Emotions Belong in Business
If you’re like most people, when you think of “emotions in the workplace” you probably think of:
a hot tempered rising star slamming his fist through the wall when denied a raise
a sensitive mid-level manager in tears after receiving a mediocre performance review
an anxious boss that hires poorly, can’t fire, and is dead-slow with decisions
Yikes!! Those are classic examples of emotional reactivity – and reactivity is not good for anyone or anything, including business.
Certainly, we don’t want to be tossed around by our emotions – not at work or in our personal lives. But we can learn the language of emotions and respond to them effectively to create more success in both our professional and personal lives.
In Invite Emotional Input for Optimal Decision Making, we see that the purpose of our emotions is to get our attention and get us moving toward a decision or course of action. And when emotions are used appropriately, hand-in-hand with our thoughts, we harness the powerful dual-threat called Emotional Intelligence, which guides us into listening to and regulating our emotions, minimizing our reactivity, and maximizing our productivity.
Less Woo-Woo and More Business How-to
What can emotional intelligence do for your business? A lot.
According to recent research collected from companies such as Fed-Ex, US Airforce, PepsiCo, HSBC Bank, Google, and Microsoft, improving emotional intelligence in both employees and leadership results in:
improved customer service and sales
increased productivity and profit
improved morale and individual effectiveness¹
Not bad, eh?
In fact, a bigtime study on sales performance found that in the most productive sales people, the formula for high productivity was 1/3 technical skill and 2/3 emotional intelligence.²
Just Do It
Unlike our IQ, our EQ (Emotional Intelligence) can be improved. It is a learnable and measurable set of skills including the ability to name your emotions, allow emotion-based information to appropriately guide decision making and behavior, and manage emotions to fit the life and business circumstance and goals.³
Do you know the adage “what gets measured gets improved”? Well, it’s true, and online testing makes it easy for you to measure your EQ so you can get on the path to raising it fast.
In the meantime, here are three anytime, anywhere exercises that, with practice, will boost your EQ:
1. NAME YOUR EMOTIONS AS YOU FEEL THEM
Get specific. Go beyond happy, sad, or angry and feel out subtle descriptors, such as frustrated and disappointed, or elated and carefree.
2. RECOGNIZE YOUR EMOTIONAL TRIGGERS AND PATTERNS
What things always make you feel joyful or melancholy? What pushes your frustration button? These areas are prime territory for emotional reactivity in lieu of emotional guidance.
3. REMEMBER THAT YOUR EMOTIONS ARE DATA
Those powerful embodied feelings and sensations are chock full of wisdom, and they are trying to tell you something important! Be curious and learn their language to help you know what to do. Notice where you feel fear in your body. Ask it what it wants you to know. Do that with all of your emotions.
Want to learn more about emotions and how they drive behavior? A fun place to start is with Pixar’s movie, Inside Out.
The Business Case for Emotional Intelligence. 6seconds.com
² Daniel Goleman, Working With Emotional Intelligence. New York: Bantam. 1998
³ Colman, Andrew (2008). A Dictionary of Psychology (3 ed.). Oxford University Press.)