If I asked you to name someone who is emotionally immature, who comes to mind? Maybe it’s an adult acting like the kid throwing his phone in this Nationwide commercial. Hopefully, its not you!
In the business environment, emotions still take second seat to logic, even though the work of Daniel Goleman and Reuven Baron proved that higher emotional intelligence leads to better performance. In 1998, Daniel Goleman wrote an HBR article, “What Makes A Leader: Why Emotional Intelligence Matters.
He states unequivocally:
“…emotional intelligence proved to be twice as important as the others for jobs at all levels. Moreover, my analysis showed that emotional intelligence played an increasingly important role at the highest levels of the company, where differences in technical skills were of negligible importance. In other words, the higher the rank of a person considered to be a star performer, the more emotional intelligence capabilities showed up as the reason for his or her effectiveness.”
Emotions evolved as a signal to make us respond immediately. They are unconscious. Once we are conscious of them, they are called feelings. The adverse emotions and feelings that we try to avoid actually serve a purpose. Without them, we cannot grow! Unlike the boy in the commercial, though, we can’t let them always be in control.
One component of Goleman’s Emotional Intelligence model is self-regulation. Your ability to self-regulate is critical to your business and to your employees’ loyalty and well-being. Emotions also influence how we cope with challenges, set new goals and learn new behavior. From the view of others, how well you self-regulate looks like emotional maturity or immaturity.
Truly mature people are so detached from others that they can love their enemies, bless those who curse them, do good to those who hate them, and pray for those who use and persecute them.
“The importance of gaining a deeper understanding of the emotional system, has become increasingly recognized as an important scientific undertaking, as it has become clear that emotions underlie the majority of the stress we experience, influence our decisions, provide the motivation for our actions, and create the textures that determine our quality of life.”
You cannot be an effective leader without the ability to fully understand and tolerate your own strong negative emotions. Feel your emotions, pay attention to them, and learn from them. Use your emotions as a path toward greater understanding and as a way to inform your decisions about how to behave. If you do, you will be rewarded on many levels- and you won’t end up looking like the boy in the commercial!