Emotional Intelligence in the Workplace

In Emotional Intelligence 2.0, Travis Bradberry defines the last component of emotional intelligence that we looked at, relationship management, as “your ability to use your awareness of your own emotions and those of others to manage interactions successfully.” As I’ve suggested several times up to this point, this is often fairly intuitive for most of us. But what about the times where it’s not as obvious? What if there were a framework we could apply that would make this simpler in nearly every situation?

The awareness Bradberry refers to can make a huge difference in communicating effectively and developing strong relationships. This matters so much in workplace scenarios that Cindy and I built an entire lesson into our Emerging Leader Development course to provide participants with tools they can use to do this more effectively right away. When we’re able to tailor that course and deliver it in person for organizations, we offer the option to build in customized case studies specific to their team members so they have immediate access to a tool that guides them in the “managing interactions successfully” that Bradberry mentions.

Since I won’t be able to go into nearly as much detail here, I’ll share a few specific things you should be able to recognize from each of the four primary behavioral styles William Marston outlined in The Emotions of Normal People and we’ll look at some things that cause the more emotional responses in the folks with each of those styles. I believe even a basic understanding of this can provide a strong foundation for developing our emotional intelligence, but really applying the tools we layout in customized sessions can help build a culture of emotional intelligence in the workplace!

The first of the primary styles we’ll look at represents the smallest percentage of the population; around 1 out of every 10 people. Often referred to as the DRIVEN style, this group is extremely action oriented. They tend to be the ones who take charge of situations, whether they’re asked to or not, and can come across as DIRECT or DEMANDING. While their goal isn’t always to run over everyone in their path, the DETERMINATION that shines through in nearly everything they do can often leave bystanders (or victims) with that impression.

These actions are almost always driven by their desire to produce outstanding results for the team they’re a part of and the people they care most about. They’re usually willing to carry a tremendous workload for long periods of time in order to accomplish that. However, they can feel threatened when achieving the results they’re after is out of their control. This can put more stress on them than the actual workload. And the higher the stress, the more we’ll see their behavioral traits exaggerated.

To manage our interactions with this group successfully, especially when we see them under stress, we’d do well to give them as much control of the situation as we possibly can. This doesn’t mean turning over all power to them; it can often be as simple as providing them with clear boundaries and allowing them to drive the ship as they see fit within them. Providing them with recognition of the intense effort they provide can also help in alleviating the pressure they typically put on themselves when something seems to be out of their control.

Recognition and appreciation can go a long way in managing any interaction successfully, but we’ll need to provide it in a very different way with the next style we look at...

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