In a recent class, we covered the subject of emotional intelligence as an HR competency. It has become an oft talked about subject in HR. Emotional Intelligence has been around a long time. People who had it were good at “reading people.” But we went through a long period in HR when we were told to approach our jobs in a non-emotional manner. We needed to be rational and strip emotion from our dealings with employees. We needed to focus on the job and someone’s performance rather than heeding how an employee was feeling. Today we realize being aware of emotions is critical to helping someone be successful.
Emotions are a major part of being human. We need to teach people to be much more attuned to them. Knowledge of emotional states may help defuse and control situations. Prolific blogger and best selling author Eric Barker suggest that training people to be emotionally intelligent start when your children are young. In a recent blog post, he talks about an older book about raising an emotionally intelligent child. Professor John Gottman offers the following advice to raising emotionally intelligent children:
- Be aware of emotions: Canaries. Coal mines. Sometimes you can ignore the words but if you ignore the underlying feelings you’re going to be cleaning spaghetti off the walls.
- Emotion is an opportunity for intimacy and teaching: The best lessons about dealing with emotions are learned when things get emotional. Yes, this is inconvenient.
- Listen empathetically and validate feelings: Accept all feelings but not all behavior. Don’t interrogate, validate.
- Help them label their emotions: You’ve got the words; they don’t. It works for hostage negotiators so use it to make sure your kids don’t end up talking to hostage negotiators.
- Set limits and help them problem-solve: “We don’t stab Timmy. Now, how might we be able to exact revenge in a way that doesn’t leave evidence?”
Sounds like good advice for dealing with younger employees as well.
Read Barker’s blog on This Is How To Raise Emotionally Intelligent Kids: 5 Secrets From Research, it may help your parenting and help you deal with employees at work.