This blog is part of a series of blogs exploring Emotional Intelligence. Looking at ways to be able to develop and enhance our own perceived levels of Emotional Intelligence.
What is Emotional Intelligence?
To gain a greater understanding you can read a previous blog What is Emotional Intelligence and How Can I develop it, for more detail. However, Emotional intelligence is all about how well you understand your own emotions and the emotions of others, and the ability to identify and manage them. Emotional Intelligence, also known as “Ei” or “EQ”, is now well established set of “Competencies” that contribute to performance, engagement and success.
Their are five key areas of Emotional Intelligence, Self Perception, Self Expression, Interpersonal, Decision Making and Stress Management. Each of these areas has three traits. We are going to discuss each of these traits in more detail with their own blog. This week we will be exploring the trait, Stress Management.
What is Stress Management and the relations to Emotional Intelligence?
Stress Management is about your ability to withstand stressful situations and environments without falling apart. Pressure is a part of everyday life for most of us and a certain amount of pressure gets us through the day. We meet deadlines and work with others and are able to encourage them too.
“Reality is the leading cause of stress amongst those in touch with it.” – Jane Wagner
How much do you use the trait of Stress Management?
Do you spin the plates well, or drop a few and get angry about it?
When Stress Management is operating well:
- Actively deals with stress
- Maintains a level of work performance even under mounting pressure or competition
- Is productive
- Maintains control
When Stress Management is low:
- Affects team & individual performance
- Lack of prioritising
- Poor decision-making
- Can cause long term sickness
Developing skills around Stress Management
During Learning Cog’s Emotional Intelligence (EQ) Masterclass, starting with ‘Self-Perception’, we explain how to assess you own emotional intelligence and how to develop your EQ awareness. Here in this blog we have added some areas to think about when developing Stress Management.
- Who do you know who keeps their cool in tough pressured situations?
- Who do you know who can manage a large and varied workload keeping cool and calm?
- What steps do these people take to control their anxiety and to face difficult situations?
- How do these people manage their time?
- What behaviours do these people have that you would like to emulate?
- What are the triggers for stress in your life?
- How can you anticipate them earlier?
- Are you a good self observer of when stress starts to hold?
- What is the pattern to your stress?
- What happens to you when stress takes hold?
- Do you get stressed on a regular basis in certain situations?
- Do You get stressed on a regular basis with certain people?
Thinking and Reflection
Here is an exercise for you to complete to help build your understanding of your own Stress Management.
Exercise: Managing my Time
Have you ever heard of the Urgent / Important Matrix? Well here it is, try using this to look at your workload and what might be stealing your time away from you. Make a decision as to what you need to work on now, what can wait and what can be delegated or deleted.
First of all, make a list of all the things you do during the day. Put everything into the list from answering the phone, working on a project, sending emails and making a cup of tea. Everything.
Now make a list of everything you need to do, everything you need to achieve. Like writing a reply to an email or working with a member of your team to phoning the plumber to get the boiler fixed.
Now you have to decide if it is important or not…
The way to do this is to clearly state which of the following four categories it is:
- Urgent and Important (Crisis)
- Urgent but not Important
- Important but not Urgent
- Not Urgent or Important
What to do about it:
Urgent and Important (Crisis)
These obviously have to be dealt with, although by ensuring we keep on top of our important but not urgent tasks, we can reduce the number of these we face. We need to make sure that although dealing with a crisis, we deal with it sufficiently well to prevent it coming back for reworking.
Urgent but not Important
Urgent tasks need to be dealt with quickly. We need to make sure that we only deal with what is urgent about the problem. These tasks should be delegated if possible. Alternatively we should tackle the task in a brisk and efficient way to allow time for the important tasks
Important but not Urgent
Important tasks need to be sliced up into manageable chunks and time allocated to getting them done. The important tasks are often the core tasks of your job. If time is not allocated for them they may not get done. The daily urgent ones will squeeze them out.
Not urgent or Important
These tasks are potential time wasters, and we need to apply one of the four D’s here:
- Do it – Allocate time and get it done
- Delegate it – Is there someone that this task is a better use of their time
- Dump it – Easy, make sure it can be deleted
- Defer it – leave it for another day in the future (but when is the future?)
It is important to actual do something when taking part in any self development. The practical is more important than the theory.
- Avoid leaving things to the last minute.
- Plan, Plan, Plan.
- Laugh more, laughter releases health-promoting chemicals.
- Be aware of how you feel in stressful situations. try to understand how they have developed and what makes them stressful to you.
- Believe in your ability to handle and successfully overcome situations when they occur.
- Explore breathing techniques to limit stress.
- Count to 10 when something stressful hits you in the face.
- Practice visualising being productive in what would normally be a stressful situation, see yourself overcoming the stress.
- Divide larger projects into smaller more manageable chunks.
- Concentrate on tasks that only require your attention at the moment.
- Have a plan of relaxation and exercise built into your week.
- Take up a hobby that has nothing to do with your normal working life.
- Focus on things within your realm of control, don’t sweat the small stuff.
- Maintain perspective, Learn to step back, be objective .
- Take a holiday.
- Smile, all the time.
The more time you spend observing yourself and the people around you, the more you develop your Stress Management. Give yourself time, it may feel mechanical, clumsy and awkward at first, but with practice it will become quick and easy and automatic. Why not get in touch and talk to us more about developing Emotional Intelligence in yourself, your Leadership Team or your whole business. firstname.lastname@example.org
Look out for the next blog on Developing Emotional Intelligence – Part 15 – Optimism
Or read previous blogs:
What is emotional intelligence? and how can I develop it…
1 Developing Emotional Intelligence – Part 1 – Self Regard
2 Developing Emotional Intelligence – Part 2 – Self Actualisation
3 Developing Emotional Intelligence – Part 3 – Emotional Self Awareness
4 Developing Emotional Intelligence – Part 4 – Emotional Expression
5 Developing Emotional Intelligence – Part 5 – Assertiveness
6 Developing Emotional Intelligence – Part 6 – Independence
7 Developing Emotional Intelligence – Part 7 – Social Responsibility
8 Developing Emotional Intelligence – Part 8 – Empathy
9 Developing Emotional Intelligence – Part 9 – Interpersonal Relationships
10 Developing Emotional Intelligence – Part 10 – Problem Solving
11 Developing Emotional Intelligence – Part 11 – Reality Testing
12 Developing Emotional Intelligence – Part 12 – Impulse Control
13 Developing Emotional Intelligence – Part 13 – Flexibility