Our emotions can often get the best of us. That is why we have to be smart with it. In today’s conversation, Patrick Veroneau talks about doubling down on emotional intelligence and the need to control emotions. He discusses how these impact the decisions we make, how we behave, and how we perform. Going deeper, Patrick touches on the ways we show up to others, the difference between being assertive and collaborative, and how we can better take hold of our emotions so we can be the best for others.
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Doubling Down On Emotional Intelligence And Controlling Emotions
This episode is a continuation of some episodes I’ve been doing around emotional intelligence and talking about emotional intelligence as it relates to doubling down on our ability to develop these skills. If ever there was a time that understanding the impact, the power, and the effectiveness of being, I would say intelligently emotional, it’s now. We know that emotions impact the decisions we make, how we behave, and how we perform. They have such a bearing on those. If I am in a position where I’m not able to understand, manage and perceive those things, either in myself or in others, then I put myself at a disadvantage. Certainly, in the environment that we’re in now, the ability to perceive, understand, and manage emotions, either mine or help somebody else to do that. When we’re in that space, we’re developing this set of skills or emotionally intelligent behaviors, we’re going to be able to do those other three things that I talk about much more easily, and that’s around inspiring, empowering, and compelling others to follow our lead.
What I want to talk about is emotional expression, and there’s a quote by Aristotle around anger, and it says, “Anyone can become angry. That is easy, but to be angry with the right person to the right degree at the right time for the right purpose and in the right way, that is not within everybody’s power and is not easy.” There’s only one part that I disagree with on that quote. It’s the part about that is not within everybody’s power. We know that we’re talking about behaviors here and there is ample evidence to demonstrate that we can modify and change behaviors. It’s not easy, but we can do it. It’s like developing a muscle. We’re going to work on our emotional expression muscle.
If you think about those things that Aristotle talked about around being angry, we can replace that with any other emotion that we could talk about. If we stick with it in terms of angry, think about that in the environment we’re in now. At the right person, how easy is it for us now to I’m feeling angry about a situation and somebody comes up to me or maybe calls me at the wrong time and I blow up at that person, but it has nothing to do with them, or maybe it’s to the right degree. It’s something that normally would be very insignificant, but because of the level of stress that I’m under right now, I blow up on that person. Maybe it’s something that happened yesterday and all of a sudden today, I decided to get angry about it, or it’s just in the right way or in the right environment is the other piece.
I could be upset with you or angry. You’re the right person that could be in the right degree and at the right time but in a sense, it’s not at the right time because we’re in a group. If we can remember what that was like to be in a group, but that I get angry at you in front of an entire audience that is on a Zoom meeting that we have, and it’s not the right time for that. Maybe that’s something that you and I should have one-on-one. I’m not going to call you out on this in front of the group and potentially humiliate you or challenge your ego on this, whatever that might be. I have to recognize that’s not where I’m going to do that.
How do we develop that ability to build stronger emotional expression and also, why is it important? If we think about it from the standpoint of developing stronger management or control over emotional expression. When we talk about emotional expression or maybe ask the question, why is it important from a standpoint of other people? I would say one of the things that we can think about in terms of developing the ability to control our own emotions better is that it provides a sense of consistency for other people in terms of they know who I am, who’s showing up.
What I mean by that is I was working with an office once and they had a manager. This was in the healthcare field. They had a nurse manager. As I talked to the staff that reported to this individual, they said, “We don’t know who’s going to show up in the morning, but that dictates how our day is going to go. If this person shows up in a bad mood, then we know people run for cover.” They don’t ask for anything more than they need from this person, because they know that this person’s volatile. They’re not predictable.Emotions impact the decisions we make, how we behave, and how we perform. Click To Tweet
When they show up in the morning and they were in a good mood, that’s a different situation. What it did was it provided so much anxiety and stress within that group because they had to wait, “Who’s showing up today, is it Jekyll or is it Hyde?” When we are that person in terms of volatility, it reduces our level of trust because they don’t know. Can I talk to you today? Can I not talk to you today? What I’m going to ask you, is it going to get you angry and you’re going to take it out on me the rest of the day? I certainly don’t want people around me to be concerned about who’s showing up, which Patrick is showing up today. Is this the good Patrick or the bad Patrick? We need to be able to recognize that.
A couple of things that are important to recognize, we can look at this in terms of a number of different ways that we can show up in terms of how we communicate and maybe how we communicate when we are in a conflict situation. Let’s look at this that we could think of five different aspects of how we might show up. It could be avoidant where I withdraw from a person. I might be angry, but instead of having a conversation with them, I choose to ignore it and not talk to that person, or maybe it’s passive-aggressive in terms of who shows up. I’m not happy with you, but also, I’m going not to address it either. We all know those situations, either that we’ve been in or other people where they say, “I’m not angry.” What they’re doing is they’re undermining what they just said or negating what they just said. It’s like putting a but in between two sentences, “No, I’m not upset, but,” or “I like the way you did this, but,” and we know that not the case.
The next is around aggressive, which is a direct approach. It’s an emotional expression that is focused on making sure that we get what we need out of this. We get our way out of this situation and we move on. We go to assertive. This is more of a direct approach of being honest and clear about solutions and events in terms of what I need, but not in a negative way. The last approach that we can take here. We almost start out with the least effective, avoidant. We go to a passive-aggressive state then we go to aggressive, then we go to assertive. We end up at collaborative. A collaborative is a direct approach like assertive is or aggressive, but it’s centered on communicating basically my feelings in providing an opportunity for others to challenge or clarify or even reframe those feeling, to make sure that they’re accurate or relevant to the situation. That’s the difference between assertive and collaborative.
Assertive is I’m going to be respectful, but it’s still going to be about what my needs are. I’m going to be asserting my needs. Whereas collaborative becomes a position where it’s about understanding what’s in the need for both of us. That’s oftentimes the idea of this third approach. This can be so important in terms of emotional expression, that when we’re getting upset or angry about things, it’s about really the pause, setting an opportunity for us to step back.
One of the things that we can often talk about in terms of emotional expression when we’re starting to get angry, we can look if that’s the emotion, if it’s upset, whatever it is, we can again go back to what we started to talk about in emotional self-awareness this. Oftentimes, we’ll go back to what our values are. If I have a value that is high in integrity, or I have a value that is high on family, and I feel like that’s being threatened or disregarded. How I show up, how I express my emotions can be very different than if it’s satisfied or not satisfied. It’s important for us to be able to find opportunities where we can pause to be able to say, “Who’s going to show up here?”
It’s like in the lesson that I had talked about self-awareness. Often, the best way for us to develop an understanding around emotional expression is to look back maybe a week ago, a couple of days ago, at a specific event that happened. What you start to do is pull that apart because what we’ll start to see when we pull these things apart is that we’re able to connect the dots. As one of the exercises that I will often talk about is we can be much more effective going forward if we understand what our triggers are from previous events.
It’s important to understand that even when we think we can hide our emotions from other people, they bleed out oftentimes in different ways. What I would challenge you to do is take some feelings and emotions that you have experienced. What are they? Why do you express those emotions to others? What are the reasons for that? If we look in terms of that continuum that we talked about of avoidant, passive-aggressive, aggressive, assertive, and collaborative. Ask yourself on that based on the emotions that you feel, where do you show up? If it’s anger, when I’m angry, do I tend to show up in the space of aggressive? Do I become more avoidant when I’m angry? Do I become more passive-aggressive? Do I become assertive?
What you’ll start to see is that there are patterns. If I’m anxious, where do I show up? Do I come become avoidant? Where am I? It’s important for us to start putting these things together. Which ones do I not tend to express for feelings and emotions? You can almost go through and look at each one of these. If I’m in an avoidance space, what are things that I am avoidant about? What do those tend to be? What values or emotions tend to bring out the avoidance side of me versus the passive-aggressive or what people? What individuals am I around that I find myself with this type of individual being more assertive or collaborative, but this individual, I seem to find that it’s more aggressive?
What you can start to do again is all about peeling the layers back on this and understanding what is it. I would strongly challenge you to look at values because what you will often find is that there probably is something within either that individual or that topic that tends to come up. That is the reason why you tend to show up as an aggressive individual for this person is as opposed to a collaborative individual with this other individual. As we develop this muscle, that’s what this is about. It’s about dissecting this, disassembling it, and then putting it back together in a way that we can recognize what those emotions are. By recognizing what they are and by setting up strategies to help us to express those better when we do that effectively, we know that we’ll make better decisions. We’ll behave better and our performance will be increased. If we are able to model this for other people, then we have an opportunity as we lead to create environments where those that report to us, their decisions, their behaviors, and their performance improves as well.
The next skill that we’ll talk about will be around recognizing and being aware of other’s emotions. That can become so important in terms of how do we navigate these situations as well. I hope you found this valuable in regards to emotional expression and how to manage your own. If you know somebody that would enjoy reading this as well, I’d ask you to forward it to them. If you haven’t subscribed, please go ahead and subscribe. It would mean the world to me if you would leave a rating or a comment in regards to this or any other episode. There is a better way to lead. In this show, the guests, the data, the research that I present are all about re-imagining what does it take to create more effective leadership? We all have the ability to do that, to inspire, empower, and compel others to want to go where we’re asking them to go. As well, until our next episode, I hope you’re able to go out there and rise above your best. Peace.