We’ve all had disagreements with friends, spouses, children, and yes, even colleagues. And while we often try to reason our way through conflicts, experts say this is only part of the resolution equation. Our emotions can—and should—play a part as well. “Emotions cannot be ignored,” writes Susan David for Bloomberg. “In fact, research suggests that suppressing your emotions—deciding not to say something when you’re upset—can lead to bad results.” How many times have you suppressed your emotions in order to avoid conflict with one person only to have those emotions bubble to the surface with another person? “When you bottle up your feelings, you’re likely to express your emotions in unintended ways instead, either sarcastically or in a completely different context,” David writes. Psychologists call this emotional leakage.” So how can we all develop our emotional intelligence? Here’s what the experts recommend:
- Take time to acknowledge your emotions and try to consider the emotions of the other person involved in the situation.
- Assess how these emotions impact your behavior and the behavior of the other person. “During a conflict… negative emotions can result in criticism and nitpicking,” according to David. “Positive emotions support big picture thinking, brainstorming, and creativity.”
- Try to understand why you feel the way you do. “Emotionally intelligent leaders are aware of what causes their emotions, and they also think through what outcomes are most desirable,” writes David.