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3 Reasons why your Ability to Emotionally Reason will give You the Edge!

by Cheryl Lyon-Hislop

I'm an EI Sponge!

I’m an Emotional Intelligence sponge, which is a level deeper than being a ‘fan’, I think. I’ve read books by Steven. J. Stein and Howard E. Book, and Daniel Goleman, plus tons of research papers. I took the training delivered by the HAY Group to deliver the Goleman-based 360 degree EI diagnostic, known as the ESCI. I’ve provided Emotional Quotient (EQ) and EI feedback to several hundred leaders and entrepreneurs, trained employees about EI in the workplace, and have coached a fair few employees on the finer details of the power of the mindset management and self-regulation – core aspects of EI. The following are two key statements I hold to be true.

We feel BEFORE we think, and that is purely natural.

It is HOW we manage the thought before we react or respond that can give you the edge.

Being 'smart' isn't the same as being 'sharp'.

There is a difference. Being smart (IQ-related) is about being able to logically work things out using our critical reasoning skills. Being sharp (EI/EQ-related), is about deploying a set of skills that helps us to navigate through life, by being aware of what is going on; by tuning into what others want and need, and by communicating and behaving effectively and authentically. That may sound like a tall order!


Well, if you contrast those with a lack of self-management skills you'll see that the feelings are acted out constantly. They don't get that space to think. Instead, they react and are often stressed out. They are often irritated by small things and appear openly frustrated. That’s not healthy or effective in the workplace and it can make those individuals deeply unpopular as others will avoid discussions for fear of aggressive outbursts, or being witness to a 'victim' mentality. And, how often do we see that happen? Probably, too many times in my case.


With increasing conflicts in priorities, it is more common than we think as pressures mount at work, at home and in our lives in general.

The first tip is to tap into self-management

When you feel how you feel, and there’s nothing wrong with that, you can 'name' the feeling; acknowledge it and think about the most appropriate way to respond. Remember, your behaviour is your choice and each individual or group you deal with has a different set of expectations and standards.

Work out an emotionally intelligent response (behaviour) for each situation you come across by replacing any unproductive thoughts with a more helpful way of resolving the issue. You ‘can’ and you ‘will’ are both positive assertions, and it might also help to check back on the facts of the activating event; it lowers the emotional thermometer and gives you some breathing space.

Focus or widen your attention accordingly

Understand how you focus your attention and improve how you can flex this. It's about situational flexibility.

You can choose to widen your attention to take in what is going on around you (social awareness) and to help you to tailor messages based on what you’ve read about others and how they will respond. It will help you to influence others appropriately, to build relationships and networks. When you need to narrow your attention, in order to concentrate on something, you can close off distractions and tune-out of what is going on around you. This flexibility is a trait of the more successful leaders I’ve worked with.

Be savvy, but not political!

Being emotionally intelligent will help you to recognise your own personal constraints and limitations. It also helps you to understand how to identify the strengths and limitations in others. The trick is to balance the use of your strengths, rather than overplaying them and therefore, your game plan should be around minimising your shortcomings, without derailing yourself by overlooking fatal flaws!


Every three months, carry out an audit of your fundamental personal assets and liabilities to establish opportunities and risks, and then prioritise activity and outcomes based on your specific expertise and skills. Be careful of intention and motivation; it is fine to ask for help in weaker areas for you, but don’t relationship-build solely for political gain; it erodes trust!


Finally, remember, there is always tomorrow. Keep a sense of proportion; don’t over-analyse, and let go of what you know you cannot control!


Join our Five Day EI Workout Challenge

Subscribe below to get FREE access to our FIVE DAY EI Workout Challenge to increase your INFLUENCE & IMPACT, out in that big, busy world. There's limited availability and it starts on the 1st October. Each day, you’ll work on a challenge and all it needs is 20 minutes of your time each day to reap the benefits. Be effective and get where you want to be!


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