Rebecca Bales, Lumina Learning Partner, USA
There is a lot of buzz in the industry around Emotional Intelligence, which primarily deals with having interpersonal skills. The issue is really much broader than this. As we go throughout our day, we may experience a variety of positive and negative emotions based on specific situations or how we perceive our interactions with others.
“What’s with all the leadership closed-door meetings? Are we going to have a layoff?” (fear)
“How dare they pass me over for that promotion? After all I’ve contributed to this company!” (anger)
These situations can ignite emotional triggers which drive our behaviours and reactions. Becoming aware of these positive and negative emotions, being in charge of them, how we react and behave because of them is the key. We call this being flexible or agile with your emotions.
Most of the time, especially in the workplace, we don’t take the time to think about the emotions we’re experiencing, or to consider how they might impact our behaviours. That usually happens after the fact – on the drive home when we ruminate on a heated discussion and wish we’d handled it differently. Or it may not happen until someone calls us out on our behaviour the next day. Or worse, it may not happen at all.
In his work, psychologist Robert Plutchik identified eight basic emotions and their opposites: joy – sadness; trust – disgust; fear – anger; surprise – anticipation; sadness – joy; disgust – trust; anger – fear; anticipation – surprise. Plutchik theorised that:
- Emotions have served an adaptive role in helping organisms deal with key survival issues posed by the environment
- Primary emotions can be conceptualised in terms of pairs of polar opposites
- All emotions vary in their degree of similarity to one another
We need our emotions! Even the ones that we might consider negative – sadness, anger, fear, disgust. In fact, according to an article in Scientific American, “anger and sadness are an important part of life, and new research shows that experiencing and accepting such emotions are vital to our mental health. Attempting to suppress thoughts can backfire and even diminish our sense of contentment.”
So the key is not to suppress your emotions, but to become more aware and appreciative of both positive and negative emotions, and in so doing, recognise how they impact your behaviours. This enables your ability to reframe your behaviour into a more productive response.
Once you have an awareness of how you typically respond to certain triggers and in certain situations, you can choose a different response. It’s not about avoiding certain emotions, or interpreting them as good or bad. After all, your emotions are your emotions. It’s about understanding them and learning to adjust your behaviour accordingly.
When we experience an emotion, we should recognise and act on it. You know you are feeling something, what are you going to do with that? Are you acting in a way that aligns with your belief system, or are you reacting to old baggage? Emotions are not good or bad, right or wrong. We have to reframe and understand where they are coming from, or act on them and make a change. Our emotions come into play when our core values are compromised. If our behaviours are not in line with our core values, it creates discontent within us.
So how do you begin the journey from recognising both positive and negative emotions to managing behaviours? Lumina Emotion is the internal compass that helps us align our behaviours with our values and beliefs. The Lumina Emotion Portrait uncovers the relationship between your inner feelings, emotions and behaviours. It examines unique patterns of behaviour, including how you may tune up or tune down certain behaviours to suit the needs of your environment. It also focuses on how you can overplay your strengths and highlights potential blockers to interpersonal effectiveness – those emotions we feel when we are overly stressed or under pressure. Lumina Emotion helps you understand how you will react. It takes you on a journey to composure, which helps you find the behaviour that will rescue you.
Contact: RebeccaBales@luminalearning.com, Lumina Learning Partner, USA
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