In our last blog, we began to break down the four branches that make up EQ- or your level of Emotional Intelligence. We explored the first area of EQ: Perceiving Emotions. Being able to accurately interpret a person’s emotions through both verbal and nonverbal communication is just the start towards building your EQ skills. The second branch of EQ is the ability to use emotions properly.
By knowing how emotions affect our thinking and how to utilize our emotions, we can become more effective at problem-solving, reasoning, decision-making, and creativity.
There are times as a leader when it behooves you to be able to facilitate the emotions of a team. You have the capability to improve or impair your team’s morale, which can be the difference between a unified, productive team and an unmotivated, disheartened team.
For example, you have a very important project with a tight timeline. Do you have the capability to get your team excited about the project? Are you able to read where the team is currently and create the right feeling and emotion to lead them toward accomplishing the project? Are you able to get them motivated, energized, and inspired to tackle the task?
Some helpful questions to ask yourself regarding your skill level in using emotions:
Are you able to move people emotionally (head and heart)?
Are you able to quickly shift your feelings when it is beneficial to do so?
Are you a self-motivator?
Are you able to catch the attention of others?
Are you able to feel what another person is feeling (more than just understanding their viewpoint)?
The last question goes beyond the standard concept that it is important to empathize with one another. While empathy is just as important, the skill I am referring to here is the ability to shift your mood to match someone else for the appropriate situation.
For example, in our Meaningful Alignment workshop, we lead participants through a visualization exercise that gives a quick example of how we might automatically shift our emotions and mood when we feel appropriate.
Let’s break down the exercise:
We start the exercise by asking them to visualize going to a funeral. We tell our participants to monitor their mood from when they leave their home, throughout the drive, and when they arrive and participate in the ceremony. We ask them how their mood shifted from when they were at home and how it changed when they participated in the ceremony?
To take this a step further, as part of the visualization, we inform them that they are leaving the ceremony and will then head to their favorite nephew’s 7th birthday party. Once again, we ask them to monitor their mood on their way to the party, arriving at the party and finally seeing their nephew, who was most excited to see them. Now, what moods did they experience? How was it different from the funeral?
Undoubtedly most were able to appropriately shift their mood from a more somber state when attending the funeral to a more positive and joyful state when greeted by their favorite nephew. This is an example of using emotions correctly during appropriate situations. After all, a 7-year-old may not understand if his favorite aunt or uncle arrived at his birthday party melancholy and full of gloom.
As you can see from these examples we use in our workshop, the ability to use emotions goes further than being able to perceive them. Using emotions allows you to better empathize with the people around you, whether at a funeral or a birthday party.
Properly using emotions is the next step in expanding your Emotional Intelligence and becoming a happier, healthier leader for your people. In the next blog of this series, we will dive into what it means to understand emotions.
How can I improve Emitonal Inteligence (EQ)? https://psychcentral.com/lib/what-is-emotional-intelligence-eq
Emotional Intelligence Toolkit: https://www.helpguide.org/articles/mental-health/emotional-intelligence-toolkit.htm?pdf=13509
How to Embrace Change using Emotional Intelligence: https://hbr.org/2018/12/how-to-embrace-change-using-emotional-intelligence
A Surprising New Way to Use Your Emotional Intelligence: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/fulfillment-any-age/202107/surprising-new-way-use-your-emotional-intelligence