Are you as emotionally agile as you think (and why it matters)?

We’d all agree being agile is a good thing – to adapt faster, innovate and create advantage. ANZ are banking on it (excuse the pun).

Being agile though relies on strong relationships: people who can connect, collaborate and work cohesively.

Businesses are only as agile as the people are within them

Herein lies the challenge. We typically prefer certainty and predictability over change. When we’re overwhelmed by uncertainty and difficulty we create certainty for ourselves by:

  • Caring more about ourselves and our agenda than our usual concern and compassion for others
  • Becoming more competitive
  • Letting our ego show (eg: needing to be ‘right’)
  • Making quicker decisions based on gut feeling versus sound judgement.

These behaviour traits make relationships challenging.

What’s the solution?

Emotional agility: connecting into your emotions, thoughts and experiences in a way that serves you and others around you – even when you’re emotionally charged.

When was the last time you were really frustrated, angry or undeniably fu@#$% off at work? Did you let your emotions get the better of you in ways you might not be aware?

Close the gap between intention and impact

My client Andrew prided himself on being a team player. Yet, in meetings when the conversation went off on a tangent, or when people didn’t make their point quickly, Andrew, fuelled by frustration, abruptly spoke over the top of others, shutting them down. While he justified his behaviour (and learned that gaining control met his own need for certainty), his behaviour was relationship damaging.

“Effective leaders are mindful of their inner experiences, but not caught up in them” – Susan David and Christina Congleton

We have over 16,000 spoken thoughts every day. Juggling difficult thoughts and emotions is normal. These principles of emotional agility are based on the work of Harvard psychologist Susan David:

  1. Acknowledge and accept your thoughts and emotions without associating into them. For example: I’m having the thought “I’m feeling defensive” and I’m noticing my urge to retaliate back.
  2. Elevate to a shared objective/purpose. Take a breath and ask yourself: 1) what perspective could I choose here that will serve me and others in a way that’s good for everyone. Don’t let your little voice dictate being right over what’s right.
  3. Be kind and self-compassionate: our human experience is filled with every emotion (positive and negative). Failure, rejection and setback are part of life – the emotions linked to these are too.
  4. Draw your values into your perspective set. Why? Decisions become easier when your leadership is intentional.

Bringing it all together

These principles of emotion agility will help you alleviate stress, become more productive, and build more connected relationships. How will your next level of emotional agility benefit your bigger game?

Interested in knowing more? Check out Susan’s presentation on YouTube:

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