Speech is silver, silence is golden. Communication has the ability to build relationships at work, in our private lives, in love, but also in motivation. Lack of communication or if misused, could have negative results. How do you find the right balance and make the conversation more successful at work place? Some extreme behaviors like aggression, fearfulness, excessive openness, secrecy or borderline personality disorder are the most unwanted reactions.
The ability to listen, understand other people’s emotions and control our own, as well as knowing how to express mutual respect, is how we define our emotional intelligence. This is a key element to facilitating interaction with others and, as a consequence, a distinguishing factor of most of business leaders.
Easier said than done.
Everyone has experienced that moment where it is impossible to control our emotions, effectively paralyzing our natural (normal) behaviors. Stress, difficult customers, hard to reach goals, targets, KPIs. Complicated conversation with the boss or employee, incomprehensible processes or business decisions. Tasks beyond our skills. Sounds familiar? That’s why we should learn how to control our behaviors. Why? Turning the situation around… we all know how we react to a volatile individual near us. We rarely analyze whether it is a mental problem or a stressful situation in which he/she finds themselves in. Irrational reactions in difficult situations can also be a professional nail in the coffin, resulting in no promotion, escalations, complaints, reprimand or unsatisfied customer.
How to deal with difficult situations?
- Take a deep breath – intuitively we all know that emotions are the worst advisor. Where possible, it’s worth taking a minute, disconnect from the difficult situation.
- What do you feel? – naming emotions is giving us the chance to distance ourselves. It’s also good to talk with friend or write thoughts down and read them out loudly afterwards.
- Find a solution – think about available options, make a plan, write a “to do” list, decide and move.
- When you have no influence – just focus on something else. When it’s a “force majeure” you don’t have control. To not fuel frustration – leave it.
- Talk about the facts – when you don’t have time to relieve the tension and you need to react quickly on a stressful situation, its better to focus on the facts and arguments in your communication. This allows you to cut out emotions from the message.
- Relax – You can train your emotional balance. First you need to find your own way to calm down. Calm breathing, muscular relaxation, meditation, sport, chillout.
- Think positive – the rule is well known and gives opportunity to control your thoughts. It is worth focusing on the positive aspects and remove non-constructive ones.
- Ask – discussion is very important. Both dialogues (thoroughly understanding each other) and clear talking about your feelings. There are no stupid questions, do not hesitate to ask them. This applies to both, the employee and the boss. If the task is unclear – ask! If the command is carried out incorrectly, check if you have clearly expressed your expectations! If the answer to your question is not what you expected – think whether you asked it correctly!
- Take care of your health – health problems can increase your reactions on negative emotions. When negative emotions impact you too often, this might be a warning sign.
- Survive the difficult times – when you have stomach ache, nausea, shaking hands, tears – wait and observe once symptoms disappear.
“Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom” – Aristotle.
In addition to the ability to control emotions, it is important also to interpret what it wants to tell us. Feelings giving us precious information and allows us to adapt to changes and social life. That’s why emotional intelligence is so important.
How to develop emotional intelligence?
- Learning about ourselves is a lifelong adventure – talking to each other is very valuable. Know what we want to do today and tomorrow. Analyze emotions from the whole day, our opinions and actions.
- Control emotions – react before negative emotions appear. When you feel that you are close to “blowing up”, try to control it. No one has more control on your life than yourself.
- Empathy is a key – we all know how important it is. When we like someone and agree with this individual, it’s simple. When opposite, most likely we run away from this situation. Facing this we might learn a valued lesson.
- Life is beautiful – even bad days can end positively. We can go shopping, go to our favorite restaurant, cinema or we can meet up with friends.
- Smile at strangers – search and offer positive emotions. Positive communication with each other can make you feel happy, giving happiness to others.
“If you treat an individual as he is, he will remain how he is. But if you treat him as if he were what he ought to be and could be, he will become what he ought to be and could be” – Goethe.
Big thank you to my amazing peer Scott for his support and proofreading! 🙂