Managing Emotions

So, you think you’ve got a low EQ?

  • Have you ever been told that something you said was insensitive?
  • Have you ever been in a situation where no matter what you said would come off as insincere or contrived?
  • Have you ever thought about something after you’ve already said it and wished you could take it back?

If you answered yes to any of these you may have a low EQ.

Fear not … here are five things you can do to bump up your EQ.

All is not lost.

Of course, everyone has moments of insensitivity, but they don’t need to be the end of you or of your career. Read on for a few EQ development tips. Also, please share your best stories about EQ in the comments.

One of my goals over the past 4 years with this blog is to help people stand out in their careers. One critical success factor for your career management and development is having a well developed EQ. Taking the time to understand what EQ is and what it is not is worth your time.

In order for you to engage your emotional intelligence, you must also be able use your emotions to make constructive decisions about your behavior.

What is EQ?

The seminal book “Emotional Intelligence” by Daniel Goleman talked about EQ and how to both rational and emotional decisions shape our destiny. He highlighted what an EQ is and what it does for us as human beings. If you have not read the book I highly recommend it. If you have read the book I’d love to hear from you in the comments about how EQ has helped you stand out in your career.

What EQ isn’t?

There are a lot of things that EQ isn’t. One of them is that EQ is not directly correlated to IQ. There are some amazingly sensitive individuals that may not be known for having a high IQ, but they can empathize and sympathize to an incredible degree. The point is … IQ and EQ are not always correlated.

However, as we’ve seen in some of the leaders of large corporations they often have high degrees of both EQ and IQ. One example is Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella. In case you don’t remember he made some incredibly insensitive comments about women early on in his tenure as CEO.

women should trust “karma” instead of asking for pay raises.”
~ Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella

He had the wherewithal and the IQ to understand what he said was insensitive. He made an adjustment, he made an apology, he made amends and put the company (and to be honest) his career back on track. He showed he did have an EQ that could adapt and adjust when he knew he erred.

But, I just tell it like it is!

There is a difference between egotistical, overbearing and bullying behavior and a civil meaningful discourse.

Generally you know what when you see it!

There is a huge difference between civil discourse and bullying behavior. Bullying behavior by its very nature is insensitive. But, the overall implication of what EQ is does not always encompass what goes on in bullying behavior.

Sometimes the person exhibiting a low EQ doesn’t know it or doesn’t realize it at the time. When they don’t realize it … it’s up to us as fellow human beings to help them. Not in a bullying manner. Rather in a matter-of-fact manner to tell them.

You can ask soft questions to help them realize they may have gone off course. You can ask them things like:

  • Did you really mean that?
  • Is there another way you could state that?
  • How do you want your audience to interpret that?

If they don’t get it you might have to be more pointed. However, when they do get it … as Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella did (with some external guidance) congratulation them. Consider using Kati Quiqley’s Tip #8 from her 10 Guiding Principles – Be direct and specific. Don’t just say “good job”

Civil discourse is not overrated

As we have seen during this debate season the ability for what would typically be civilized human beings having a civil conversation and discourse has not always been easy for them or the moderators to achieve.

Shock and awe may be an interesting way for people to self-aggrandize, but decorum still has a place in modern communications.

Strive to have conversations instead of shouting matches. When you can get to the root of an issue and have a true conversation that’s an indicator that your EQ is being exercised.

Here are 5 things you can do to grow your EQ:

  1. Practice Empathy – Be curious about the people around you. Notice how others feel and envision yourself with those feelings. Then react and respond accordingly.
  2. Learn How to Say No – As I wrote in The Response You are Searching for is NO
  3. Listen. Wait. Learn — You can use LWL to insure you are seeking to fully understand the other person’s intent.
  4. Conjure Gratitude – It can be as simple as saying something you are grateful for at the dinner table (or on social networks if you prefer). The point is … appreciate what you have and consider this in conjunction with point #1. We have a lot more than we think. And, we can give a lot more than we think too!
  5. Feedback Matters – You can only improve if you get accurate feedback. Using points 1 through 4 you can begin to evaluate the feedback you are receiving. If it’s not working … make a change.

What’s your EQ story?

  • Who is your role model for EQ behavior?
  • How have you developed your EQ in your life and career?
  • Do you think EQ really helps people grow and stand out in their careers?