Who’s running the show? You or your emotions?!

I find it fascinating that so many of us have been urged to not get so emotional at work, and that there has been an understanding in so many corporate workplaces that emotions were to be left at the door.

This has been especially true in finance teams, where I have spent most of my working life, where decisions are all supposed to be based on logical rational data, and emotions are to disregarded or suppressed.

And YET it is not possible to make decisions without emotions! We are emotional beings and the idea that emotion gets in the way of logic is simply wrong!

Neuroscientist Antonio Damasio’s research details the case of “Elliott” who had part of his frontal lobe removed to remove a tumour. All assessments demonstrated that Elliott still had a high IQ and could fully function according to all medical tests, and yet his life fell apart because he could no longer connect emotion and reason and became completely unable to make a decision. For example, he could weigh up all the pros and cons of particular restaurants but could not relate those back to how he would “feel” about either choice and so ended up unable to choose.

Now I am not suggesting that we make decisions wholly based on our emotional responses (ever heard of an “amygdala hijack”, which is an immediate and overwhelming response out of proportion to the trigger?) but being able to weigh up both reason and emotion is absolutely essential to working collaboratively to ensure good decision making and key to that is developing your own emotional intelligence. Building awareness of your own emotional responses and learning to regulate them appropriately is key to then increasing your ability to manage relationships with others, through empathy, inspiration and motivation.

After all, you are a human being all day every day, not just outside the office!

So how can you develop your emotional intelligence?

Take time to reflect on what is important to you and what you really want in your life, practice mindfulness and observe what is happening within your body when you feel “triggered”. Developing your own self-awareness is the most important first step.

Then practice compassion when dealing with other people, understanding that everyone else has their own stories and struggles, which you may not fully understand.

Working with a coach can provide an opportunity to explore triggers and unpack the stories attached to those triggers and provide the space for you to reframe your stories so that you can change your behaviours.

If you would like support stepping up into your next role or figuring out the next steps in your life/career or how to increase your leadership capacity please book in a discovery call with me for a confidential no-obligation chat today here or email to [email protected]

Sue runs sue rosen executive coaching and specialises in helping people unleash the power of their potential.


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