Emotional intelligence with Stéphanie Milot
Description: In support of the government's priority of creating healthy and respectful workplaces, this short video helps public servants better understand emotional intelligence, presents them with ways to develop their emotional intelligence, and describes the benefits of doing so, leading to increased individual and organizational wellbeing.
Date: April 17, 2020
My name is Stéphanie Milot. I'm a public speaker, author and founder of several personal development programs. My mission is really to help people improve their lives, including by enhancing their emotional intelligence.
Emotional intelligence, contrary to what you may think, is not something that can be measured. It is more what we might call "intelligence of the heart." As human beings, we experience emotions. The ability to manage our emotions, and to recognize that we have emotions, is part of emotional intelligence. However, there is a whole other side, because as human beings, in the workplace or in our personal lives, we deal with other people who also have emotions. So, it's also the ability to manage our relationships. What does that mean? It means being able to prevent conflicts, to resolve conflicts, to show empathy and to be a self-starter. So now we are moving from self-management to managing our relationships, and that's emotional intelligence.
The benefits of learning, or more precisely, of developing, our emotional intelligence, in our work environment, as well as in our personal lives, is that we self-regulate better. Let's take a look at some examples in the workplace. We will often experience stress, anxiety, impatience and irritation at work. Developing our emotional intelligence helps us to have better self-control and also to better manage our relationships. Emotional intelligence is what allows us to succeed. Often, people who are successful in relationships, successful as couples, successful at work and who have good relationships and manage their emotions well have developed their emotional intelligence. It has been proven that senior managers, in the government or elsewhere, do not necessarily have an above-average I.Q. but they definitely have a higher level of emotional intelligence simply because they have worked on it, they have learned it.
The good news is that emotional intelligence can be worked on. From the moment I start to get to know myself—and this is really the first step, learning to know myself, learning to be objective and yes, recognizing that I have strengths, but I also have some things I need to work on and that's ok, because it's that way for everyone—then I might say, "Ok, I want to learn how to say no, or I want to be able to communicate better." I can go get some books. Today, there are many tools available for free on the internet, it's easy. So I'll search for the information and then apply it.
People read my books and I tell them, "Ok, so, do such-and-such an exercise every day, and the next time you experience something stressful, or have the tendency to exaggerate a situation, use my Catastrophe Scale. For example, you have work to complete and you think you are going to miss the deadline; ask yourself, on a scale from 0 to 10, "Well, is that a 10 out of 10?" Absolutely not! This is not a case of generalized cancer! You're just feeling that the deadline is a bit tight. We have to learn to put things in perspective, and like it or not, when we're able to manage the intensity of our emotions, right away it gets easier, we're more productive. We are able to see more clearly and make the right decisions.
The more you can manage your relationships and your own emotions, the more likely you are to have a positive impact on others because we are all agents of change in our organizations. If I come in to work in the morning and I'm in a good mood, I have positive energy, it spreads to the people I work with. The opposite is also true. If I am always negative, if I always see the glass as half empty, I am contaminating my team.
People who have learned how to say thank you and how to be grateful towards their colleagues, their friends, their families, their managers, are demonstrating emotional intelligence. A good manager will be able to realize that if there are 15 different employees, then there are 15 different ways of working, and each employee is motivated in a different way, so acknowledgement, being able to give recognition, is very important for a manager, but I also want to say that it is important for everyone. Everyone in an organization should be able to show their appreciation for the others. Recognition from one's peers is just as powerful, and brings just as much happiness, as when it comes from one's superior.
Often, in the workplace, we have to work with difficult people, so we have to ask ourselves, "How can I improve this relationship? What can I change? How should I deal with this person so that we have the best possible experience?" Always bear in mind, however, that at some point you have to let go of the other person's reactions, because you don't have control over the behaviour or the reactions of others. The only control you have is over yourself. Work on yourself, develop strategies to communicate better with that person. Maybe learn how to work with difficult personalities; we have people like that in our organizations. That's emotional intelligence: the ability to say, "This person is a bit difficult when I address them that way. How can I deal with them differently so things go better?" We can learn to manage our emotions, we can learn how to manage our relationships—that's the good news!