Emotional Intelligence: Opinions are like …
There is a famous saying about opinions and what they are like…
I will spare you the details and just say that sometimes as a leader you have to wade through the garbage and the noise so you can drill down to the truth of the situation.
But who’s truth? Yours? Theirs? Some self-proclaimed expert?
One Trillion Opinions
The truth is that everyone of us has an opinion (belief) about any given topic or situation. Just turn on the news and you will be inundated with diametrically opposing opinions on anything and everything!
For the record, I am a firm believer that just because you’re on TV, that does not grant you instant credibility. By its very nature, the fact that the news is on 24 hours a day and they have to drive ratings for the sponsors, it magnifies the lack of credibility in the media. Maybe that is why it is at an all-time low.
And by the way, when did we make the jump to believing that because someone is a celebrity, they have instant credibility. I want to be entertained by a celebrity, not lectured. Sorry it’s just my opinion and yes, I know everybody has one!
Our opinions are based on our beliefs, and our beliefs are shaped by our education, experiences, upbringing, gender, etc.. So in essence, when we are sharing our opinions, we are simply projecting our inner beliefs towards a particular topic. We are simply, giving others insight into our inner world and the way we see it.
For example: If I have a strong faith, and it is a value that I hold deeply, it is nearly impossible to allow my faith to not color my lens of perception, which in-turn shapes my opinions and what I say in a conversation. If on the other hand I am an atheist, it is again, nearly impossible to not have my beliefs color the conversation with my opinions and the statements I make, especially if they are on the topic of faith.
The stronger your beliefs, the stronger your opinions, and the greater the possibility of being emotionally triggered which can be a huge obstacle for a leader who is trying to wade through the muck and disseminate down to the truth..
As a leader you have to be willing to discern between all of the opinions being discussed so that you can see clearly. If you allow others opinions or your own to shade the facts it could end up costing you in a myriad of ways. Especially, if the topic or situation is in direct conflict with your beliefs.
Opinions, Boxes, and EQ
One area where this seems to show up is during talent and succession planning. Imagine a group of leaders sitting around and doing a 9-Box process to rate you on a scale of performance and potential. Someone who you rarely interact with you brings up a negative point based on an experience that occurred between the two of you. It is possible that the single incident may have occurred over a year ago but that person’s belief has been shaped by it…still!
As Thomas Jefferson once said…You have to be able to separate the diamonds from the dunghill!
Emotional Intelligence (EQ) is your ability to be aware, understand, and then effectively use your skills to take the emotional aspect into consideration in order to achieve higher levels of collaboration and productivity.
EQ means that you stay emotionally unhooked so that your own beliefs or opinions don’t takeover and stiff arm everyone else’s opinion or belief. Even if it is in direct conflict with yours.
So how in the heck can you stay centered in situations that might normally trigger you?
3 Things You Can Do To Stay Emotionally Balanced in an Emotionally Charged Situation:
- First and foremost remember that nothing…absolutely nothing someone else does or says has anything to do with you. It is simply a projection of their inner belief system…not yours!
- Remind yourself that you can never, ever, fully understand the reasoning or the belief behind someone’s actions or words. You can only project your experiences, beliefs, opinions, etc. on a given situation no matter how well you know them. They are doing the best they can in that moment based on where they are in their day or their life. You really have no idea what that they are experiencing.
- Remember that getting emotionally charged means that you’ve circumvented your frontal cortex (the place we rationalize and reason) and have gone into the fight or flight mode which is triggered by your amygdala. At this point, it is best to learn to take a break from the situation and come back after you’ve had a chance to unhook. In most situation when you are in fight or flight it means that fear is present and remember, fear is always associated with loss. Here a link to help you move past your fear.
Simple ideas? Yes! Easy to instill…not so much!
However, self-awareness is the key and the more you practice the better you will be!
Know that your ability to discern the truth from all the garbage increases exponentially when you increase your Emotional Intelligence.
And as far as discerning between the opinions of others when it comes to the news?
I suggest #3, taking a break… maybe even for a few years!
Till next time!