Have you noticed that life is moving at light speed and it’s only getting faster? Have you also noticed that people are more stressed out than ever? If you’re emotionally agile, you have not only noticed, you’re in a good position to not only survive, but to thrive.
Emotional Agility is, simply, essential. You need it to navigate turbulent times, you need it to keep your sense of humor, you need it to deal with the perpetual uncertainty of daily life. No matter what external situations you face, emotional agility is your superpower.
What Is Emotional Agility?
Daniel Goleman’s groundbreaking book Emotional Intelligence changed the way we think about human interaction and made it okay to acknowledge that humans are emotional beings, even at work. The concept of emotional intelligence is crucial for us all to understand because the lack of it causes the majority of human conflicts, including terminations, divorces, and even wars.
It’s not enough to simply know that emotional intelligence is important. How do we shift our emotional state to achieve the outcomes we want, especially when we’re overwhelmed by constant change? We certainly know it’s not as simple as telling ourselves, “OK, let’s look at this in a positive light.” Nor is it useful to tell someone, “Stop feeling overwhelmed. It’s not helping anybody!” So what works? Here’s a scenario.
A Sales Director Without Emotional Agility
Suppose you’re a sales director, and a big client, one that accounts for 30 percent of your top-line revenue, stops working with you. Now you need to either replace that client or let go of some staff, maybe delay mission-critical initiatives, and explain the loss to the board. It feels bad, so it is bad. And you, as the sales director, may want to avoid feeling bad at all costs, whether that be via denial, avoidance, freezing up, or resolving to take your anger and frustration out on your team, all of which will likely create an environment of blame instead of collaboration. However, avoiding bad feelings comes at a cost too. An opportunity cost.
A Sales Director With Emotional Agility
A more emotionally agile sales director might still feel bad about losing a big client. It would be strange if she didn’t. But the more emotionally agile sales director will also have another feeling available to her, the feeling of inspiration that comes with the challenge. Thus, that sales director will behave differently. She will consider it an opportunity to speak to the lost client and clarify with specificity why that client left. Rather than using the negative feelings as a sign of failure, she’ll relate to those feelings as feedback and an impetus for growth. She might redirect her attention to incorporating the feedback from the lost client and mobilize the team to plug the holes in the company’s main service offering so that the rest of the client base won’t suffer the same consequences.
This agile maneuver can result in increased penetration per client and increased top-line revenue per client account. The difference that made the difference? The meaning that the sales director made and the feelings that were available to her as a result.
Which of the above examples sounds familiar? How can you increase emotional agility for yourself and for your team?
The Impact Of Emotional Agility In The Workplace
Our infographic outlines how important emotional agility is in the workplace.
Research shows us that:
Want To Increase Emotional Agility? Follow These Steps
In the coming weeks, I will be sharing tools, from the seven steps listed above, to show you how you and your team can become more emotionally agile. What will the benefits be to you when you’re more emotionally agile? Here’s what our executive coaching and workshop clients find:
Benefits You Will Reap
How emotionally agile are you? Take our 3-minute assessment and find out.
Christine Comaford is the best-selling author of Power Your Tribe: Create Resilient Teams in Turbulent Times and SmartTribes: How Teams Become Brilliant Together, and a leadership and culture coach. She hosts Beyond The Brain, a Retreat In Mindfulness and Ancient Wisdom every October and the Conscious Leaders Tribe, which meets monthly via web meetings. Learn more at SmartTribes Institute.