Problem Solving and Stress Management grow through EQ

The idea of a development plan using emotional intelligence can seem obscure. Most professionals are conditioned to determine growth based on scorecard or quantitative factors, making self-development challenging. Learning to develop EQ strategies improves well-being, goal creation, and achievement. Organizations must learn to coach and develop all KSAs. The effort towards being intentional and achieving goals leads to self-mastery. 

Emotional intelligence (EQ)

When presented as a new idea or theory, it is easy to mistake emotional Intelligence (EQ) as sensitivity to emotions. Emotions are information and awareness towards what is happening to help with response versus being reactive. Reactive and poor awareness can easily be identified as an opportunity with emotional intelligence when people find themselves acting out, being passive-aggressive, shutting down, and struggling to cope with stress and change. 

A set of emotional and social skills that influence the way we perceive and express ourselves, develop and maintain social relationships, cope with challenges, and use emotional information in an effective and meaningful way.

Emotional Intelligence

Developing EQ is learning to shape decision-making, creating more vital internal ownership and accountability. An example of journaling and highlighting success with self-expression and an opportunity each day creates a new focus. This focus should lead to new insights towards transparency and communicating needs with partners and co-workers. Instead of waiting for things to boil up to chance, now there is a proactive effort to take this information to create momentum and increase productivity. Along with the behavior change comes a new rigor or cadence that can be used to replicate success. A large part of decision-making is placed on problem-solving. 

Problem-solving through EQ development

The interpersonal competency of EQ can be defined as the ability to develop and maintain mutually satisfying relationships. It should speak to establishing and maintaining a purposeful and productive network in a professional setting. When problems arise, it is crucial to understand the people factor in finding the solution. Opportunities in communication, process, and teamwork are often the root of organizational problems. It is essential to identify that they do not stand alone. People are part of the equation. 

Problems rarely grow from a single incident or event. Take a moment and think about things that have created problems or required immediate attention. Many problems seem to be a beginning or are chained together. The chain effect is another indicator of how people influence problems and become a large part of the solution. The interpersonal competency needed is even genuine in cases of process or high technical skills. 

A significant factor is how a problem or change is approached and prepared for. Marvin Levine, author of Effective Problem Solving, shares three rules: externalize, visualize, and simplify. An effort to externalize is about organizing and preparing, writing things down, and identifying key players. All the pieces must be present and accounted for when preparing to assemble a puzzle. Visualizing is imagining the steps or processes to complete the task or activity. Creating a visual map can help anticipate needs and potential dependencies to achieve the resolution. Simplify may seem straightforward. The step involves identifying the common denominators and staying focused on the relevant information. Simplify by working on what can be controlled versus the items of concern for the group. Identify the working or not working patterns to create a long-term solution. In operations, executing best practices is a significant step in simplifying a problem.

Stress management and behavior influence

There is no more substantial effect on people than stress. Stress can reshape teams and tear down the body. Management is developed from a foundational idea that everyone has complete control over themselves, including feelings, thoughts, and actions. The stress management competency from the book The EQ Edge comprises three sub-scales: stress tolerance, flexibility, and optimism. One goal of stress management is to control impulses. Most are familiar with the typical unhinged moment when a person can no longer contain the stress that has been bottled and building pressure for quite some time. 

“It is not stress that kills us. It is effective adaptation to stress that allows us to live.”

George vaillant

The sub-scales bring insight and solutions through EQ and decision-making competency. Stress tolerance is best observed as calm, thoughtfulness, and poise no matter the situation. Often, stress tolerance is developed through facing challenges versus avoiding or folding to them. Stress tolerance is also built through self-control to push optimism into visualizing the steps needed to achieve a more desirable result. Flexibility has cherished their mascot of Gumby for so many years. Today, flexibility is much more like a superhero, some Marvel character. It is the ability to control emotions, thoughts, and behavior in challenging situations and conditions—a fortitude to see past events as moments that bring experience to bring forward when needed. Development towards flexibility is about reinterpreting unexpected events or occurrences that bring unproductive emotions that may lead to other poor decisions. Optimism is required to reach any mountain top, often the momentum or energy used to achieve any goal. This is where we revisit the foundation of people having the ability to have complete control of their emotions and the decisions they lead to. There are many ways to develop optimism. Often, focusing on the other sub-scales will aid in developing optimism. Take time to talk through what is working, and you enjoy each day with a partner. It must be intentional and repeated long enough to become a habit or natural. 

KSAs are tangibles within the organization

What are KSAs? They are knowledge, skills, and attitudes. All organizations, down to the small business owner, value knowledge. Skills are often only developed to the level needed to meet business expectations; employees will continually grow beyond them. It’s a topic for another article. It is the attitudes that struggle to navigate the forest of everything else that takes priority within a team. It also is a problem that stems from leaders lacking the EQ skills to have the tough-hearted conversations that help shape attitudes—rooted in poor problem-solving and stress management. 

Further developing personal and team EQ

The result is an ability to have more intention and control to achieve desirable results, whatever they may be. The actions lead to overall well-being. It is reached through awareness that a competency needs to be addressed, then setting intentional acts that can be observed (tangible) or lead to new behavior. This new level of EQ is achieved through repetition and follow-through.

Want to know more?

– Start by taking your full EQ-i 2.0 assessment 

Contact Dan, email:

– We have another EQ workshop coming in early December

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