Emotional Intelligence at Work: The Secret to Better Problem-Solving

Mar 17, 2021

Problem-solving is not a purely cognitive endeavor. There is an emotional component to the underlying dynamics of every problem. Understanding emotions and how they function is a critical part of solving problems.

Deciphering emotional dynamics begins with a leader’s ability to understand their own hot buttons. By doing so, they are able keep their calm and avoid making costly mistakes.

However, hot buttons are not the only buttons we have. We also have more positively charged triggers that enhance our sense of well-being and support better problem-solving.

When leaders know what their positive triggers are they can use that emotional intelligence to approach problems in new and creative ways.

Important emotional dynamics occur at many levels that influence people’s emotions. Outstanding leaders are skillful in identifying the cause and effect of emotions, and they use that skill to discern and handle the emotional challenges of difficult situations.

Develop a Deeper Understanding

To develop a deeper understanding of your emotional triggers, write down a description of a recent situation that pushed your buttons in a negative way. Then answer the following reflective questions:

  • What was it about the situation that pushed your buttons?

  • Where did you feel the response in your body?

  • Did the emotional response change over the course of the situation? If so, how?

  • In what way did the response effect your behavior?

Now, repeat the exercise for a recent situation that pushed your buttons in a positive way.

Share your answers with someone you trust to increase your level of insight and perspective when it comes to understanding your own emotional triggers. Apply this awareness to future problem-solving to yield better results.