get out of harm’s way.

Fear unleashed is crippling – it puts me in danger by preventing me from thinking rationally or taking necessary action.  When this happens, FEAR itself becomes dangerous and becomes an obsession, feeding on itself as it builds.  Most of our fears are unfounded and it’s these unfounded fears that spin in our head like a squirrel cage out of control.

Fear of the unknown, fear of loss, fear of non-acceptance, fear of failure, and fear of success are just a few of these crippling fears.

I need to ask myself:

  • What exactly is it that I fear?
  • What, in reality, is the likelihood this will actually happen?
  • If this does happen, what is the absolute worse outcome?
  • Would I be able to continue living if this did happen?
  • What rational steps can I take to protect myself?
  • Then take the steps.
  • Once your footwork is done, let it go.  Don’t worry about it.

Insecurity is fear of not measuring up – not being good enough.  Insecurity alerts me that I am not confident about what I am about to do.  It gives me cause to question my preparations, understanding, and motivation and reassess my decision.  When used in a healthy way, insecurity alerts me that something is not right and prompts me to “check” myself.

Insecurity run rampant completely disables me, causing me to question everything, even sound preparations.  Insecurity also cripples me with indecisiveness.

I need to ask myself:

  • What exactly am I insecure about?
  • What does not seem / feel right?
  • Why doesn’t it seem / feel right?
  • What is the solution?

Once I identify the solution, I need to take appropriate action and then allow myself to feel confident in my ability.

Worry is obsessing over the unknown.  Worry can alert me of an issue which needs my attention.  I need to:

  • Identify the issue,
  • Ask myself what I can do about the issue at this moment,
  • Do it, and then
  • Let it go.

If there is no action I can immediately take, then I make a note of when I will need to take action and then let it go.  The problem with worry is that it is “obsessive” in nature when there is really nothing which can be done at the present moment.  Worry gives me a sense, an “illusion,” of being proactive when I’m not actually doing anything except creating stress, raising blood pressure, and causing sleepless nights.  By making a note, I can revisit the issue at a time when I can take positive action.

– excerpt from “Managing from the Heart – A Way of Life”


March 18, 2011 - Posted by | Counseling Techniques, Employee Coaching, Leadership Skills, Manager Development Tools, Mentoring | , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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