“Emotional intelligence is your ability to recognize and understand emotions in yourself and others, and your ability to use this awareness to manage your behaviour and relationships.” – Travis Bradberry.
It is important for our resilience and wellbeing to be ourselves as much as possible, but sometimes, on the other hand, letting our instinctive behaviours out is not always the best policy for our resilience and wellbeing.
A big part of emotional intelligence is being honest with yourself about every aspect of your emotional being, the good the bad and the ugly. What is also an important part is to understand how your behaviour might make others feel and behave. Self-editing is a skill for sure. It is the act of managing your emotions, without judging yourself for having them, to avoid a sticky outcome, or, indeed, to move towards a positive and constructive outcome.
Collaboration and working with others are often fraught with tension. If you are all focused on the task, then there will be conflict and compromise. This can be especially hard if you do not know your co-collaborators that well. This is where listening to yourself and being conscious of what you are putting into the space can be very helpful.
Here are some how’s and why’s on self-editing…
1. Editing to help someone else’s emotional state…
If somebody else in the room is on the verge of having a tough time, or is, indeed, bang in the middle of having a tough time, it serves to stop for a moment and consider whether your gut reaction to the situation is going to help that person.
Let’s say that the other person is angry, and your gut instinct is to share that anger. Would it be more productive for you to take a breath and to help bring the other person down? Indeed, not just more productive, but a better way to deliver you both to a calmer and more clear-headed space.
2. Editing to be constructive…
Following on from point one, it is always good, certainly in a work situation, to consider whether your reaction or opinion will add anything to the room. If all it will add is negative energy, but take away focus from the room, then perhaps it is best not to add anything at this point.
I have had many situations before when I offered an opinion, just because I wanted my opinion to be heard, but all it did was throw a thorn into the discussion. A discussion that ended in the same conclusion that it would have done had I said nothing. All it does is sour the room a little. So, be careful!
3. Editing to stop conversations starting that will rile you up…
If you know giving your opinion, or asking a particular question is likely to lead to comments or conversations that will rile you up, try to stop yourself in your tracks. We often do this without thinking, as we often, in this country especially, love a good moan. But that can sometimes turn into a heated debate or trashing session that leaves nobody feeling positive at the end of it.
4. Editing those bits of your personality is not appropriate to the scenario…
This is one that comes up for me personally quite a lot. I am a freelancer who has diversified a great deal. Therefore, I work with many different age groups, many different types of people from different backgrounds, and across a range of industries. Therefore, I have to change my approach and vocabulary depending on where I am working and who with whom. A classic example of this is going from rehearsing in a room full of adults to teaching children… you really have to curb your language and approach there.
Self-editing skills ensure that you are bringing only the best and most appropriate parts of yourself to each scenario. Knowing how you come across to others is an underrated skill, but one that will ensure that you are an attribute to any room that you walk into, no matter how diverse those rooms are.
The self-edit is really another way of saying that one must learn to listen to ones-self. Because once you are conscious of yourself, and at peace with how to live with that person, the energy that you give to others will be more positive and more constructive. Leading to a more gratifying working life for you.
By Chris Thomson
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