Working with Emotional Intelligence – September

This month our Working with Emotional Intelligence meeting focused on Chapter 5 – Self-Control. We went into this thinking we’re fairly fortunate that self-control issues are not common in our environment. In fact they are so uncommon that we’re all pretty shocked when someone here loses their temper. What we didn’t take into consideration at the start were all the different ways self-control impacts people beyond the extreme examples.

We started off with amygdala hijacking, if you’re not familiar this is where your fight or flight assessment happens. The amygdala contains all of your historical emotional response information. While this was key to our survival way back when “Will it eat me?” vs. “Can I eat it?”, in our current lifestyles we can easily short-circuit this process with high levels or maintained levels of stress hormones, leading to those over the top responses to normal situations. And when you couple perpetual stress with constant interruptions and those fake emergency emails we all receive regularly, it is easy to see how we can all get overwhelmed at times. We spent most of our self-control discussion talking about how those moments where you lose it can really impact how bystanders perceive you and how we should always keep in mind that people eavesdrop, emails can be forwarded and without the proper context everything can be misinterpreted.

Where this meeting got interesting is when we started discussing self-awareness, we are all in agreement that being aware of what you’re feeling in the moment and understanding how that might impact your reactions is very important. The wrinkle that was introduced is how do know your self-assessment is accurate. For example; people sometimes describe you as argumentative but you don’t see that at all thinking that your actions are purely intended to understand and not challenge. Which one is right? And when do you stop assessing right vs. wrong and start modifying your behavior to address the perceptions of others. We didn’t come to a clear conclusion there but instead decided that your self-assessment is only as accurate as the feedback you receive from others, if your intentions aren’t coming across to others (meaning more than one person) than it’s likely that you have some room to grow.

The rest of the chapter covered trustworthiness, conscientiousness, innovation and adaptability and how each in turn contributes to your perceived integrity and flexibility in the workplace. Everyone took the bullet items they felt they had and didn’t have for each area and we talked through ideas on improving themselves. All in all outside of the self-assessment discussion this one was pretty tame, I think mostly due to covering these points in our EIQ trainings last year. On to the next one!


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