COOL HEADS PREVAIL: Career coach Leslie Long helps clients identify triggers that they can work through instead of engaging in unproductive behavior.
PBN PHOTO/NATALJA KENT
By Rebecca Keister PBN Staff Writer
Everyone has bad days.
In business, professionals are told to leave their problems at the office front door. The workplace is no place for emotional meltdowns, bad moods and distractions.
But what happens when a high-level professional does their best to compartmentalize whatever personal stresses they’re facing and fails? What happens when, despite their best effort, a grumpy mood prevails and they aren’t even aware of that?
“This could rub off on others in terms of their body language, in terms of what they’re likely to say, in terms of what they might be listening to, in terms of behavior,” said Frank Eyetsemitan, associate dean of social sciences at Roger Williams University. “Emotion is very, very powerful in terms of affecting the workplace climate.”
Emotional intelligence was defined in a 1990 paper on the subject by psychologists from the University of New Hampshire and Yale University as the “ability to monitor one’s own and other’s feelings and emotions, to discriminate among them and to use this information to guide one’s thinking and actions.”
Its importance as a leadership quality has long been studied by academics, psychologists and executive coaches.
According to Talent Smart, a California-based provider of emotional-intelligence training programs, 90 percent of top performers have high emotional intelligence and emotional intelligence is responsible for 58 percent of job performance.
The company’s website says emotional intelligence determines how a person manages behavior, navigates social complexities and makes personal decisions for positive results. Having a high emotional intelligence means a person is self-aware and has good self-management skills, which means effectively using emotional awareness to control your behavior.
When leaders aren’t able to do this is when problems can occur.
“The first important thing is self-awareness and recognition of a set of behaviors. Closely related is not only recognition but recognition that it’s not leading to optimal results,” said Tony Saccone, managing partner of Leadership Development Worldwide, a Providence-based company that provides, among other services, executive coaching and development and conflict-resolution counseling. “