ATD Blog

Managing Your Own Emotions: Step 2 to Mastering EQ

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Thank you for joining our continuing conversation on the power of Social and Emotional Intelligence (SEI) in our professional careers. I hope you are now convinced that excelling in these interpersonal skills will have an immediate positive impact on your career journey. All it costs is your willingness to invest some time, your energy and a sincere commitment to being the best that you can be.

So let’s continue . . . building on your first skill of self-awareness, what are some of the common emotions you might feel during a typical work day? They may range along a continuum of being enthusiastic and engaged to feelings of frustration and discouragement. You may also feel anxious, worried or even angry during the day depending on what tasks or issues you are concerned with that day.

But what is emotional self-management? Here’s my favorite definition drawing from my experience as an executive and career coach and the latest in SEI research:

Emotional self-management is the ability to slow down, think clearly and then consciously chose a behavior appropriate for the situation that will maximize a positive outcome for yourself and others.


Sounds easy? It’s not, especially in the “heat of the moment.” To help you get started, here is my favorite road map with five simple steps to guide you.

  1. Slow down and take 3 deep breaths.
  2. Remind yourself that it is your choice on how to manage your emotions.
  3. Ask yourself what outcome you want – be clear and honest with yourself.
  4. Decide what action (or non-action) you need to take to get that outcome.
  5. Reassess and modify your behavior as needed.

It takes practice, but acknowledging the validity of your emotions and then taking responsibility for those emotions is a critical career skill that can greatly enhance your professional reputation/brand or derail your career overnight.  
So here is my challenge to you . . . think about this upcoming week and select several situations or people that could be an emotional tipping point for you. Often there is something that provokes some distress for you or a negative reaction of some sort.

Now start planning ahead. Think through each situation by first recognizing the feelings it brings up for you. Then follow the steps above to have a “contingency” plan in place for these situations as they arise this week. You will be pleasantly surprised how much easier it is to manage your emotions wisely with this kind of advance planning instead of being afraid of being blindsided. It may not work every time, but it will work the majority of the time.

Finally, you are well on your way to becoming masterful with your social and emotional intelligence. Keep practicing and please join me next month for tips on social awareness. We’ll be taking it a step up by learning how to tune in to the emotions of others to maximize your ability to connect, communicate, and collaborate with them. See you then. 

About the Author

Katherine (Kit) Prendergast, PCC, holds coaching certifications in Social & Emotional Intelligence (SEI); Executive Leadership Development (CELDC), and Career Management (CCMC). As the owner of Career Connections of Sierra Nevada, a well-established coaching and training company in Northern Nevada, Kit brings  a wealth of experience, expertise, and energy to inspire you to create the life you truly want at this time. She welcomes coaching and training clients nationally and internationally. 

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