Emotional Intelligence: How Do You Deal With Emotions?

Emotional Intelligence, Awareness, LeadershipAs a leader, how do you normally deal with your emotions? Are you aware of them?  At times do they take over? Do you accept them for what they are and let them run their course?

Three styles of dealing with emotions

In Emotional Intelligence, Daniel Goleman describes three distinctive styles for how people deal with emotions.

  1. Self-aware – They are mindful, aware of their moods and have a general understanding of their emotions. They usually have a positive outlook on life and can usually pull themselves out of bad moods quickly by keeping perspective.
  2. Engulfed – They are often overtaken by emotions. They lose perspective of their emotions and are not very aware of the power their emotions have over them. They often spiral into bad moods and feel out of control.
  3. Accepting – They accept their moods as is and do not try to change them. They usually fall into two camps. People who are in good moods and have little motivation to change them and people who fall into bad moods and do nothing to change despite the pain it brings, usually people suffering from depression.

Depending on the situation and to varying degrees, most of us deal with emotions in all three ways. There are times we are aware, time we are blinded and times where we accept them and do nothing.

Function as a self-aware leader

The challenge for leaders is to learn to deal with emotions out of the self-aware style. This place gives them the greatest flexibility to keep perspective, make better decisions and shift their mood, which results in:

  • A cooler head, who looks out for the overall organization and isn’t be trapped by ego.
  • A leader, where challenges and bad news do not send them on a downward spiral.
  • A communicator, who better understands himself and can better relate with others.
  • An organization, where moral is higher because employees and the company know what they are getting.
What type are you?

So honestly assess, what is your predominant style of dealing with emotions? How does your style affect your leadership? How does it affect your organization? How does it work for you? How does is work against you?

Understanding where you predominantly function emotionally is the first step towards creating self-awareness around your emotions and working towards becoming the cooler head.


Derek Lauber, ACC

image courtesy: Veronique Debord

Related Articles:

Emotional Intelligence : What Rats Can Teach Us About Empathy  by Chris Groscurth
What is Leadership: 5 Core Traits  by Derek Lauber
Part III: How to Improve Your Emotional Intelligence  by Derek Lauber

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