I’ve introduced the concept of Emotional Intelligence (eQ) and I’d like to take it further, and to provide you with some simple steps to enhance your personal eQ.
Following some of these steps will enable you to realign your work-life back into balance, reduce stress, and potentially resolve current conflict (and avoid future conflicts). By connecting with your emotions at work, you’ll be better equipped to identify, handle, and avoid difficult situations before they escalate.
1. When do you do your best at work?
You may notice that you’re happier at work at certain times, and at other times you’re annoyed or frustrated. Be more mindful of these occasions and to your feelings or moods. By identifying them, you can start to determine a pattern so that you can increase the amount of time you’re happy and reduce the occurrence of negative emotions.
2. Keep a notebook detailing your feelings at work.
Another way to become more mindful of your feelings at work is by keeping a notebook of your emotions. In a small notebook or in a notebook app on your phone and create one page for each day.
To become more mindful, follow these steps.
Collect Data; On each line of the notebook page or phone app, down the left margin, write the times of the day, in one-hour increments. During the day, at the start of each hour, record your current feeling next to the time. For example, you might write happy, sad, frustrated, angry, or indifferent. Next to your feeling, record the most recent event that occurred. Write down an event such as sent an e-mail in response to a query from Sau Hoon, informal meeting with to Sam, or long phone call with Angela.
Review; Once a week, when you are feeling calm, sit down with your notebook/phone and go down the feelings column, marking each feeling as positive (+), negative (–), or neutral (0). Then work your way down the negative feelings, one at a time. Note the situations that led to the negative feelings. Assess if there are any patterns. Does dealing with certain people always trigger a negative response? Does Sau Hoon push your button all the time. What about doing certain kinds of things at work? Are negative feelings associated with meetings, phone calls? See if you can come up with two or three things that seem to cause the most negative feelings for you.
Then go through all the positive items that you’ve marked during the week. Again, look for patterns in these positive situations. Are there certain people or kinds of work that make you feel good over the course of a day? Do you notice that you feel more confident, happy, or generally positive at certain times of the day or when you’re doing tasks that you feel you are good at?
Act; Think about ways that you can increase the number and quality of the good situations and decrease the frequency of the negative ones. For the negative patterns, investigate whether they’re related to a particular person, problem, activity or anxiety.
The moment you recognize that you’re feeling aggravated in a particular situation at work, you can begin to identify why you’re feeling that way. More likely than not, something small is bothering you. Studies at work have shown that you’re more affected by the little hassles and frustrations, over the long term, than by a major positive event. If you perceive many irritations over the day or week, these irritations erode your positive feelings about your work or the organisation. The first step in enhancing your eQ and your mood is to recognise that certain events or situations stress you. You should have have identified these.
3. What can you do about irritations?
- Identify the irritations you experience at work, both big and small.
- Determine how each irritation prevents or impedes you from getting your job done.
- By yourself, brainstorm solutions about to how you can remove or reduce each irritation. If you hate speaking with Sau Hoon over the phone then maybe arrange face to face meetings or agree to exchange e-mails, or you pre-plan your conversations with her. Record these ideas in your notebook. Come up with a few ideas for each irritation.
- Meet with your supervisor to discuss the problems that you’re facing and your suggested solutions. Let your supervisor know that you want to be as efficient as you can during your workday — you want to be at your most efficient and effective at the end of the day.
Try to use the patterns to identify any areas of weakness that you may need to address.
Your negative emotions at work should provide a signal for you that something may need to be changed. By analyzing the situation, you can then determine the nature of that change. Sometimes, you need to make only minor alterations. Other times, you may need radical surgery, meaning major change to your work. I’ve found that creating options for myself and not being forced into a single course of action enables me to feel better about a potential problem in the future.
Take a good look at your strengths and try to use the positive patterns to figure out whether your current role makes the best use of your strengths. If your strengths are more technology oriented, you’ve noted your best times at work are when you use the computer for example,, you might want to move towards research, programming, database management, or any number of more technically oriented jobs especially if the negative emotions comes from dealing with people. If you enjoy people then helping others with their computer questions, in raining or technical support may be logical direction for your future career.
By analysing your emotions and moods, and what prompts the positive and negative aspects of these, results in you having more control over workflow and getting the same or more work done and this benefits everyone. If you are constantly n a productive mood at work, you feel like you’re in control of your job, instead of the job controlling you. Feeling that sense of control improves your attitude towards the job, the workplace, and the organization as a whole.
The first step in enhancing eQ is to look within, to assess the emotions you have and what creates these. This simple approach could be the answer to your work problems, I hope so. If you have other methods, please share these in our comments section.