If you’re experiencing a setback that inflates your stress, anger or anxiety and you can’t move past it, it’s probably worth dealing with. My philosophy is simple. Deal with it, or park it. If you aren’t willing to deal with it (on your own, or with support), park it and move on. The repercussions of packing around distressing emotions are significant in terms of personal and workplace relationships. It all boils down to emotional intelligence: the source of all good and bad interpersonal communication. Those with high emotional intelligence have the ability to understand their emotions, and how to approach a difficult conversation with others in a way that will support an outcome where both people feel valued and understood. Those with low emotional intelligence lack the self-awareness to understand their own emotions and needs, and how to approach another person to resolve conflict. Having the courage to tackle difficult conversations is an indication of an emotionally intelligent leader.
Confronting a difficult conversation is not as hard as most people think. First, get a clear picture in your mind of what triggered your emotional response. Second, identify how this situation has made you feel. Third, figure out what it is you need. And fourth, make a request of the other person (Rosenberg 2003). When you use a structured model such as this to evaluate the situation, you can minimize the emotion, judgment, and misconceptions that often derail communication.
If you decide to park it, then let it go and move on. Be at peace with your choice to park it. Holding onto issues is exhausting. Emotionally intelligent leaders have the ability to move on and not let past experiences interfere with current or future ones.
Sandra McDowell, MA, PCC, CPHR, SHRM-SCP
Sandra is a sought-after speaker and facilitator on the topic of Leading With the Brain in Mind. She has a Masters in Leadership, a Certified Executive Coach designation, a certificate in Neuroleadership, and her CPHR and SHRM-SCP human resource designations. Early in her career she was a recipient of a national and international young leader award. Sandra’s interest in supporting the leadership growth of others has become her passion and purpose. She took her passion online in 2014 and developed the eLeadership Academy (e-leadershipacademy.com), an online leadership program which is now offered nationally and internationally. She proudly serves as part of the executive team for First Credit Union as Vice President of People & Culture. Connect with her via LinkedIn or email. Subscribe to her blog to receive a copy of the Whitepaper: eLearning for Leadership Development.