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What differentiates emotional reactions from emotional intelligence (business examples)


Can you easily differentiate emotional reactions from using emotional intelligence in business?

In case this difference is not clear to you, I am providing a few examples of both.

Emotional reactions

Emotional reactions are triggered by uncontrolled emotions and may include:

  • Attacking or offending
  • Defending
  • Criticizing, scolding or shouting
  • Hiding or shying away
  • Showing resentment to others
  • Spontaneous reactions which are counterproductive to business objectives
  • Conceding to unfavorable terms (i.e., in fear of rejection)
  • Ignoring facts, generalizing (to offset the feelings of insecurity)
  • Writing off people or projects based on first impressions
  • Prejudiced or biased behavior (rooted in fear or sense of insecurity)

This list proves why so many people are scared of emotional reactions and want to learn how to control emotions in business.

Value of emotional intelligence

However, emotional intelligence used in a different way can be a powerful leadership skill. This soft skill can:

  • Help people relieve difficult emotions
  • Create engagement and a sense of belonging within the team (motivating non-financially)
  • Provide the leader with strategic insights that are far beyond the outcomes of a purely intellectual process
  • (You can find more benefits in my article on emotional intelligence in business)

Emotional intelligence in business

To illustrate this, I am providing a few examples of how an emotionally intelligent leader can respond to different business challenges:

“Logically we should do A, yet somehow, I feel afraid of going in that direction. How do you feel about this?”

“You know, every time I talk to this client, I get knots in my stomach and feel emotionally threatened. What do you feel when meeting this client?”

“When you started to talk about this project, your hands began shaking and your voice started to tremble. This made me feel curious about what’s going on here – please tell me.”

“When you talked about the first project, you seemed to be very enthusiastic. When you talked about the second one, you avoided eye contact with me and I got the feeling that you were less enthusiastic than before. This made me worry about you and curious about what’s going on. Please tell me more.”

“Our conversation has calmed me down and helped me clear my mind, thank you” 

“When you send me the new task at 5 p.m. on Friday insisting that it must be completed by 9 a.m. on Monday, I feel irritated. This is because in this situation, I have to work over the weekend, have less time for my family and my work-life balance deteriorates. Can you please delegate me such tasks earlier on so I don’t need to work over the weekend?”

I am interested in how you FEEL when reading these examples of emotionally intelligent behaviors in business. 

What would happen if leaders in your company regularly used emotions in such a way?

Maciej Szturmowicz

Scaleup Founder, Coach, Facilitator