Far out Friday: How brokers can master their emotions

by AB07 Mar 2014
Grasping your emotions through ‘emotional intelligence’ – otherwise known as emotional quotient or EQ – can increase your brokerage’s profits, as well as help hone skills and boost productivity, according to a report by Travcom Group.

While EQ itself is not an old concept – dating back to the 1990s – it has recently entered a third phase of development, focusing in on behavioural concepts.

Behavioural EQ challenges people to not only be aware of their emotions, but how it makes them behave.
Essentially, while emotional intelligence includes emotional awareness, self-insight and self-confidence, behavioural awareness accounts for self-control, conscientiousness and stress management.
The latter is particularly relevant for Australians. Recent research from the Medibank 24/7 health advice line found 85% of Aussies experience severe stress at work, with half of full-timers feeling ‘seriously pressured’ most weeks of the year.

For brokers, incorporating behavioural EQ benefits in two ways: it will increase your understanding of yourselves and how you deal with clients.
Additionally, by rolling this out throughout a brokerage, tense situations between staff members will be handled in more rational and calm ways, potentially reducing workplace conflict.
The benefits of EQ can only be realised by a keen understanding and control of your emotions.

Casey Mulqueen, director of research and product development at Travcom, gives seven tips to get there:
  • Understand your emotions. Take the time to learn what your emotional ‘triggers’ are – what occurrences result in you losing behavioural control?
  • Mentally rehearse triggering situations. When you rehearse scenarios, you generate the same neural circuitry that is activated when you are actually experiencing it. Rehearsing situations can allow you to develop ways to handle these situations and act in a more productive way, preparing you for when these situations occur.
  • Force your brain into action by solving a problem. If you find yourself angry or frustrated with a situation, distract your brain by solving a problem. This is an extension of the ‘count to ten’ concept, but Mulqueen feels you should try something slightly more difficult – such as working out 15 x 18. This will distract your brain long enough to stop adrenalin and other stress hormones from building up.
  • Engage in healthy escapism. If solving a problem doesn’t sound up your alley, instead try shifting to a more pleasant memory. Sing a song in your head, imagine your favourite place, etcetera.
  • Don’t send emails straight away. An important aspect to not only keep a hold of your own emotions but ensure you don’t trigger others is to re-read your emails before sending them. How could your email be interpreted or misinterpreted? This is especially important if you are angry or frustrated when penning the email, as you may accidently show this in the text.
  • Walk away. Sometimes situations are best avoided. Your employees will not think less of you for stepping away from a situation to process the information and avoid emotional responses. It will result in better and more logical decision making when you do approach the problem.
  • Speak clearly and with decorum whenever in an emotional situation. Even if others are not, it is important to remain calm and speak clearly in tense situations. This will not only help keep you calm, but may also calm those you are speaking to.