What is EI? Articles

What is EI? - Article categories


« 12. EI Competency 7: Emotional self-control »

Written by Rachel Green. Director, The Emotional Intelligence Institute, accredited MSCEIT consultant.

What is emotional intelligence and the emotional quotient?

Emotional intelligence or EQ is a series of several skill subsets or competencies. The Genos emotional intelligence model includes "emotional self-control" as the last of their seven competencies of emotional intelligence.

Interestingly, other models do not often separate managing strong emotions from the more general ability to manage one's own emotions.

However, what I have found is that someone may have good skills in managing their emotions until some of the stronger and potentially more extreme emotions arise.

Examples of these may include, feeling furious, terrified, panicked, grief-stricken, bitter, powerless, exasperated, exhilarated or in love.

These strong emotions can be destructive in the work environment or remove a person's attention from their work so they become distracted, scattered and unproductive.

In this EQ/EI article you will find:

  • A definition of emotional self-control.
  • The aspects I consider to be involved in this dimension.  
  • A key step you can use to further develop your ability to manage strong emotions.

How high is your emotional intelligence? Take the Mayer-Salovey-Caruso-Emotional-Intelligence-Test (MSCEIT) to find out and gain feedback on the results from our Director, emotional intelligence specialist, Rachel Green. Click here to find out how.

Further resources on the Mayer Salovey emotional intelligence model.

Definition of emotional self-control

The skill of effectively controlling any strong emotions experienced.

There are many aspects to emotional self-control. For example, it may mean:

  • Recognising in advance when a strong emotion is building up and has the potential to overpower you, and being able to circumvent this before it does. Emotional intelligence and EQ is not about avoiding emotions or ignoring or repressing them; it involves being smart with your emotions. This is an essential skill for everyone in the workplace including the leadership team.
  • Being able to use self-calming techniques so that you can quickly reduce the strength and severity of the emotions.
  • Being able to use techniques which allow you to continue working productively even when strong emotions, such as extreme anxiety or panic, are present. This can be essential when giving presentations, for example.
  • Making sure you do not become stuck in unhelpful and negative emotions. Emotional intelligence involves paying attention to, acknowledging and moving through all your unhelpful emotions, including strong ones. Controlling your strong emotions does not mean habitually burying your feelings or suppressing the emotions and memories of traumatic events. This is emotionally unhealthy.
  • Being able to understand the destructive impact that the emotion may have on yourself, your reputation and others, and taking steps to successfully reduce this impact.
  • Being able to remove yourself from the situation in which you are experiencing destructive emotions, such as fury and exasperation, until you have returned to a more productive state, so that no one gets harmed.
  • Understanding what triggers these emotions in you, so that you can reduce the triggers and experience the strong emotions less frequently.
  • Being able to take responsibility for your own emotions without blaming others for them. Blame in the workplace is destructive.
  • Recognising when you are being distracted by romantic thoughts, excitement over holidays, and other strong "positive" emotions that stop you from concentrating; and being able to park them until you have finished your work.
  • Being able to manifest positive outcomes from the strong emotions. For example, feeling furious may be related to an injustice you have witnessed and can be used to empower you to change and rectify the situation.

How well do you manage your strong emotions? It is an important component of emotional intelligence and EQ, isn't it?

Want to do the MSCEIT to measure your emotional intelligence? It is the gold-standard ability measure. To find out how to take the Mayer-Salovey-Caruso-Emotional-Intelligence-Test and gain feedback on the results from our Director, emotional intelligence specialist, Rachel Green, click here

Further resources on the Mayer Salovey emotional intelligence model.

Ways to develop your EI and emotional self-control at work.

There are numerous steps you could take.

I recommend you start by writing down three strong emotions which you experience.

Then identify three ways you can reduce each emotion so it does not interfere with your work performance.

Also watch this video I have made on simple energy techniques - it gives a technique that can be used to help settle emotions, particularly presentation anxiety. I can teach it to you in more detail if you wish: http://youtu.be/vYGBNK_1av8

Emotional control is a vital emotional intelligence skill for anyone in a leadership position. It is important in building long-term co-operative relationships, gaining respect and recognition, and building trust. Without trust it is hard to be a successful leader or to run a successful business.

Develop this emotional intelligence competency now.

Emotional intelligence case study: A case study of emotional control in the workplace is here.

Have your emotional intelligence assessed now.

Want to know how high your emotional intelligence is? There is another model of emotional intelligence, by Salovey and Mayer, that has an ability-based emotional intelligence test called the MSCEIT which you can complete online.

Click here to find out how to take the Mayer-Salovey-Caruso-Emotional-Intelligence-Test (MSCEIT) and gain feedback on the results from our Director, emotional intelligence specialist, Rachel Green.

Develop your emotional intelligence now

We have many resources plus coaching packages to help you. Click here for the 5 star emotional intelligence coaching package, or for more details or to make a booking e-mail us now or pick up the phone and call us.

Develop your emotional intelligence now and lead a happier, more productive life and improve your work relationships, whether with colleagues, stakeholders or customers.