Holiday Glee vs Holiday Despair

December 06, 2017  |   Posted by :   |   YPHR Blog

Holiday Glee vs Holiday Despair (1)

Tis the holiday season, which is meant to be a time of gratefulness, spending time sharing and exchanging gifts with family and friends. But for many of us who are not from a 1950s sitcom the holidays tend to be a far more stressful experience and for some a very difficult time. This combination of a spirit of giving and emotional stress and difficulty makes the holiday season the perfect time to tune into your emotional intelligence.

We probably also know people who are masters at managing their emotions. They don’t get angry or show their emotions in stressful situations. Instead, they have the ability to look at a problem or situation and calmly find a solution. People like this have a high degree of emotional intelligence, or EI. They know themselves very well, and they’re also able to sense the emotional needs of others.

EQ is an emotional awareness of your own internal feelings and those of others.

Would you like to be more like this?

It’s the ability to use that understanding to better relieve stress in your own life and moderate your own actions, as well as communicate, empathize, and positively resolve conflict with others. EQ embodies the key traits of an authentic leader who effectively engages their team. To best understand EQ its helpful to break it down into its four component parts. Let me introduce it to you with an example from the upcoming holiday season to further explain them.

  •   Self-awareness – Most simply this means knowing yourself and specifically how your emotions effect your thoughts and behaviors.

Example – This could mean simply understanding that the holidays are stressful for you, and you may not enjoy the work holiday gathering so being aware of your body language and nonverbal message that you exude will be important to your career.

  •  Self-management – This is applying that self-awareness to proactively counter the negative effects of stress and certain emotions.

Example – Keeping with the holidays are stressful, this could mean planning less time at the holiday gathering and recognizing that certain topics might be a hot button therefore avoided so you in control of your emotions. It might also make sense to increase your time in self-care activities such as exercising, meditating or going for massage. 

  • Social-awareness – This is the ability to read and understand the emotions of others. This can include empathizing with the emotions of others and recognizing any power dynamics that might be present in social situations.

Example – This could mean recognizing an air of melancholy in a colleague at the holiday work gathering. Recognizing that a negative comment made might be due to the recent lost a parent or divorce.

  •  Relationship management – Again, this is applying the emotional understanding from your social-awareness to your relationships with individuals.

Example – This could mean simply engaging a melancholy team member in conversation, while avoiding topics that could be difficult for them.  It could also mean using the holiday gathering as an opportunity to nurture and build a challenging relationship with a colleague.

As more and more people accept that emotional intelligence is just as important to professional success as technical ability, organizations are increasingly using EI when they hire and promote.  As you’ve probably determined, emotional intelligence can be a key to success in your life – especially in your career.

How to Improve Your Emotional Intelligence

The good news is that emotional intelligence CAN be taught and developed. There are many books available to help you determine your current EI, and identify where you may need development. You can also use these tips:

  • Observe how you react to people. Do you rush to judgment before you know all of the facts? Do you stereotype? Look honestly at how you think and interact with other people. Try to put yourself in their place, and be more open and accepting of their perspectives and needs.
  • Look at your work environment. Do you seek attention for your accomplishments? Humility can be a wonderful quality, and it doesn’t mean that you’re shy or lack self-confidence. When you practice humility, you say that you know what you did, and you can be quietly confident about it. Give others a chance to shine – put the focus on them, and don’t worry too much about getting praise for yourself.
  • Do a self-evaluation. What are your weaknesses? Are you willing to accept that you’re not perfect and that you could work on some areas to make yourself a better person? Have the courage to look at yourself honestly – it can change your life.
  • Examine how you react to stressful situations. Do you become upset every time there’s a delay or something doesn’t happen the way you want? Do you blame others or become angry at them, even when it’s not their fault? The ability to stay calm and in control in difficult situations is highly valued – in the business world and outside it. Keep your emotions under control when things go wrong.
  • Take responsibility for your actions. If you hurt someone’s feelings, apologize directly – don’t ignore what you did or avoid the person. People are usually more willing to forgive and forget if you make an honest attempt to make things right.
  • Examine how your actions will affect others – before you take those actions. If your decision will impact others, put yourself in their place. How will they feel if you do this?

 All these things will lead to employee engagement, higher productivity, better communication, and less turnover; not to mention less awkward moments at the company holiday party. While our own success and better outcomes for the bottom line can be a motivator for developing EQ, its foundation is recognizing and caring for the emotional state of ourselves and others as human beings. And for that reason, there really is no better season to start focusing on developing your EQ. Think of it as your gift to yourself and your team.

We are a trusted partner to help people and organizations meet their goalscontact YPHR today to learn more information about our training topics, coaching and other services.

Amy Shannon 1Amy B. Shannon is the President of Pinnacle Leadership Solutions, LLC, and a Partner at Your Partner in HRShe has specialized in Organizational Development, Human Resources, Leadership Training and Executive Coaching for over 20 years. She focuses her time in the executive coaching and leadership facilitator roles. 

The best advice given to her clients is to view learning as a new adventure and embrace lifelong learning as a way of life.

Professionally, Amy feels a sense of accomplishment when her coaching clients achieve their goals or receive promotions as a direct result of working on their interpersonal skills! Her greatest corporate accomplishment was establishing a corporate university in three languages and eight countries along with becoming a speaker at the Disney Institute. Personally, above all, her two boys!


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