Part Two: Averting Dark Urges and Explosions at Work

 In Relationships

Amy Hart

Imagine yourself learning new dance steps with a dance partner or a new yoga move…it’s awkward at first and you must consciously think about what you’re doing.   Then at some point – Click!- your body takes over and you can just do it.

That is how the self-awareness and self-management skills of Emotional Intelligence feel when you begin developing them. As discussed in Part One of this blog last month, you practice recognizing your emotions and then managing any reactivity to behaviors that trigger you. As you become more aware of your emotions in the moment, you’re increasingly able to notice what assumptions you might be making or “stories” you tell yourself. The goal is to release judgment, see the facts, and manage your own reactivity. Easier said than done! And like those dance steps –it takes practice to get good at it.


So how about Part Two of averting those dark urges and explosions at work? Once you can maintain your own equilibrium after experiencing a coworker’s triggering behavior (the more annoying, the more practice required!)- then you can address relationships more effectively.

It starts with increasing social awareness. How much are you observing the behaviors of your coworkers? Are you not only listening to their words, but also noticing their body language and what isn’t said? Can you step outside yourself and empathize with how they may feel? Do you check out your assumptions or assertions and ask for feedback? As we become more in tune to what’s going on around us, we enhance our ability to effectively manage relationships – even those crazy-making ones at work.

And most of us have discovered through various behavioral style assessments/ other tools and our own experience, that not everyone thinks the same way we do. The more curious we get about those differences – generational, cultural, racial, social – the more we can connect, build trust, listen, and relate effectively, while still being authentic. Less “right and wrong” thinking and more “just different” is quite helpful on this journey of more effectively managing our relationships.


All this work increasing our social awareness and enhancing the effective management of our relationships – when does it end? Never. It’s a process of strengthening our “muscles” of self-awareness and learning to flex and stretch to meet others where they are, while at the same time being authentic and honoring our own values.

Would you like a little treasure that shines light on this EQ journey and provides practical strategies and helps measure your progress? Check out the book Emotional Intelligence 2.0 by Travis Bradberry and Jean Greaves. It includes an EQ self-assessment and practical strategies for the areas you want to improve in. I found it to be a useful tool for gaining insight into this fascinating journey of understanding ourselves and others, and enhancing our effectiveness.