Monday, September 5, 2016

Stop Letting Your Emotions Get the Best of You!

At one time or another we have all engaged in a discussion about a person's intelligence quotient; their I.Q.  The score is based on a standardized test that assesses an individual's intelligence as compared to their peers.  A score of 100 means you are of average intelligence and those with scores that are higher have above average intelligence.  IQ is used to determine academic abilities and identify individuals who are extremely smart or who have mental challenges as demonstrated by significantly lower I.Q. scores than their peers.

While I.Q. is important, research indicates that a person's emotional intelligence, EI, is even more important.  A person's inability to control their emotions will compromise their intellect and often lead to poor decision making.  EI is also a better indicator of success in the workplace and helpful in identifying good team players, people who work better independently, and individuals who can perform well as leaders.  

Understanding EI is critical to our Christian walk and how we live our lives each and every day.  There are five elements of EI which I practice on a daily basis and often share with those seeking to improve their lives.  Here they are:

1. Self-awareness-We must be aware of our emotional state and how it is impacted by those around us.  Knowing how we feel enables us to control how those feelings impact our treatment of others.  For leaders it means knowing your strengths and weaknesses so you are in the best position to help lead your team.  

2. Self-regulation-Regulating our emotions means we are in control, able to treat others fairly, to temper our comments, and to ensure we are making good decisions.  It means we are clear on our personal values and committed to living by them even if it costs us.  When all else fail, we can remember God's word assures us we are never alone in our battles.  He stands with us!

3. Motivation-It is critical we stay motivated even in the difficult times.  Our faith motivates us to move forward inspite of the challenges we face.  We set goals, identify objectives, set timelines, and move forward.  Motive checking is critical; we should always be certain that we are being movitvated towards a course of action for the right reasons, with humility and the best interest of the team in mind.  Our motives should always align with the values and principle by which we live.  

4. Empathy-We always need to put ourselves in the other person's shoes if we are truly seeking to understand them.  Perhaps their emotions have gotten the best of them, has that never happened to you?  How then should you respond?  Many will offer the golden rule here, do unto others as you would have them do unto you.  I prefer the platinum rule, do unto others better than you would have them do unto you; go above and beyond.  Mean it!

5. Social skills-This one seems simple, but we often fail at it.  Practice great communication which means speaking to people with sincere concern for what they have to say, even if you don't like the message.  Anyone can be positive when the news is good, but it takes a true leader to stay positive when the news is bad.  Rather than become defensive, try being defenseless.  Listen to what others have to say with a commitment to resolving conflicts in a fair and just manner.  Make it a point to celebrate those around you, just as God celebrates his children each and every day.  

Emotional Intelligence is something we can improve by being aware of it, practicing it, and learning as much as we can about it.  The greater your emotional intelligence the less chance you will have of letting your emotions get the best of you.  Just a little advice to go!

(For a more in depth understanding of this topic, read Dr. Travis Bradberry's book-Emotional Intelligence 2.0 or Dr. Daniel Goleman's book-Emotional Intelligence)

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