Pat Baxter Head Shot VA

Pat Baxter, Ed.D., MS, CSA, author of “Cool Change: Turning Emotions Into Leadership Strengths,” joined me on “Turn the Page”  to discuss how emotions help us to be guided by our experiences, better manage relationships, and take productive action. Listen to our conversation about engaging the benefits, and minimizing the liabilities of expressing feelings at work.

The ability to regulate one’s emotions is an important marker of performing well in high-pressure situations. The more limber you are in responding to stress, the more access you’ll be granted to influence others.

Dr. Baxter expanded on our discussion after the show, by sharing additional tactics for constructively engaging emotions:

EMPATHY IS A CRITICAL SKILL IN BUILDING STRONGER RELATIONSHIPS.
Research shows that women are likely to have higher scores in certain Emotional Intelligence competencies (which can make them strong leaders!), especially empathy. Empathy is the ability to understand and relate to another’s feelings. Both empathy and emotional awareness are skills that can be learned. One of the most effective actions you can take to establish an empathetic relationship is to listen carefully and closely. When the person pauses or becomes quiet, repeat back what you heard (not word for word), using your own words to convey what you understood. Image Relationship Therapy, pioneered by Harville Hendrix, encourages the listener to then ask, “did I get it?” and “is there anything else?” This type of approach is foundational to coaching, counseling, and mediation given how supported, respected, and cared for the person speaking feels. It is a great strategy for deescalating a heated situation.

BEING EMOTIONALLY AWARE ENABLES YOU TO GET “UNSTUCK” IN YOUR EMOTIONS. Emotional awareness invites you to pinpoint the triggers and other factors that contribute to your emotions, and to be empowered by the insights that can liberate you from recurring traps. You also have the option to choose where you focus your attention. Instead of getting “stuck” feeling a certain way for days or longer, get unstuck by focusing on something you want to expand, like joy, peace, and confidence!

EMOTIONS ARE CONTAGIOUS.
Do you believe you can “catch” an emotion, as you would a cold? According to dictionary.com, “emotional contagion” is “the tendency to feel and express emotions similar to and influenced by those of others.” Recall a time when you were on a team or part of group that experienced a disappointment or a loss; how many of your fellow members felt the same way? Dr. Baxter suggests this tactic: Designate someone to help the group get unstuck by asking, “what good things have happened lately?” or “how can this situation help us?” This is precisely the tactic that research has shown distinguishes stress-resilient people from those who are prone to the adverse effects of stress (that is, those who view stress as helpful rather than “bad”).

KEEPING YOU ALIVE — AND FEELING ALIVE ARE THE GIFTS OF EMOTION.
Dr. Baxter advises, “Suppressing “bad” emotions, such as rage, fear, and sadness can function like a dam, and keep you from positives, like love and connection. Giving credence to your emotions can help to ensure your safety, health, and productivity.’

LEARN ABOUT THE LATEST RESEARCH ON EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE.
The Society of Emotional Intelligence (SoEI) hosts its annual global conference to share the must current research and practices related to emotional intelligence. SoEI also provides training and certification, which you can implement to enhance your organization’s success in areas such as engagement, selection, leadership development, sales training, and coaching.

Listen to our conversation, and read Dr. Baxter’s book to strengthen your leadership and personal effectiveness through the guidance of your emotions.


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