Yesterday I wrote about the importance of self-awareness in developing emotional intelligence in business (or “ Business EQ”).
Self awareness is important because it feeds into self-regulation, more commonly thought of as self control. When you have self regulation, you’re able to recognize your feelings and motives in a situation – and then decide how you’re going to act. This is crucial for not making mistakes – or good old-fashioned messes – in the workplace.
We’ve all seen people who act irrationally (even destructively) in professional situations. Those are people who are driven by strong emotions that they can neither identify nor regulate. Maybe it’s someone who starts yelling during meetings or turns the cold shoulder on underlings who don’t perform well. Maybe it’s someone who just cannot resist maligning a co-worker – but forgets to check the cc list on the email before sending it out. Maybe it’s someone who performs well, performs well, performs well – and then suddenly flakes out – as if he’s truly uncomfortable with success.
That’s what one might call “having no self control.”
The healthier and more constructive approach is to be able to say “I’m feeling angry” or “I’m feeling overlooked” or “I’m getting out of my comfort zone” and have enough emotional space to decide how to act — rather than to be acting out and causing unwitting damage to one’s reputation, career, or even employer/client. The healthier approach also entails having enough awareness of the stressors in one’s life to be able to mediate them somehow — whether it’s by being sure to get enough sleep, exercising, recreating with friends and family, taking up hobbies, or just sitting on the back porch and watching the birds fly by.
Why? Because keeping your stress levels down makes it more likely that you’ll be able to think clearly — and make good choices — in your day to day life. And that helps you regulate the expression of your emotions.