Manager's Tips and Tools

by Manager Development Services

What is Emotional Intelligence? (part 3 of 3)

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.

Anger is a normal part of life – an emotion. Anger is a gift, a natural part of the human condition, but it isn’t easy to handle.  Anger often causes trouble in our lives.  Emotionally healthy people do not hide from their Anger, nor do they befriend it.  Anger alerts me that I have been violated, that there is something wrong in my life. It tells me to identify the problem and take action to make the situation better.

I must understand unhealthy Anger is dangerous.  It is when I let my Anger take control of me that I just create more problems for myself.  I must also recognize that anger is often my emotional “last line of defense” for whenever I am feeling too lonely, afraid, hurt, lost, abandoned, or out of control.  Anger can give me a sense – an illusion – of power or control.  Of course, it is just an illusion but it makes me feel better (temporarily).   Anger is an effective way to avoid other uncomfortable feelings.  And of course, unhealthy Anger is also a very effective manipulation tool, allowing me to push others away and even control their behavior.

Healthy Anger is expressed in moderation so there is no loss of control.  The goal of healthy Anger is to solve problems not hurt people.  The key to healthy Anger is that it is temporary and is let go once an issue is resolved.  I need to feel the feeling, but choose the behavior.

Anger is healthy when I:

Recognize my Anger:  take a time-out to –

1)     Identify my Anger.  Honestly ask myself why I am angry.

2)     Understand my Anger is a signal that there is a problem which needs to be addressed.

3)     Realize it is OK to be angry and it is a normal part of life.

4)     Ask myself what are the underlying feelings, the motivation behind, which are driving my Anger? – (fear; shame; jealousy; envy; feeling deprived, violated, discounted, rejected, etc.)

5)     Take ownership of and responsibility for my Anger (“This is what I feel and only I am responsible for it.”)

Take action:  Respond – Don’t React!

1)     Carefully think through the situation.

2)     Identify the problem – what needs to be corrected?

3)     Identify the solution – what steps must be taken to solve the problem?

4)     Choose the behavior – what is the healthy way to do what is needed without hurting anyone?

5)     Get proactive – do the footwork that is needed

6)     State my Anger clearly and calmly using an assertive manner so that others can understand and respond.

7)     Express my Anger in moderation without losing control.

Let it go:  Give away the Pain

1)     Accept that people are not perfect and suffer from their own issues; they make mistakes, and have to live with themselves.

2)     Recognize that harboring anger, resentment, and malicious tendencies only hurt me.

3)     Ask myself whether I’ve ever committed a similar offense?

4)     Forgive the aggressor.

With an understanding of what motivates different emotions and how to assist another in dealing with emotions in a healthy and positive way, I can clear boulders and pebbles and instruct an employee how to stop “shooting himself or herself in the foot.”

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


March 22, 2011 - Posted by | Counseling Techniques, Employee Coaching, Leadership Skills, Manager Development Tools, Mentoring | , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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