Problem Solving – Emotions Can Help, Not Hurt Your Process

Carolyn Stern June 29, 2016

Decision-making is the fourth composite scale that contributes to emotional intelligence. This is about how we use the information our emotions provide to make decisions.

These competencies make up the decision-making area of the model:

  • Problem Solving
  • Reality Testing
  • Impulse Control

How do you solve problems when your emotions are running rampant? Well you can’t turn off your emotions like a light switch, but it is important to manage them before and during the solving problem process – that way you are able to use the information your emotions are providing you to help, not hurt the decision-making process.

Here are four simple, but often overlooked, tips on how to manage your emotions when faced with a problem.

1. Acceptance

When a problem arises, some people deny it even exists, and the problem never gets resolved. The important thing is that once you accept there is a problem, you can take corrective steps to solve it.

2. Recognize

Before you begin to look at solutions, being aware of what lies beneath the problem is the first step to solving any challenge.

3. Vocalize

Many people are able to recognize and understand the emotions tied to a problem, but are not able to vocalize them. If you don’t speak up, communicate, and let people know how you feel, the problem can escalate to an even bigger issue.

4. Manage

When faced with a problem, it is important to remember the best solution for the company, may not be the best solution for you. It is important to separate your own wants and needs from the goals that are in the best interest of the organization.

If you apply these four simple steps, it will eliminate the chance of your emotions getting the best of you, and you will be able to think more objectively when solving your problems.

If this post has you curious and you’d like to learn more, watch my video on leading with emotional intelligence (training program available in both face-to-face and online delivery formats).

Join me next time as I continue to break down the emotional intelligence area of Decision Making, and explore the second competency in this area, reality testing. Until then, remember emotions can help, not hurt the problem-solving process.

Learn more about emotional intelligence in my previous blogs:

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