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Category Archives: Emotional Intelligence

How to Develop Emotional Mastery in 4 Key Steps

If you’re anything like me, when someone says “You simply need to control your emotions” I think, well OK, that sounds logical, but how the ………………. do I do that?

I’m sure you have experienced these or similar scenarios before:

When someone tells you “You’re wrong” and the hairs on the back of your neck stand up!

Or, you’ve arrived 5 minutes early for a meeting only to sit there waiting for 20 mins for the other person to arrive!  How disrespectful!

When you stare at the check-in person with horrified disbelief after they tell you that you have missed the check in by 2 minutes!


Can you relate? I’m sure you can, but if you can’t, how about witnessing other people when they totally lose it:

Like when your partner asks you to pick up some milk on the way home and you forgot to, and they scream at you!

Or you see a driver with their hand fully planted on the horn and at the same time making hand signals out the window when an old lady is driving slower than the speed limit!


There are so many things that culminate into causing you to react in a certain way: How your day has been up to now (whether stressful or calm) or how many things you have planned for the rest of your day. Things like what happened the night before, how well you slept, or if you had an argument with your partner.

The list is endless, but gives you an idea as to how many things come into play which will enable or disable your ability to control your emotions.

Look, if we didn’t have emotional responses we wouldn’t be human. The key to emotional mastery however, is to manage and control your emotions, so you can control your reactions.

Consider this equation:

The degree you are invested in something = the degree of emotional reaction.


Stimulus, plus the way you think about it = your reaction.

S + T = R

Let’s consider you have been preparing and researching information on how to improve the customer experience within your retail outlet. You have received 100’s of customer surveys, researched your competitors’ offerings, and interviewed customers directly. Finally you get to present your research to the owners only to have them coldly dismiss your ideas! Your investment has been significant, and to simply have your ideas dismissed after so much effort is a pretty tough cookie to swallow!

So can you control your emotions in this situation? Absolutely! I’m not saying it’s easy but hey, if you want to be successful in any area of life or business you need to develop the skill of emotional control.

Early in my career I distinctly remember reading;

“If you don’t control your emotions they WILL control you”.

So how do we do this?


1: Identify where the emotion is in your body

Your body will feel and show the emotion. Have you ever tried being really happy with a body slumped over, glum face and eyes pointed to the ground. No, because it just wouldn’t work.

Let’s use this as an example – you have just heard that someone else got the job that you applied for and yet you were so confident that you would get it. No-one said anything to you but you heard through the grapevine that someone from outside the company got the job. Boom! The emotion hits you.

I want you to ask yourself – where is that emotion in your body – where are you feeling it? I feel things like this in my gut – it’s heavy and deep and hurts. Some of you will feel it in your head, others your chest.


2. Label the emotion

What is the emotion? Many of you might say well I feel angry but that’s quite a common surface emotion, so I encourage you to go a little deeper; what is the anger, is it disrespect, feeling devalued, being dismissed, or being rejected? People hate being rejected and it will bring up all sorts of responses. If you are stuck here, continue to ask yourself the question; “why am I feeling angry?” Even get someone to coach you on this, by asking the questions to get you to go a little deeper.

So now you know where it is in your body, and you have labeled it.


3. Take note of what is happening with your body.

What is ideal here is if you can get someone to tell you what you are doing with your body. How are you breathing – short quick breaths high in your chest or deep diaphragmatic breathing? What are you doing with your mouth; are you biting your lip or pursing your lips, or have an open mouth? How are your eyes; glazed, staring, wide open, squinting? Where is your head – up or down? What are your hands doing; are they clenched or open? How is your spine; are you standing straight or have you slumped?

Does this gentleman look like he’s portraying confidence and positivity with this body language? Perhaps not..

4. Notice what are you telling yourself about the situation (Your Story)

It’s quite hard to distinguish between step 3 and 4 because they happen almost instantaneously.

Here’s an example – My neighbor lost it emotionally when I spoke to her about putting some green plants along the fence line at the rear of her house and the front of mine. This is an unusual setup and I was to find out later that she did have a say about what was or wasn’t put along this fence line. You know most people wouldn’t care less what goes behind their fence when they never look at it, but she did. To add a bit more context, apparently she had been burgled previously and did not want anyone watering, weeding or making noises at her rear fence. But at the time of this confrontation, I didn’t know that.

So here I was confronted with my very emotional and serious neighbour. I thought, oh my goodness I have just spent a significant amount of money on my dream home and the thought of looking at a plain cream fence horrified me.

At the same time, I was fully aware that I was in a heightened emotional state; my mind was racing trying to think of a way to convince this woman that her worries were not valid.

My eyebrows raised, my heart started beating faster, the blood started rushing through my body – you know like you do when you see a tiger running down the street ready to pounce on you……….. flight or fight state. Well, I was definitely in the fight state. (The emotion was in my chest, and it was panic)

I became aware of this, so I started taking deep breaths. The reason being; I know a brain doesn’t work particularly well without oxygen. I put my body into a calm but confident state; arms down, legs hip width apart, shoulders up and back, and I continued to breathe. (I changed my body to a clam state)

My emotion was disbelief, shock, and sadness but slowly, as I changed my thoughts, my emotions moved to empathy. I realized this woman was scared. As irrational as it was for me, it was very real to her. (I changed what I was telling myself, from saying that she was wrong, to trying to understand her). Did I want to understand her?  NO… but I knew there was no hope for me if I didn’t calm down and change the way I was approaching the situation.

This is a PRIMARY KEY to effective conflict and negotiation techniques.

The only way I was able to do that was to step back from my own emotional state and listen and question to try to understand her point of view. As I did this my emotion turned to empathy.

In Summary the key steps in the process are:

1. Notice where the emotion is in your body

2. Label the emotion.

3. Notice and think about what you are doing with your body and change it so the emotion can’t sit right (like sadness to happiness, frustration to empathy etc).

4. Notice what you are saying to yourself and change it (from she’s wrong, to how can I understand her point of view, from I’m never going to achieve this, to how can I achieve this)

So did I end up with some nice plants along the fence line? In the end it was a bit of a compromise of native plants & artificial turf. It kept the noise at her back fence to a minimum and I got a bit of green.

Please do practice this. I can guarantee it will work, and my clients tell me regularly that it really does work. It just takes consistent effort, at least initially, to overcome a lifetime of unruly emotional responses. I guarantee it’s worth it in the end.

Why Emotionally Intelligent People Are More Successful

Although there are an array of factors involved, generally the key component of ‘success’ comes down to interaction and relationships with other people. Success is not achieved alone. So to answer the question of ‘why?’ straight out of the gate; those with high levels of emotional intelligence connect with people on a deep, unconscious level.  People with high EQ have the ability to read how a person is feeling, use their own emotional self-management to adjust their communication and deliver a message that resonates with the whole person and not just their logical minds.

People will work harder, stay longer, be more tolerant, be more honest when they feel understood, appreciated, listened to and if they feel their input makes a difference. This is what leads to success.



Although research was being done by Peter Salavoy and John Mayer in 1920’s and 30’s it was the release of Daniel Goleman’s book in 1996 “Emotional Intelligence” – Why it can matter more than IQ, that people have become more aware of this subject. That doesn’t necessarily mean they’re aware of what it is…

So what Is Emotional Intelligence?

According to Daniel Goleman , “Emotional Intelligence (EQ) is defined as the ability to identify, assess, and control one’s own emotions, the emotions of others, and that of groups.”

Wikipedia says it like this;

Emotional intelligence can be defined as the ability to monitor one’s own and other people’s emotions, to discriminate between different emotions and label them appropriately and to use emotional information to guide thinking and behaviour.


The case for emotional intelligence

EQ gives you the ability to be able to motivate yourself and persist in the face of frustrations; to control impulse and delay gratification; to regulate your moods and keep distress from swamping your ability to think; to empathise and to hope.

 “In the fields I have studied, emotional intelligence is much more powerful than IQ in determining who emerges as a leader. IQ is a threshold competence. You need it, but it doesn’t make you a star. Emotional Intelligence can.” (Stephen Covey, Author of 7 Habits of Highly Effecgive People)

Research by the Center for Creative Leadership found that the primary causes of executive derailment involve deficiencies in emotional competence.

This was also supported by the research done by the Carnegie  Institute of Technology that showed that 85% of our financial success was due to skills in “human engineering”,  to communicate, build relationships, negotiate and inspire people to want to follow.  They found that only 15% was due to technical ability. In other words, people skills or skills highly related to emotional intelligence were crucial skills.

Results of a McClelland study showed that after supervisors in a manufacturing plant received training in emotional competencies such as how to listen better, lost-time accidents decreased by 50% and grievances went down from 15 per year to three. The plant itself exceeded productivity goals by $250,000.


Let’s Make a Few Things Clear…

  1. EQ does not mean “being nice” but rather, for example, confronting someone with an uncomfortable but consequential truth they’ve been avoiding.
  2. EQ does not mean giving free rein to feelings – “letting it all hang out” Rather, it means managing feelings so that they are expressed appropriately and effectively, enabling people to work together smoothly toward their common goals.
  3. EQ alone won’t get you places, you do need some IQ but research continues to produce results suggesting that EQ will take you further, will enable you to be more successful than someone with similar or even higher IQ but without the same level of EQ.


Emotions Drive People and People Drive Performance


You think about it – People prefer to do business with a person they like and trust than someone they have doubts about, even if what is on offer is a better product or lower price.

The higher up the organization the more crucial emotional intelligence abilities are. Naturally the impacts of their decisions and behaviours are greater, felt throughout the entire organization.

The same principles apply in all areas of life, whether at work or in relationships. Everyone wants to be around people who are easy to get along with, supportive, likeable, honest and trustworthy. We want to be beside people that do not get upset easily and can keep their composure when things do not work out according to plan.


Self-awareness –  The first thing that is essential for any degree of emotional intelligence is self-awareness. People with a high degree of self-awareness have a solid understanding of their own emotions, their strengths, weaknesses, and what drives them. They are neither overly critical nor unrealistically hopeful; these people are honest with themselves and others. They are aware of their emotional responses, can label them, and recognize how their feelings impact them.  They are clear about their goals and values and where they are going in life. They are confident yet aware of their limitations so less likely to put themselves in situations where they will fail. They are comfortable talking about themselves in a frank open manner.

Ability To Self-Regulate Emotions – We all have emotions and they will affect us.  Quite frankly if we didn’t have emotions we wouldn’t be human.   People who are good at self-regulation, however, are able to manage their emotions so they can make rational decisions and motivate themselves, even in stressful situations.


“Either you Learn to Manage your Emotions or They WILL manage you.” – Anthony Robbins


People who self-regulate have the ability to wait until their emotions pass, allowing themselves to respond from a place of reason, rather than simply reacting to feelings. The signs of someone who is good at self-regulation are reflection, thoughtfulness, and comfort with ambiguity, change, and not having all the answers.

Recognising and Understanding Emotions in Others –  Empathy is another important aspect.  Someone who has empathy will have an awareness of the feelings of others and consider those feelings in their words and actions. This does not mean that they will tiptoe around or be unwilling to make tough decisions for fear of hurting someone’s feelings. It simply means that they are aware of, and take into consideration the impact on others. They are willing to share their own worries and concerns and openly acknowledge other’s emotions.

Managing Relationships with Good Social skills –  Social skill is another area of emotional intelligence that is important in the workplace. To have good social skills requires a high level of all the other skills already mentioned, as well as the ability to relate and find common ground with a wide range of people. It goes beyond just friendliness and the ability to get along with others.

Having excellent social skills allows them to be good team members as they are great at making connections, networking and uniting people.


Can EQ be learned?

The good thing is EQ can be learned.  If you get clear on what Emotional Intelligence is, measure your ability as to where you are and if you are committed to change then 100% yes you can increase your EQ.


If you’d like to find out more, get in touch. We use EQ-i2 and EQ 360° diagnostic tools to determine your EQ, from there guiding you through the results and how they can be effectively put to use in your own success journey.

Why Seeking Feedback Plays Such an Important Role in Success

Everyone, at some point in their professional development, wonders how they are doing. Feedback plays an important role in this self-awareness process. As individuals, we have our own perceptions as to how effective we believe we are in the workplace.

But what about the impact your behaviour has on others? Do they see the same qualities in you as you see in yourself?

If you have desires to improve yourself and climb the ladder of success, one of the most important elements of this journey is to be able to see yourself through the eyes of others.  To know how your leadership style, communication style or perhaps your conflict style impacts others. Does it encourage or discourage people? Does it motivate or demotivate?  Being able to look at ourselves through the eyes of others provides information essential to the self-development process.

Are you seeing yourself the way others see you?
Are you seeing yourself the way others see you?

Often what we mean to do is not what others see. Learning the difference can greatly enhance our self-awareness and improvement.

Due to the sometimes negative experiences individuals have had in processes like performance reviews; they often avoid asking for others’ opinions of themselves and their workstyles. Hence, the concept of “feedback” is often confused with “criticism”. This is a mistake.

Let me share my story with you…

Many years ago I was working in a direct selling organisation, managing a large group of people.  I would present to well over 100 individuals on a weekly basis and worked a little more closely with a group of about 8 down line Managers, 4 up line Managers as well as a dozen peers.  Feedback in this industry was encouraged and people would openly share their thoughts, opinions and recommendations.

After a period of time, I started to realise that a big chunk of the feedback was not actually helpful to me. From my peers and Managers, I would receive positive feedback combined with specifics about how I could improve, grow and develop. Yet other feedback I was receiving simply felt like criticism with no specifics, no balance and basically just felt negative.  It felt like it was coming from people who basically just wanted to discourage me.

I recall lying in bed one morning thinking this was all getting too hard and it was knocking my self-confidence around.  It was then I decided I simply needed to manage the feedback.  So I set some boundaries around the feedback. They were:

  • Only accept it from people I respected and admired;
  • Those people whose lives or businesses were working
  • Those people who were moving in the circles I wanted to move in.
  • Those people who I believed genuinely wanted the best for me and would give me honest and balanced feedback.

For most of the feedback outside those boundaries, I let disappear into the ether. This had a much more positive effect on my growth and development.

So what I’m suggesting here is to seek out feedback, but set your own boundaries around who you want to receive it from. I’m not suggesting you only seek out feedback from those people that really like you and will tell you what you want to hear, but balanced with both the positive and the areas for development.

Audit the sources of your feedback!

The intention of feedback needs to come from a space of genuinely wanting to help people grow and develop. If the recipient knows that, it will be a positive experience.

There are various ways of receiving feedback; from formal through to casual.  Some of the formal ways are through the use of a 360° assessment whereby you complete a questionnaire for yourself and your manager/s, peers and direct reports answer the same questions about you.  A report is produced and the results of this type of feedback are given in a supportive coaching session.

Other types of feedback are through performance reviews, through a mentor or coach, or informally with a group of people that you respect and value their feedback.

As I’m writing this article I can imagine that some of you might feel a little anxious.  I can assure you, feeling that way is quite normal but something you need to overcome.

This element is so very valuable for your growth and development that the fear behind it needs to be overcome.  It’s not easy, but it’s certainly something you can do.  When you really think about it, what are you afraid of?  It’s quite simply hearing something negative about ourselves, and really what’s the worst thing that’s going to happen?  You may disagree with it, but here I’d be cautious about that because you may disagree, but you may also not know it about yourself.

Introducing the Johari Window…

The Johari Window is a communication model that is used to improve understanding between individuals. The word “Johari” is taken from the names of Joseph Luft and Harry Ingham, who developed the model in 1955.


Quadrant 1: Known Self or Open Self

This is the information about the person – behaviour, attitude, feelings, emotions, knowledge, experience, skills, views, etc - known by the person (‘the self’) and known by the group (‘others’)

Quadrant 2: Blind self 

This is what’s known about the person by others but is unknown by the person themselves.  By seeking feedback from others, the aim should be to reduce this area and thereby increase the open area i.e. to increase self-awareness.  This blind area is not an effective or productive space for individuals or groups.  The blind area could also be referred to as ignorance about oneself.  An example is when someone repeats a word or statement over and over like “I guess”.  After a while, that is all the audience can hear, causing them to miss the balance of the conversation. Yet the person delivering the message isn’t aware this is happening.

Quadrant 3: Hidden Self 

This is what’s known to us but kept hidden from, and therefore unknown, to others. This hidden self represents emotions, fears, information, agendas, secrets, likes and dislikes that for whatever reason, he/she chooses not to disclose. It’s natural to keep personal information private, however when it ‘s work related, it’s so much better to be exposed in the open area.

Quadrant 4: Unknown Self 

The final quadrant contains information, feelings, dormant talents, abilities etc. that are unknown to the person and unknown to others. Large unknown areas would typically be expected in younger people, and people who lack experience or self-belief.

What you do with that feedback is the next vital step in your journey. I have coached hundreds of Managers and have seen on many occasions whereby the feedback was given then filed away into the filing cabinet.  Really what’s the point?  It’s just a waste of time, money and devalues the people who spent their time giving the feedback.

I always encourage the people I work with to go back to the people who gave the feedback and thank them. The next thing is to do something with the feedback.  A desire or wish is simply that unless you take some action.

Create a development plan and set some goals.  Document the areas you want to improve with specifics of how you will go about it and put timelines on everything.

If people see you actually making the effort, let alone changing, it sends such a positive message.

How to Increase Emotional Intelligence and be More Successful in Professional and Personal Relationships

Are you often stressed out at work? Do you find it difficult to establish emotional connections with friends and co-workers? Are you unable to find positive solutions to problems? If the answer of one or more questions among these is yes, then you may have low emotional intelligence.

No, it has nothing to do with Intelligence Quotient (IQ). Indeed, even a person with an exceptionally high IQ might have low EQ. If you have low EQ, then you might find it difficult to focus properly at work, resolve problems peacefully, and develop meaningful relationships. Fortunately, EQ is something you can learn, and develop, with someone to guide you.

Continue reading How to Increase Emotional Intelligence and be More Successful in Professional and Personal Relationships → : 

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