Improve your emotional intelligence through self-management
Be honest: do you control your emotions or do your emotions control you? Self-Management refers to the act of taking responsibility for our emotions. When we take responsibility for the way we feel, it gives us a tool for making decisions that most support our mental and emotional health. That in turn helps us be successful in motivating ourselves to achieve our goals. It helps us to overcome stumbling blocks and remain in action towards the things that we want in life. It lets us experience emotions without being controlled by them and it aids our ability to build strong, lasting, and rewarding relationships – both in and out of the workplace.
The competency of self-management has six different skill attributes: Self-control, trustworthiness, conscientiousness, adaptability, achievement orientation and initiative. Let’s examine a few of them a bit closer.
Self-control is the ability to refrain from knee-jerk reactions in response to your emotions. It is the ability to stop and think before acting, and to pause and consider the best course of action in the present situation. It involves knowing what is important to you, what isn’t, and how that will translate into your actions and behavior.
Did you ever here the old ‘count to ten’ advice when you are really upset? That advice is about self-control and making sure that what you are about to do or say is in your best interest and the best interest of the people around you.
In our society, we all tend to be overcommitted. We tend to say yes to more things than we can actually do, and then we end up having to give up some of them. Self-management involves being trustworthy in the sense that you will be honest about what you are and are not capable of doing.
Another way to think about trustworthiness is to think of integrity. In the simplest terms, it means acting in a way that is aligned with your values. So if you say that you value your job, trustworthiness would result in you doing the best job that you possibly can. If you say that you value your relationships with others, trustworthiness would mean that you don’t gossip, you value their opinions and feelings, and you act accordingly.
But how does this relate to our emotions? If you trust yourself, you can trust that you will respond to your emotions by doing what is best for you in the given situation. And others can trust that even if your first emotion is a knee-jerk reaction, your values will hold sway in the end and you will do what is right in the situation.
The easiest definition of adaptability is that it describes someone who doesn’t allow feelings about change to become the source of emotional and performance roadblocks. The fact is, things always change. People leave organizations, budgets get cut and positions get eliminated, divisions reorganize and duties get reassigned. So being adaptable will be a skill you are guaranteed to need at some point in your career.
In order to develop this skill, you will need to be able to identify why change might be causing a negative emotional response. For example, let’s say that you get reassigned from one sales team to another. Why might that cause you to have negative reactions? Some possibilities are:
- Fear of not getting along with the new boss or colleagues
- Fear of not having customer accounts that are as lucrative
- Fear of not being granted the privileges that your old boss did
Obviously, these are just suggestions – every situation will be different. But once you understand why you might be resisting the changes that you face, you can choose to handle it properly by addressing the fears or other feelings you have. You will become more adaptable the more that you practice using this and other tools of self-management.
Another skill involved in self-management is initiative. People who have a high level of initiative in the sense of emotional intelligence are those that look for ways to continually develop themselves. They recognize that in order to be truly happy, they have to take responsibility for their lives.
That may involve making lifestyle changes, getting more education, learning new skills, developing new habits, or any other action that will help them to improve the quality of their life. They don’t blame others or the universe for their problems, they look for their own role in their current situation, and they accept responsibility for making any necessary changes. They look forward to taking the next step on their path of development because they have experienced the positive benefits that have come from what they have already achieved, and they want more.
They also take initiative in problem-solving and conflict resolution. They don’t allow disagreements to fester or misunderstandings to linger. They take the necessary actions to clear away negative emotions that are stopping or hindering them, and they take action to prevent further similar occurrences.