Emotional intelligence, or emotional quotient (EQ), is the soft skills complement to IQ. Professionals with a high EQ are better able to work collaboratively with others, and they nurture a positive workplace culture. Two of the building blocks of EQ are the ability to be self-aware of one’s own emotions and to self-regulate them.
Understanding Self-Awareness and Self-Regulation
Humans are emotional creatures by nature. When we are under stress, it’s all too easy to feel overwhelmed and emotional. Emotions are not inherently bad—quite the contrary—but when people become overwhelmed by strong emotions, they are less able to make rational decisions, communicate effectively or act as a strong leader. Self-awareness is the ability to identify various emotions and to understand how they affect oneself and others. Self-regulation is the ability to manage them appropriately, which leads to workplace-appropriate behaviors.
Improving Self-Awareness of Emotions
People are often told to push away certain emotions and try to ignore them. This is counterproductive for building self-awareness. Instead, the next time you experience a strong emotion, allow yourself to experience it and contemplate it. What type of emotion is it? How is it affecting you? How is it affecting others around you? Use our helpful Mood Meter chart to help identify your current emotional state. We recommend printing it out and hanging it in your office for quick access.
Next, you can work on becoming aware of emotions before they surface by identifying your common triggers. Do you tend to become frustrated when your work area is noisy and interfering with concentration? Do you let that frustration simmer until you reach a boiling point and snap at a colleague?
Improving Self-Regulation of Emotions
Once you become better aware of your own emotions, you can work on managing them. It’s counterproductive to think of any emotion as inherently “bad” or “good.” Rather, try to accept that emotions are a normal part of being human, and it’s what you do with them that matters. Follow these steps:
- Take a pause. Before speaking, acting or making a decision, pause to reflect on your emotions.
- Take a breath. Breathe in through your nose to a count of three, and out through your mouth to a count of at least three. This calms your blood pressure when you’re upset.
- Take yourself out of the situation. Imagine that someone else is dealing with what you’re currently experiencing. They ask you for advice. What would you tell them to do? This will help you craft an objective response free of emotional interference.
The corporate and career coaches at Crosworks provide comprehensive workplace success services for individual employees, executives and corporations. We also recently conducted a very highly reviewed Emotional Intelligence Workshop. Contact us today for more information or to schedule a free consultation. We look forward to discussing how we can facilitate your success.