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Dealing with conflict

Emotions gone wild can wreak havoc in the workplace.  In today’s changing work environment, more employees are angry, frustrated, and fearful.  Emotional intelligence is something you may have heard about.  Contemporary leaders are learning about and employing emotional intelligence to productively address emotions before they get out of control. 

Emotional intelligence is the capacity to observe and monitor your own and others’ feelings and emotions and to use this information to understand underlying motivations and to make decisions. 

Emotions provide information about things that are important enough to a person to motivate (or de-motivate) them. Moreover, not only is it difficult to suppress emotions, but they are also windows to the attitudes and motivations of employees. In one experiment, Alice Isen gave radiologists a small gift before they provided a diagnosis.   In the majority of cases, their diagnosis was both faster and more accurate after receiving the gift (presumably their mood was elevated). 

With a rapidly changing workplace, leadership skills are evolving and today's executives must motivate others and adapt quickly.  Since emotions impact performance, learning how to monitor these feelings, being aware of your own hot buttons, and using the information to motivate people and reduce negative conflicts is an essential leadership skill.