“If your emotional abilities aren’t in hand, if you don’t have self-awareness, if you are not able to manage your distressing emotions, if you can’t have empathy and have effective relationships, then no matter how smart you are, you are not going to get very far.”

Daniel Goleman, the father of emotional intelligence, rocked the business world with this challenge to get our emotional act together or risk failure.

No time of the year offers more significant emotional failure opportunities, both professionally and personally, than the holidays. When during the year do we face more work demands – pre-holiday and end of the year deadlines, and the holiday work party?! When during the year do we face more life demands – gift-buying, gatherings, family drama?! Like so much of life, we often let the holidays just happen to us, hoping simply to survive them. But finishing the year well calls us to manage the holidays’ flood of both delights and challenges.

As leaders – in your organization and in your life – now is a great time to use and grow your emotional intelligence, and purposely create your day-to-day and your memories. The skills of emotional intelligence, often referred to by its measurement EQ, are:

Self-awareness.

Everything you see, hear, touch, smell, and taste elicits an emotional response. Everything. Pay attention to how you feel when you are immersed in the high demand of your work deadlines, the work party, buying gifts, gatherings, and getting your crown done before the end of the year. Check out Daniel Goleman’s article for the Korn Ferry Institute to learn more.

Self-regulation.

The intensity of feelings or the sheer volume of them can flood you with stress hormones and cause you to become aggressive or emotionally distant. Discover and use EQ tools that specifically elicit a relaxation response for you – perhaps a shorter to-do list, listening to your favorite music or podcast, or lingering over a cup of coffee with someone who cares.

Motivation.

The key to using your emotions to thrive during the holidays begins with knowing what you want and purposefully designing it with a self-aware, self-regulated, clear head. Do you want less stress? More time with or without family? Spiritual renewal? No weight gain? And remember, when feelings threaten to derail what you want, you have self-regulation tools to get you back on track.

Empathy.

Knowing your feelings, how to regulate them, and what is motivating you, leads you to reach out to others to co-create what you want. You find yourself connecting more genuinely with others because you need their collaboration.

Social skills.

EQ is the catalyst to nurturing positive, effective relationships that naturally create the holiday memories that you want, while at the same time helping others to do the same.

When considering your levels of holiday self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy, and social skills, I urge you to cut yourself and others some slack. EQ can grow through emotionally messy times like the holidays and the skills that you acquire will serve you and those you lead as you jump into the emotional messiness of 2020.

Happy holidays.

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