Friday, 21 December 2012

EQ: Creating Positive Changes by harnessing the Power of Emotions

EQ as a specialist skill appears to be much more valued and appreciated in today business world than it was in the past. This seems to be true especially in relation to the focus on the people-side of performance that leaders and managers at any organisation implement. Empathy, for example, seem to be a core feature of engaging managers who, through an empathic behaviour, are better able to understand and support their teams.

In relation to this topic I recall a recorded webinar run by Six Seconds which I saw a couple of days ago. Six Seconds are a non-for-profit organisation that work with businesses to improve leadership and build positive organisational climates.

Within the whole webinar - titled “EQ Coach Cards”- some powerful questions were presented to the audience. I found these questions to be powerful and I would like to write some marginalia in that respect. I hope you can benefit from them and perhaps decide to use some of those with your people inside your organisations in order to forge solid relationships.

The presenters talked about EQ in action as divided in three main broad areas, with each one of them having some core competencies. Below are the notes I wrote down during the webinar:

1. KNOW YOURSELF: What am I feeling?
2. CHOOSE YOURSELF: What options do I have?
3. GIVE YOURSELF: What do I truly want?

1. KNOW YOURSELF. Competencies:

Emotions signal us to pay attention.

What are your emotions asking you to notice right now? Are your emotions signalling you about risks? Opportunities? As you feel the feeling, how does it change your thinking? If this feeling were an email from you to you, what might the message be?

Each feeling is a mixture of different emotions. When you go to identify and understand your feeling, it can be helpful to consider the mix of basic emotions present.
The eight basic emotions are: TRUST or ACCEPTANCE (pull closer), JOY (energise), ANTICIPATION (look ahead), DISGUST (reject), ANGER (push through), SORROW (loss of love), FEAR (risk), SURPRISE (unexpected).
As you someone enhance emotional literacy they become more skilled at noticing these signal and decoding them.

We all follow pattern of reactions – an autopilot that we use to handle those recurring situations in our day-to-day.

Do you notice your own reactions? What might push you to withdraw, attack, get quiet, get loud?

Was your reaction verbal or physical or was it just inside yourself? Are there other time you have done this? Why do you think you did that? How did you feel next?

How are your thoughts, feelings and actions interacting? Are these three working together or at adds? Are you giving too much power to one of these three pillars? What happen when you accurately sort out your current thoughts in one 'box' and feelings in another, and possible actions in a third?

What thoughts and emotions drive your actions?
Does your reaction make you feel better? If yes, how? If not, what might you have to give up if were to change this reaction? What do you have to avoid?

2. CHOOSE YOURSELF. Competencies:

It is about stopping to think of your choices for how to react.
Every reaction has costs and benefits. This competency is about taking the pause to evaluate and make sure you are heading down the right path.
Where is this going? Are you reacting automatically or responding carefully?

What are some effects of your current reaction? And, what is your ideal outcome? What is the optimal resolution to this situation – for you an other involved? If this issue was completely resolved, what would you see/hear experience so you know this is completed?
What actions might you take to help you see that 'light at the end of the tunnel'?

When we engage intrinsic motivation we tap into the core drivers that makes us unique and strong. Rather than reacting and guessing about others, intrinsic motivation is internal, reliable and full of integrity.

What is important to people you care about?
In what circumstances do you feel most alive and wonderful?

When you are strong and powerful, what quality do you show?

Sometimes we escalate our own feelings based on an untested assumption. Are we thinking that something is true without having actually checked the facts completely?

Perhaps something has happened in the past and you are expecting it to happen in the future?
How could you test your assumptions?

Sometimes we just get the some reactions over and over and over again. Check what is behind your emotions. We have a choice in our emotions!

Is there an assumption that is fueling some feelings?
If you could, what emotions would you choose to feel now?

Outside your challenge what is going well?
What opportunities are you pursuing? What are some positive contributions you have made?
How have you helped, taught or empowered others?
What is exciting and positive for you?
What can you feel grateful for or joyful about?
How can you draw strength from those positive areas and bring that to help you with the challenge?

Will the problem last forever? What haven't you tried?
If you couldn't fail, what would you do or change?

3. GIVE YOURSELF. Competencies:

There are two areas of empathy: Understanding and Connecting

Increasing empathy begins by seeing others as worthy of true respect, as fellow humans and then opening your mind and heart to them.

What else is going on to this person?
Perhaps they see a situation differently from you – what value or gift does their view provide?
What is the unique contribution or strength they are bringing to this situation?
What have they done well in the past that can help this situation?

What is the need that is underneath the other person's feeling?
What empathy can you give yourself?

A noble goal is an overarching sense of purpose that you put into action in the day-to-day moments of your life.

What do you want to add to the world, and how can you do that just a little bit each day?

When have you been 'your best self'?
How does pursuing your noble goal affect others?
If you were to put your own purpose into action a little more each day, what would be the consequences and impact on others?
How would they feel about it? What would they think?
How would you feel about this impact?
How can you make the mundane more meaningful?

As I mentioned at the beginning of these marginalia, I found some of those questions very meaningful. Perhaps, with the new year coming soon, this might be the right time to ask ourselves and others some of these questions. That might help us to hope for a new engaging year, and make some positive changes in our organisations and workplace relationships!