This past week, I spent two days training a group of academics and administrators at Monash University Malaysia, the third largest campus of the premier research-intensive Australian university, ranked among the top 100 universities in the world.
My programme was on emotional intelligence at work.
The session on focused on learning that if you want to create value and influence for yourself, you must start by understanding how important your attitude is. In fact, it is the most important asset you possess.
Your attitude towards something is the interaction of your feelings and emotions about that thing, and your thoughts and beliefs about it. This is how important your emotions are. They are the prime motivator for you to take any action.
But over time, most of people learn not to trust their emotions.
You have been told that emotions distort the more accurate information our intellect. Even the term “emotional” has come to mean weak, out of control, and childish
However, I know from experience that the ability to read your own emotions and recognise their impact is vital for personal growth. And your inclination to use your intuition to guide your decision making process is based on your self-awareness.
When you can control your emotions and impulses, and allow yourself to adapt to changing circumstances, you will have tremendous self-management skills. This, without doubt, is one of the most necessary skills for sustained personal growth.
Your capacity to sense, understand and react to other people’s emotions while simultaneously being able to understand the social networks around your environment or circumstances, gives you strong social awareness. Being mindful of this is another prerequisite for results.
And your relationship management skill, which is your talent for inspiring, influencing and developing other people while cleverly managing potential conflicts, indicates how effective you will be.
Self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, and relationship management are the foundation for emotional intelligence. And your efficacy in these skills will reflect in your attitude.
I was having a chat with a member of my team a few days ago. My task was to help this person unblock their mindset and to help them rediscover their latent potential. As we spoke, I noticed that the loudest opinion they heard was their own inner voice.
In many instances this inner voice is debilitating and extremely limiting.
Often, it works against you. And, while some use it as an excuse to not push their boundaries too much, most people genuinely struggle with their inner-critic.
Conversely, in my interactions with outstanding leaders and entrepreneurs, I sense that they have less of a problem with this. They seem to have managed to find the switch, to turn their inner-critic, off.
This does not mean they are not self-critical. But they do not get incapacitated by their inner demons.
In fact, more often than not, their outlook liberates them and gives them the confidence to complete what they set out to do. They exhibit single-mindedness in wanting to achieve their goals.
They show an attitude that is filled with energy and abundance. And, their personal culture becomes contagious, and impacts everyone around them.
How is it that some people have mastered this art, whilst others constantly struggle?
I have understood that successful people have learnt how to work with, and harness their emotions, which is the genesis of their attitude. I reckon this is what makes all the difference.
These people usually have great self-awareness. They understand what they expect from themselves and from the people around them.
They recognise their strengths and leverage on these. Alternatively, weaknesses are mitigated by learning new skills or delegating decisions to subject matter specialists.
Most of the noteworthy people I know, have pronounced self-management skills.
They are skillful at managing their own feelings. And, they are discip
lined while not being rigid. The top leaders I work with are all agile and adaptive. They can shift focus, and move quickly.
Another trait many effective entrepreneurs demonstrate is a strong sense of social awareness. They spend time understanding people and the environment they operate in.
They curate and craft their interactions with others in tandem with this knowledge.
And of course nearly all the outstanding leaders I know have remarkable relationship management skills. They are inspiring and they can influence the people around them.
It is their attitude that creates growth momentum for them.
What’s your attitude is? Is it positive or negative? Is it productive or destructive?
When dealing with people, do you look for the good in them or do you start with the premise that no one is to be trusted? When confronted with a problem, does your instinct tell you to find someone else to palm it off to, or do you buckle down and think your way out?
The answers to these questions may shed some light on what your attitude is.
Remember, your attitude is unquestionably a conscious choice on your part.