Who wants to feel angry or upset at work?! Life is hard enough without added stress at work.
So, what if you could control your emotions and enjoy your work more? Well...you can. I had a chat with an expert trainer in 'Emotional Intelligence', and have put together 9 practical tips to help you manage your emotions at work.
1. Know your hot buttons. Keep a daily log of how you feel during the day. Making notes of what you feel and when will allow you to recognise what activates your emotions. Armed with this evidence, you can begin to think of strategies that will work for you to keep what the All Blacks Rugby Union team, the most successful sports team in the world, call "a blue head" and remain calm and more effective more often.
2. You know your intentions, but others only see your behaviour. When acting, you will be aware of what is motivating you to act the way you are. Other people are not aware of your intentions and will respond based on how they view your behaviour. This can result in them not behaving how you may consider to be appropriate in the circumstances. Be clear as to why you are behaving the way you are, both to them and yourself, and you'll be able to manage the situation more effectively.
3. Manage your Inner Chimp. The book "The Chimp Paradox", by Stephen Peters is an international best seller. In it, Dr Peters lets you into the secret that you're not alone in your head, and someone else is in control 90% of the time. This is your inner chimp, and they can cause you to act irrationally and in an emotionally unintelligent way. To find out if the chimp is in charge of your thoughts and feelings, ask yourself. "Do I want..." the thoughts and feelings you're currently experiencing. If the answer is "no", then the chimp is in charge and you need to change your thoughts and feelings to have a better outcome.
4. Give your teams/people/family a good listening to. In conflict situations, a great way of handling the conflict is to set out to give the others involved a good listening to, rather than the good talking to that you may initially want to give them. Working with this emotionally intelligent tactic will enable you to get the other party's views and opinions, calm both parties down (bearing in mind that you may have been listening to the other person's chimp and not really them!) and enables discussion and thus conflict resolution to begin.
5. You can't control another person's behaviour, only your response to it. In any situation - you can only control what you do. Wishing that someone would do something different will increase your levels of frustration, and will mean a less than positive response from you. Focus on your emotions and behaviours will mean a more productive outcome for you.
6. We all have a different map of the world. A colleague of mine is a great fan of the arts, literature, music and creativity. Despite the publicity surrounding the 2016 Olympics and Paralympics, she had little awareness of what was going on, in stark contrast to myself who followed the events with great interest. She was filtering in information that appealed to her, and I was doing the same. Neither of us was wrong or right to do this, and being able to appreciate this enables me to alter my behaviour and conversation to have a more mutually valuable working relationship with her.
7. Remember, you always find what you're looking for. Henry Ford famously said "if you think you can, or you think you can't, you're probably right". If you think you are able to perform a task well, you will gather evidence of that through your creative subconscious brain. The same applies if you believe you can't do something. Your creative subconscious brain's job is to prove that you're right to think the way you do, and will seek out evidence for this. Adjust your focus, and see what you can really achieve.
8. Emotional Intelligence pays. A study by Dr Travis Bradberry, author of the book "Emotional Intelligence 2.0" and co-founder of the Talentsmart.com website, conducted a recent study, using the "Emotional Intelligence Appraisal®", which tested the emotional intelligence (EQ) of over 42,000 people, and compared their scores to their annual incomes. It was found that people with high EQs make an average of £23000 per year more than people with low EQs. On average, every point increase in emotional intelligence adds £1045 to an annual salary.
9. Feedback is your friend. Get some real feedback from a trusted friend as to how well you are managing other people's emotions. Ask them to give you AID by giving you details of the Actions they've seen from you, the Impact these actions had and then also what they'd like you to Do about it.
Good luck! :-)