October 16, 2019
In recent years, we have heard how “Emotional Intelligence” is the most important skill anyone could ever possess. But how does a lack of EI hurt us exactly? What are the practical and identifiable pitfalls we all hit every day if we are not emotionally intelligent?
There are two major landmines we all commonly hit on a daily basis when we act like emotional children. Unfortunately, since the human emotional system is based on fight or flight, and since our emotional system, or namely our amygdala, can commandeer our body in 17,000ths of a second, which is way before our logical brain has any idea what is going on, we humans are wired to react and then think later. That is why it is so vital that we all take at least five seconds to stop, think and let our frontal lobes, or our logical brain, catch up. A human’s first reaction in any conflict situation is going to be an emotional one, not a logical one, and unless your life is in danger, your first reaction is always wrong.
There are some people whose first instinct is to attack the other person whenever they feel they are being challenged. These Attackers go right into “fight” mode, which only escalates the situation.
Attackers are very easy to spot because they openly attack other people. They behave like the stereotypical Simon Cowell. As a result, they kill the trust whenever they go.
What is “trust”? Is it “safe”? That’s it. Is it “safe” to disagree with an Attacker? Absolutely not! Every time you disagree with them, they prove that it is not safe by openly attacking you. In the end, trust dies, as does any hope of building a team where everyone is working towards the same goal.
Retreaters, on the other hand, are much more devious, and most people you know are Retreaters. Most people you know prefer to run away from conflict whenever it occurs. So, they turn into Retreaters, which means they are passive aggressive. Unfortunately, most people in the world are passive aggressive, and that is the worst style of communication anyone can adopt. These Retreaters think they are “nice” people, so they smile and lie to your face, tell you everything is fine, and then stab you in the back the minute you walk away. You simply cannot build a trusting relationship with a passive aggressive. It is impossible. This “back-stabbing” kills any hope of building trust in the organization, which in turn kills any hope of building a team, because they are just not honest.
This is why so most managers are terrible at leading people: they’re human. Most managers will not deal with problems when they arise. Employees are not coached and made aware of where they need to improve. They are not given a chance to explain their side of the story. Instead, as far as the so-called leader is concerned, the facts only get in the way of a good opinion. It is cruel.
This also spells doom for the Retreaters themselves. Pretty soon, everyone realizes the passive aggressive will “get you” as soon as you walk away, so you end up living in a “jungle-type” of environment. You have to always be on guard and keep your back against the wall so no one “gets you.” No one can trust a passive aggressive.
Further, Retreaters are evil because they are really acting as “enablers.” They enable the “Emotional Children” of the world and all of the collective synonyms that go with it, which includes the hypersensitive people of the world, the bigots and the bullies.
In other words, it is because of the “nice” passive aggressive people that we have so much bullying in our society today. We expect bullies to be bullies. However, the assistance they get from the enablers of the world is what allows them to thrive.
Emotionally mature people will not attack you or stab you in the back when you disagree with them. It is “safe” to disagree with them. This is why …
If you cannot address and resolve conflict, you cannot be in management. Period.
About Scott Warrick JD, MLHR, CEQC, SHRM-SCP:
Author Scott Warrick has been an employment and labor attorney, HR professional, and popular speaker for more than three decades. His clients range from small organizations to Fortune 500 companies to governmental institutions. He travels the country presenting seminars on such topics as Employment Law Resolving Conflict, Diversity, and General Differences. You can learn more about Scott’s new book, “How to Solve Employee Problems Before They Start: Resolving Conflict in the Real World,” Scott himself by visiting www.scottwarrick.com.