Practice the pause

Practice the pause

I was talking to someone recently who had to call their ISP about an issue they were having with their service. The first rep they spoke to wasn't sure how to help so they transferred her to another rep. They then had to go through the same long explanation of the issue with the second rep. When the second rep told them they weren't sure how to help either and they would have to transfer the call to another rep they exclaimed something that was unfit for print. After they were transferred to a third rep they had to go through the whole rigamarole again of explaining the issue. Fortunately for the ISP the third rep, after an hour on the phone, was able to resolve the issue.

I spoke to his person the next morning and they still had a bee in their bonnet about the ISP - even though the issue was resolved now and as a result we had got a discount on our cable package. Sufficed to say this person had a strong emotional reaction over their experience with the ISP.

Science alert: Emotions are neurohormones that are produced primarily in the hypothalamus part of the brain. Each “burst” of these amino acids of emotion, from the time they are produced, to the time they’re completely broken down and absorbed, lasts about 6 seconds. That's it - the chemical part of any emotion is over and done with in an average of 6 seconds. Any emotional reaction that last longer than that (say from 7.30pm until 8.30am like in the ISP case) is a choice.

TL;DR. Any emotional reaction that lasts more than 6 seconds is a choice! If we turn this to work, some of the most common emotional triggers are a lack of:

• acceptance

• respect

• feeling liked

• understanding

• feeling needed

• feeling valued

• control

• being right

• being treated fairly

• attention

• comfort

• freedom

• peacefulness

• balance

• consistency

• glucose (OK, I added that one to justify my own "hanger" issues.)

We all get triggered at work from time to time, it is inevitable. The question is how much do you let it affect you and long do you let it last? Do you do something you might regret in those first 6 seconds? Do you hold on to it and let it ruin your whole day?

The fancy term for being able to manage your reaction to emotional outbursts is "emotional intelligence." Researchers suggest that peoples EQ (Emotional Quotient) is a bigger factor in success at work than their IQ.

There are 4 levels to emotional intelligence:

• Self Awareness.

• Self Management.

• Social Awareness.

• Social Management.

"Self Awareness" is simply recognizing your current emotional state. "Self Management" is controlling your emotions instead of your emotions controlling you (IE "practicing the pause.") "Social Awareness" is recognizing other peoples emotional states. "Social Management" is working with other peoples emotional states.