Emotional Intelligence

Sarah Black

Sarah Black

Talking about emotional intelligence and going back to work.

Isolation is going to be our friend and we’ve got used to being on around doing things virtually and the silence and the delightful freedom of working from home and now that’s likely to change but not for all of us, but for some of us and that’s not just with work but it could be exercise where people have done lots of things online and now they feel a slight pressure to go back in to a gym or a studio. 

We can look at this two ways, and I think with emotional intelligence there are strengths to it and we really have to look at the emotional intelligence to see if it does affect us or not.  How it affects us and how it affects others especially if you are a manager or a leader, you really need to look at your own emotional intelligence and that of your team to make sure you get total productivity. 

 The four strengths of emotional intelligence when considering going back into the office are.  Self awareness, self management or Self regulation, awareness of others, or empathy and relationship management.  self awareness is really the foundation of emotional intelligence the knowledge.  

People with higher emotional intelligence will be far more aware of what’s going on. 

Emotional intelligence where did it come from? who did it? what was it all about? 

 When I was back in university studying for a commissioning degree the first thing that we had to do was complete a  Myers Briggs profiling.  Myers Briggs was a lady and her daughter that got together and they discussed mindset, emotion, intelligence behind emotion, and they created a  questionnaire, a profiling set of questions which is supposed to relate to you.  I think mine was pretty accurate at the time, being 2009, whether it is now or not I don’t know, I’d probably need to redo it but it defines you under certain preferences of how you act, and how you look on life in general.   

You need to look at Myers Briggs so you understand what I’m going to talk about.  T J preferences  they used, suggests where I focus my attention, that I’m very extroverted in the outer world of people and their findings, the way I take an information is sensory, so looking at the five senses I focus on the here and now, the way I make decisions in the team, which is through thinking.  So, people who prefer thinking tend to make decisions based on primarily, on logic and objective analysis.   I still do that especially with my compliance service and how I deal with the outer world is judging people, judging people tend to like to be planned and organised in their approach to life, that doesn’t necessarily mean that I’m judgmental that’s a different concept altogether. 

There has been lots of research over the years as to where emotional intelligence came from. In the beginning lots of studies, such as Peter Boy and John Mayer they published an article on Emotional Intelligence they talk about imagination and cognitive therapies and personality. Dave Coleman also in 1996 published a book Emotional Intelligence both of those books look at Emotional Intelligence in totally different ways.   They mention you have to feel something before you take action, when emotions run high it changes the way our brain’s function so our cognitive abilities diminish like decision making powers and even interpersonal skills. Understanding and managing our emotions or the emotions of others helps us to be most successful in both our personal and professional lives.   

On a professional level, emotional intelligence helps us have more comfortable conversations without having our feelings hurt. I would say that’s being open minded, but not necessarily managing our emotions.  When we are stressed and feeling are overwhelmed, improving relationships with the people we care about, or at work, we can use our emotional intelligence. 

Emotional intelligence can help with conflict resolution, it can help with motivating and coaching others and it creates a culture of collaboration which,  (take a look at my podcast on Connexions and Collaboration), the psychological safety within a team which is why emotional intelligence when you become a part of a team is absolutely crucial to teamwork. 

Working from home,  some of us enjoy the isolation.  For me, home-working is not a concept that I can continue doing because my business is growing and I need space for training and holding advise sessions.   Some of my friends with their own businesses they’ve absolutely excelled by working at home and their audience has become a greater and bigger because they’ve got the world at their fingertips so they’re not boundaried by their location, which has been essential in their business growth. 

 I think returning to the office we will need to self evaluate to ensure we make better choices. Think of some habits that you have acquired through working from home for instance, ask yourself what you may need to change when you must go back to the office Eg:  number one we have to get out of our PJs, get dressed every day and look the part, instead of, from the waist down we have half dressed, and left our slippers on. 

I am sure, there have been days when the working hours have diminished.  Getting up and getting out of bed has probably been hard and we have procrastinated a little bit and shorten your work day while working at home. Back in the office and we got to physically be there.  We have be physically with other humans, we then have our habits to consider,  habits at home we won’t be able to have in the office, so we have to re-establish ourselves and with that we have to re-establish our rapport with other people.  

If you’re more introverted than extroverted you would have been happy at home alone and isolated, but then you’ve gone back to the office with all those people, that probably aren’t always thinking the same as you, or feeling the same as you.   If you are a leader and you are managing staff you really need to be self aware, reviewing how you approach something, how you react to others, while supporting others. 

You need to help control the negative messages and we need to know where our anxiety indicators go.  We may wish to go back to work full time, we might want to go back just a couple of days a week, to get used to the idea. I think one of the biggest changes in contracts of employment now is the flexibility.   Working flexibility, inflexible hours, I think this  will have to be across the board for One of the major changes in all contracts of employment is  everyone’s expectation will be a flexibility in their working day.  Agree your hours with your employer its crucial, especially if you do suffer with anxiety being back in the office, don’t make it harder for yourself to calm down.   It might manifest in different ways,  some people might become more restless, they might experience muscle tension, suffer with sleep or not be able to sleep.  Check out my podcast on “Sleep Deprivation”.  The things we might have discovered when working from home is how much you love being yourself! suddenly being surrounded by others for entire work day may increase your stress levels.   consider giving yourself a few more breaks during the day and this goes back to the flexible working.  Shift workers your hours you work may be later, when most people have left the office that might come back into play you might have the luxury of closing the doors and other parts of your day when we’re at home we just close the door.  Now, we’re back in the office you might not have that luxury so you have to decide for yourself and work with your team how you’re going to manage.   

 Write an  annoyance list, all the things that you know annoy you and see if you can address other ways of getting through those annoyances, or working with your team. 

 Get others to help you through that, otherwise your stress levels are going to go up again, so think about all those things that bother you so that you can prime yourself up for the day and always be graceful when you leave.  Don’t lose that tranquilly and calmness that you had when you work from home, don’t let circumstances at work vape your energy. 

You cant go from working at home and straight into the office, I feel this is going to have to be a gradual process. When I go into my offices later in the year, I have the facility for hot desking and also hiring out training areas which would be absolutely lovely for all you people who want to spend time in an office environment,  instead of five days at home.  You might want to spend 3 days in the office and two days at home.   You will have the flexibility that they can come in and have that space for a day, or for up to five days entirely up to you, and then with the training area the facility for face to face training. 

As a teacher both concepts are good, whether in the classroom or whether online.  Personally, I like face to face because the actual physical audience in a room and the light bulb moment and an incredible feeling which you don’t always experience with online training.  

When you’re returning to work you need to be aware of other people, it is very important because everyone’s emotional intelligence will be at different levels and it will be demonstrated in different ways.   You must have the ability for care for everyone else, so interpersonal awareness is absolutely crucial in dealing with emotional disruptive times, when people need to be seen and heard and cared for, along with this comes empathy.  

Empathy, if you’re leading others, stop for a second and consider the effect that some employees will experience with feelings of going back to their cubicles might have on them.   A sudden change in routine might be incredibly stressful for your team member, so consider paying attention to others emotions, familiarise yourself with the warning signs.  I would suggest conducting  a “back to work interview”.   Ask them how they want their day to be.  Flexibility is absolutely key to a successful team and a successful business because without your staff you are alone in business and probably won’t have the growth you desire.   

Relationship management that’s what it’s about.  It is about building a relationship with your team when you go back to work, it’s the heart of emotional intelligence.  It is easy to neglect the aspects of working day when we’re in times of crisis, we need to a build up our emotional intelligence in ourselves and build the empathy and build relationships.   We must make sure that the communication is there, hold regular weekly meetings, make sure that every staff member gets the chance to have a one to one with you.  Open door policy, absolutely crucial when we’re going through massive changes in our working days.   Established sense of community, while working form home it has been harder to have the working team camaraderie, obviously we haven’t been able to rub shoulders because of social distancing, so make building relationships a priority.   When your workplace opens up.  Think about the people you need to reconnect with on a human level.   That is probably everyone to certain degree.  All of us need somebody even for five minutes, its about  managing ourselves and others and creating a safe environment.  Safety is absolutely paramount it is what’s got us through COVID, we’re going to have to continually manage our lives with or without COVID,  because we can rest assured in a few more years time, if it’s not COVID it will be something else, because that’s life.  We have to learn to manage ourselves and others.   

The mental impact of COVID has been very significant and that’s what we have to look at within ourselves and everybody else. Emotional intelligence, Take a test there are loads on the Internet, find out where you really sit on your emotions and emotion intelligence level.   If it’s really low, then look up ways to improve it, because it will help you.   It will help all those other people around you and it will make your life far more productive, far more healthy you’ll be far more self aware, supportive and full of empathy which in this world in these days empathy is key. 

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