David Walton

Introducing Emotional Intelligence: A Practical Guide

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    ond for another six months, it will mature and he
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    EI for difficult situations involves:
    Developing a positive perspective focusing on strengths and opportunities rather than blame and weakness
    Being aware of your gut reactions
    Using empathy – a key indicator of emotional intelligence
    Decoding body language
    Showing others that you understand their feelings
    Checking with them that you understand the problem
    Being clear about the endgame – solutions that satisfy both needs
    Gaining attention
    Collaborative language and problem-solving
    Providing the basis for positive future work.
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    Effective leaders look beyond themselves, at others; they control their reactions and skilfully manage their relationships. Under their leadership, other employees work effectively with colleagues and have strong relationships with customers and stakeholders. Emotional intelligence has been used in organizations with effective leadership to communicate goals, values and ways of working that are positive, authentic, value people and embrace change.
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    Types of skewed thinking
    Over-generalization: eg. ‘We never get any chance to do this right …’
    Filtering: Focusing only on one aspect, excluding other, more positive aspects.
    Discounting the positive: e.g. ‘Yes I did better than anyone might have expected but they didn’t like me.’
    Absence of balance (‘all-or-nothing thinking’): Something is either right or it’s wrong – nothing in between.
    Jumping to conclusions (future-ology): Thinking, ‘This is what’s going to happen’ without sufficient information.
    Magnification or minimization: Exaggerating the scale of something, e.g. ‘It’s the end of the world …’
    Emotional reasoning: Basing judgements exclusively on feelings rather than evidence, e.g. ‘I feel guilty – I must change what I decided.’
    Blaming: e.g. ‘It must be her fault.’
    Mind reading and labelling: e.g. ‘She thinks that; He’s like this’ (without evidence).
    Personalization: Ego-centric behaviour in which it is difficult to focus on others, e.g. ‘Everyone must be looking at me’, ‘What I did is …’, ‘My thoughts are …’.
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    Labelling is an inevitable shorthand we use to categorize people; emotional intelligence, however, goes beyond such stereotypes, and enables us to build relationships which are honest and forthright.
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    Authenticity is the permission we give ourselves to be who we really are, warts and all. It frees us to communicate openly without concerns about not being recognized, understood, accepted for who we are, or being invisible or overshadowed by others.
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    His view of the world is that it is full of possibilities and that the only thing preventing us from achieving them is our constraining mindsets. We often tend to be problem-focused, risk-aware, depressed by difficulty and conscious of how many things are wrong. Many of us live our lives mainly being aware of what is wrong. Cognitive scientists exploring constructs (ways of looking at the world) have found that seeing negatives is very characteristic of people with high construct ranges. To put it another way, brighter people tend to see weaknesses more easily, and focus on them.
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    Here are some de-escalation techniques used by experienced mental health nurses in a crisis:
    Assess the situation promptly. If you see signs and symptoms of a person entering into crisis, intervene early.
    Maintain a calm demeanour and voice.
    Use problem-solving with the individual – ask ‘What will help now?’
    Use empathy: try to understand things from their point of view and what they are feeling.
    Reassure the individual where possible.
    Find a quieter place to talk if possible.
    Offer to help.
    Engage the individual, trying to get them to talk about mechanical or practical things around them.
    Don’t crowd the individual; give him or her space.
    Be aware of yourself – your look, your tone.
    Use open-ended questions.
    Give the individual time to think.
    Ignore challenges; redirect challenging questions.
    Allow venting of strong feelings – encourage them to express their feelings.
    Pace your response – don’t try to rush things.
    Don’t say ‘you must …’. Explain why a particular action is needed.
    Avoid power struggles.
    Set limits and tell them what the expectation is and why.
    Be careful with your nonverbal behaviours – what do they communicate?
    Be aware of the individual’s nonverbal behaviours.
    Be clear – use simple language.
    Language: follow the rule of five (no more than five words in a sentence, five letters in a word, e.g. ‘Would you like a chair?’)
    Use reflective technique – ‘So are you saying that ...?’
    Be prepared to agree to disagree.
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    Being sensitive to others’ frustrations and helping to maintain calm through quietly supportive action is essential.
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    Empathy is characterized by several elements:
    Recognizing that the other person is experiencing significant feelings (which might be positive or negative) and some sense of why that is happening.
    Saying something which demonstrates both that you understand what they are going through and why. This is normally a combination of:
    a reflective statement like ‘You must feel …’
    a reason, e.g. some shared experience (‘I had a similar …’)
    affirmation (‘… which made me feel pretty low too’).
    Offering a next step which might help and at the same time, enhance your relationship (‘Have you thought how you might …?’ or ‘Would it be of any help if …?’).
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    Increasing your assertiveness
    Here are some tips used in a top-rated UK sales organization where emotional intelligence is considered an essential competency for leadership and management positions:
    Your prime right is to be treated with respect. Equally, we have a responsibility to treat others with similar respect.
    Judge each situation on its merits in terms of fairness, balancing wants with needs, and whilst being self-orientated, your behaviour should not appear selfish.
    Work out what you feel and want, then decide if it is appropriate and fair.
    An assertive person can disagree with you and yet still be your friend; distinguish facts from opinions and people from the issues involved.
    Practise being open about the way your feelings affect you. Acknowledge them if you receive a put-down and say in a clear and firm manner that the person’s comment or behaviour is unacceptable to you.
    When you need to be assertive with others, ask for more information. Hidden in their remarks can be assumptions you can spotlight.
    If someone is angry, find out what is behind it. There may be a more constructive form of discussion to be had.
    Be polite when you disagree with someone. Tell them your preferences using clear and simple statements.
    Be prepared to repeat what you have said as many times as necessary until others show they have heard and understood the point you are making.
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    Assertiveness can be:
    Saying what you think
    Making requests and asking for help
    Negotiating solutions acceptable to everyone
    Refusing requests
    Refusing to be patronized or put down
    Making complaints
    Clarifying expectations
    Expressing your optimism in the face of negativity
    Showing appreciation, affection, hurt feelings, justifiable annoyance
    Overcoming hesitation about ‘putting things on the table’
    Giving and receiving compliments
    Working to help others.
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    Assertiveness is about getting things done and engaging others to help but at the same time acknowledging that others’ needs and goals are important. It is about expressing feelings, thoughts, and beliefs in a non-destructive manner which is neither passive nor aggressive. The aim of assertiveness is ‘win–win’. It means:
    Expressing views and opinions, wants and needs openly and without fear
    Active listening, to evaluate what response you are getting
    Drawing out the interests and goals of the other person
    Trying to identify common ground whilst being clear about what’s important
    Using incentives, problem-solving and encouragement to agree future action.
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    Beliefs are mental models from our experience and history, based on our perceptions.
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    People often make assumptions about what they can achieve based on their interpretation of the situation and the way they predict that the people involved will respond. Emotional intelligence treats beliefs and perspectives as important presuppositions but not immutable laws like gravity or death.
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    Goals need to be described in ways that are Specific, Measureable, Agreed, Realistic and Timed.
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    Real results often come from putting momentary needs on hold in order to pursue more important outcomes. The way we frame our goals and intentions can also make us feel in greater control – making them realistic, achievable and motivating.
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    Willpower and well-being are also enhanced by your sense of purpose. It is important therefore that you set goals and targets for yourself, that they are right for you and that you can commit yourself to them.
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    In any given period of time, if willpower is exhausted, we become more vulnerable to other challenges in life, resulting in increased depression, alcohol abuse and impulsive/reactive behaviour.
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    The last point is very important because it suggests that willpower is a limited resource.
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