Emotional resilience at work - Articles

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« 19. EQ skills: How not to take things to heart at work »

Written by Rachel Green. Director, The Emotional Intelligence Institute. Author of "How to develop emotional resilience and manage your emotions".

How good are your skills on the fifth emotional intelligence competency: "Emotional self-management" at work.

Don't take things to heart, leave people with their own emotionsCan you, for instance, separate out your own emotions from those of other people, so that you don't get on a merry-go-round of hurt, upset or anger and can still communicate effectively?

Being able to keep your cool at work, is important for your career sucess and for the relationships that you build with stakeholders, customers and colleagues.

Every organisation has people in it who can be critical, angry or snide.

It may be your senior manager, your customers, the stakeholders, or the Chair of your board.

If you are to keep your cool at work with these types of people, and still be able to communicate effectively with them, you need to ensure you do not take to heart the things that they do or say, or don't do or don't say.

If you do, you can become awash with unhelpful emotions and end up saying the wrong thing, doing the wrong thing or escalating a conflict.

Here are some tips to help you stop taking things to heart.

Use them to help you keep your cool, leave difficult interactions feeling good about yourself, and develop your emotional intelligence and EQ even further.

Keeping your cool helps you to develop even greater levels of emotional resilience.

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EQ skills 1: Laugh and make light of it

Laughter can be a wonderful way of stopping yourself from feeling hurt or upset.

If you can keep light about a potential snide comment, for instance, then the comment has no power.

This doesn't mean that you leave yourself open to abuse. What it does mean is that you can more easily brush off potentially hurtful comments and not take them to heart. Then you don't get hurt. This is emotionally intelligent.

EQ skills 2: Delay your response

Many people retaliate very quickly before they've even had time to think through what has been said.

It's a bit like someone throwing something at you. Would you just stand there and let it hurt you or would you duck?

Delaying is like ducking. Pause before you respond.

Then you give yourself time to think of a good response and to check that you're not adding hurt to what was said or done.

Using your EQ in this situation can help stop you from hurting yourself.

EQ skills 3: The other person is "unskilled"

Think of the other person as being "unskilled" rather than being "intimidating", "bossy" or "aggressive".

I'll often say to myself, "Well that was an unskilled way of saying things, I wonder what she meant?"

This helps me keep calm and non-reactive, yet still available to help the person.

Use your EQ!

EQ skills 4: Separate out what is specific to you

Sometimes people respond to a general complaint as if it is personally directed at them.

Don't do this. Work out what is specifically about you and what is a general complaint that you happen to get because you were in the same place as the other person?

When it's not specific to you, remind yourself of this. For example, you might say to yourself, "This is about the company," or "He has obviously got a bad headache."

EQ skills 5: Monitor for early signs of irritation

Monitor for early signs of tension, irritation, or hurt and let them go before they develop.

Each of us will have physiological changes which occur early on in the process of becoming hurt or frustrated.

If you can catch your stomach tightening, your neck tightening or your hands grasping, early on, you have more chance of letting go and not hooking into the other person's comments or emotions.

Someone in one of our workshops recently discovered she started clicking her nails as a sign that she was hooking in. What are your signs?

Monitor them, then let them go immediately, before they take hold. It is a sign of a healthy EQ if you can do this.

Want to develop your emotional resilience, our unique 2 DVD set, plus ebook, plus MP3s are here to help you.

Emotional resilience premium bundle $317 $189. Add to Cart

                   Save $128. Free shipping worldwide

EQ skills 6: Keep breathing out

Keep breathing in and out.

No, I'm not joking! Some people hear something unpleasant and catch their breath and then don't let go of it.

You're more likely to take something personally if you aren't breathing! Your emotions are in your body. Manage your body.

EQ covers what happens in the whole body.

EQ skills 7: Breathe deeply and regularly

Breathe deeply so your breathing remains calm, regular and deep.

Even in a meeting it's possible to put your hand on your midriff to give yourself a physical reminder to keep your breathing deep and regular.

If your breathing speeds up and becomes shallow it could be a sign that you are getting hooked in.

How high is your emotional intelligence & emotional resilience?

There is so much that you can do to develop your emotional resilience and the E.I. Institute has a number of options to help you:

Worried that you don't have enough emotional resilience and that you need to develop your emotional intelligence more? Our unique, practical, 5-star emotional intelligence coaching package is available for you and includes the opportunity to have your emotional intelligence assessed. Boost your resilience now. Find out more here.