The old rule was to leave our emotions at home when we come to work. Even now, when many believe that employees are an organization's most valuable resource, frequently only a part of each individual is truly valued - the so-called rational processes. We've implemented many changes to the ways we use technology, yet our beliefs on how to get the best out of human beings is still grossly outdated.
Current research from neuroscientists shows that we use the same part of the brain to suppress emotions that we use for problem solving and analytical thinking. So when we suppress our emotions, there is actually less of our brainpower able to function on problem solving and analytical thinking. Rather than suppressing an emotion, if we learned to acknowledge, name and manage it, we are able to make the emotion less intense and use it as additional data to help inform us about what we are facing and the most constructive ways to react.
According to John D. Mayer and Peter Salovey, two leading researchers, emotional intelligence (EI) is "the ability to monitor one's own and others' feelings and emotions, to discriminate among them and to use this information to guide one's thinking and actions." Emotional Intelligence is a set of abilities: self-awareness, self-management, empathy and social skills that are evident in the most successful individuals and teams.
A Case for Requesting Feedback
Rarely can we accurately predict how our behavior and words impact others. Even with the best intentions, we may adversely affect a relationship or the achievement of another. Without feedback about our behavior, it's unlikely that we're able to develop new behaviors that are more productive.
That's why it's so critical to have team members learn how to give direct, respectful feedback and to learn various strategies in receiving feedback. We can learn and develop by hearing how others perceive us. Teams who learn how to give feedback well contribute to each other's development and effectiveness. I might be doing the best I know how and unless someone tells me what strategies or behaviors might be more be more fruitful, I'm left doing the same ineffective things over and over again.
For leaders, 360º feedback is a valuable way to receive honest feedback from direct reports and peers, followed by processing of the data collected and coaching to develop new behaviors, approaches and skills.
With all of our technological advances, if we also focused on building emotional intelligence, we would certainly increase our competence and experience greater job satisfaction!
Organizational development consultant, coach, facilitator, trainer