In her new book, “LIVE IT! Mastering Positive Attitude Habits,” Catherine asks readers to consider how their temperament and personalities impact their daily attitudes. She builds on these concepts in the next chapter by asking readers to rate their emotional intelligence.
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There is another important factor to consider specific to who you are being: emotional intelligence. Like temperament and personality, emotional intelligence can be so central to who we are, we might not give it conscious thought until we focus on the behaviors that define our attitude.
According to Daniel Goleman’s book, Working with Emotional Intelligence, “Emotional intelligence refers to the capacity for recognizing our own feelings and those of others, for motivating ourselves, and for managing emotions well in ourselves and in our relationships. It describes abilities distinct from, but complementary to, academic intelligence, the purely cognitive capacities measured by IQ. Many people who are book smart but lack emotional intelligence end up working for people who have lower IQs than they but who excel in emotional intelligence skills.”
In Emotional Intelligence – A Practical Guide, by Dr. David Walton, the key components of Emotional Intelligence are:
- Managing your emotions
- Understanding others’ behaviors and feelings
- Managing your relationships (using effective social skills)
Understanding your temperament and personality strengthens your emotional intelligence. That work is focused on self. Emotional intelligence includes self-awareness, but expands the picture to include other people.
Emotional intelligence directly relates to the title of this book: LIVE IT! Mastering Positive Attitude Habits.
You can feel a range of emotions, identify what you are feeling, understand the feelings of others, and interact in healthy ways for a more satisfying life. Emotional intelligence is the pathway by which you can get your needs met while nurturing relationships.
Low level emotional intelligence might look like an attitude issue because the person doesn’t seem to care about how others respond to him/her, or worse, they might get very agitated with coworkers and form a blaming viewpoint instead of considering how their actions created the conflicted responses. Low level emotional intelligence people might hear how another person is feeling, but they don’t put forth the effort to validate those feelings. They may go so far as to invalidate the other person’s feelings, even saying they shouldn’t feel that way or mock them for the way they feel.
Other behavior patterns stemming from low emotional intelligence might include:
- deflecting away from the topic being discussed (if it is uncomfortable or holds the person accountable in some way)
- becoming immediately defensive without fully listening to what is being said
- exaggerated responses that spiral the discussion away from solution-focused content
- all or nothing declarations that shut down discussions
- accusations that have nothing to do with the topic at hand (another form of deflection)
- “checking out” as if there is nothing valuable to be learned by listening to others
- jumping to conclusions without going to the person(s) involved to validate your viewpoint
- justifying one’s own destructive behaviors because of what someone else is doing
- “blowing up” over seemingly small issues
- bullying coworkers to get what you want
There are other behavior patterns linked to this subject; I am listing the ones I’ve encountered most frequently in my work as a trainer and performance coach.
Emotional intelligence is a significant attitude factor.
Emotional intelligence is required if you are going to master positive attitude habits. Why? You might think of yourself as a positive person and a productive employee, but if you don’t act like a positive person and interact with a collaborative style that respects others, you are blocking productivity. It’s not likely others will respect you as a leader if you are operating with stunted emotional intelligence.
One technique for demonstrating emotional intelligence is making appropriate “connection efforts” with other people. The connection effort is your emotion and knowledge combination for validation and building rapport. This is the connection effort process in its most basic form:
- Observe the emotion being expressed by the other person. (Actively listen to the message and pay attention to body language). Stop doing other things, including running your analytic mind that wants to formulate your response instead of listening.
- Demonstrate the appropriate emotional response. For low-expressive personality types, this step requires conscious effort.
- If a person is frustrated, what emotion do you think he/she expects from you?
- If a person is excited about an achievement, what emotion do you think he/she expects from you?
- If a person is sad, what emotion do you think he/she expects from you?
What emotional response do you think people expect from you in the following situations?
- Feeling disrespected by your actions
- Confused because of something you said
- Frustrated due to hearing different messages from different people, including you
- Feeling stupid because he/she can’t figure something out or is struggling with something others seem to grasp
How do you typically respond in these situations in comparison to the response you think people expect?
The list could be as long as there are human emotions, but you get the point – your emotional connection effort should vary according to the expressions of other people. Your emotional connection effort should not depend on YOUR mood or YOUR needs. Emotional connection effort is based on what other people expect or need.
The connection effort process continued:
- Validate what the other person is telling you.
- Take appropriate action if action is the next step.
One of the difficulties many organizations face is having promoted people into leadership positions because they were good at the tasks of their front line jobs. It becomes quickly apparent task skills aren’t enough to lead others. Emotional intelligence is at the center of effective leadership.
How does your temperament impact emotional intelligence? There are several layers to this, but I’m going to focus on the part I most frequently encounter in my work: some people naturally have the patience to participate in the connection effort process. They have the ability to effectively manage both tasks and people. Others have to learn to have patience to demonstrate connection effort because this skill doesn’t come naturally to them.
Some people don’t think they should have to take time to move through the connection effort process. They prefer to focus on tasks instead of people. And yet, these individuals often pursue leadership positions. Connection effort skills are a core competency in building rapport and having others feel respected by you.
How does your personality impact emotional intelligence? Your personality shines through as you participate in the connection effort process.
LIVE IT! can serve as a gauge for perceiving the emotions of others and taking time to respond appropriately.
Some people come across as authentic, honest, collaborative and caring. Even during disagreements, they have the skill for making others feel valued and understood. They can say things such as, “I’m very frustrated by this,” or “I’m starting to get angry because this is important to me and it’s not working out at all like I anticipated,” but they maintain emotional control even while expressing their emotions. They stay on point even when the topic is uncomfortable or controversial. Although they may get along with most of the people most of the time, they aren’t necessarily “liked” by everyone; but they are respected.
Low emotional intelligence employees leave co-workers with an uneasy feeling, not sure if they can trust what was said. Worse, they act defensive when under pressure, even yelling in an attempt to control the discussion. If they hear something they don’t want to hear, they might walk out of the room without saying anything. When overwhelmed, they may shut down communication altogether. When the topic is uncomfortable or controversial, they tend to deflect by bringing up other topics or old issues. They justify their behaviors with thoughts like, “I was just being myself,” while co-workers might be thinking, “no, you were being a jerk”. They believe conflict is everyone else’s problem. And yet, these individuals often pursue leadership positions.
And then there are those people somewhere on the spectrum between the two categories of people I’ve described. These are the people in touch with who they are, confident enough to risk being themselves while consciously engaged in the continuous development of their emotional intelligence.
There are smart, even brilliant, people who have had tremendous impact on the business world – and maybe even the world at large – who suffered from low emotional intelligence. These people may have even been tremendously charismatic. I’m confident these types of people are among us now…visible daily on television or highly visible in the companies they own. So what’s the difference between them and most of us? They are so powerful in some way, people are forced to tolerate their lack of emotional intelligence.
For most of us, self-knowledge linked to managing our emotions combined with understanding others and establishing common ground with them are core skills that will have a direct impact on our career paths. For most of us, people aren’t going to put up with low emotional intelligence. They will revolt in any number of ways! From complete avoidance to attempts to launch the firing process, people can get pretty creative when they feel forced to work with low emotional intelligence.
Before we get into the practical tools associated with mastering positive attitude habits, I believe it’s useful to do some self-exploration and consider how your temperament, personality, and level of emotional intelligence influence the attitude you demonstrate most consistently.
This chapter continues with limiting beliefs, supporting beliefs, action assignments, and humorous illustrations. This is the perfect gift for yourself or anyone looking to transform their career or personal relationships: