Do you always know what is best for others?
So often I hear someone say they really care about others. They want what is best for them so they like to help. You know the person who sees you feeling sad and tells you they are taking you out tonight. This will make you feel ‘all better’.
When someone is uncomfortable seeing another exhibiting emotion, they may become uncomfortable. When this happens, they tend to take over to fix and solve. Why? Because this makes them feel better. They feel as if they have helped and if the person doesn’t do as told, it’s not their problem. They have tried to fix and that makes them feel better.
Emotional intelligence (EI) has been described as an imperative practice for leaders if they are to build the connections and relationships needed to be effective in their jobs. EI involves being aware of our emotions, managing them and developing an awareness around others so we can be in a relationship with them.
Let’s look at the second component, managing our emotions. Managing our emotions is not about fixing things for others so we feel better. Instead, we need to be aware of what we are feeling and then manage it for ourselves, not others. So in the example above, if we notice another is feeling sad, we need to notice what is coming up for us. What about their sadness is making us feel uncomfortable. Focusing inward on our emotional response builds awareness and helps us begin to manage our own emotion. If we can manage our own emotions, we can then show up, not as a fixer, rather as someone who just cares and wants to support. We can be there for them in the way that works for them, not the way we think should be. In this case, we can then be empathetic. We manage our own discomfort so we can show up for them as they want us to, not as we think we should as a solver.
4 Tips for Managing Your Emotions:
- Be Present:
We need to be present, in the moment, if we are to experience what is going on for us and for others.
- Be Self Aware:
Building on last week’s blog, self-awareness helps us understand what we are feeling and what is behind it. We need to be aware of our emotions if we are to manage them.
- Be Curious:
If we are to manage our emotions, we need to understand what is behind them. What is the reason you are feeling a certain way right now? Did something happen that has elicited this feeling? What can you do about it so you are respectful of yourself and others?
- Be Intentional:
When our emotions take over, we react, usually to protect ourselves. Instead, when we manage our emotions, we become intentional in our responses. We reflect on how we want to be respectful and respond to ensure we build a connection and relationship.
Our emotions can be an enormous asset for us to access and embrace, helping us be more effective as leaders. To do this, we need to acknowledge the gifts of our emotions, understand them and manage them in a way that supports us in building the connections and relationships we want and need to succeed.
Co-Founder of The Institute Of Curiosity
Kathy Taberner is a retired occupational therapist, Professional Certified Coach (PCC) with a MA in leadership and training. With her daughter, she is a co-founder of the Institute of Curiosity and co-author of the ‘Power of Curiosity’. She is committed to supporting women to strive to become the dynamic and successful leaders they want to be. Her research project for her Masters explored the leadership styles and emotional intelligence of senior female leaders in BC.
She and her husband of many years, share their time between the Okanagan and Vancouver.