Emotional Agility Techniques: Retraining Responses

Emotional Agility Techniques
[Photo: courtesy of Susan David]

Emotional Agility for Collaborative Success

Renowned psychologist and author Susan David, known for her groundbreaking work on emotions, emphasizes the importance of emotional agility in fostering healthy human connections. In an interview, she shares insights on integrating emotional agility tactics to enhance collaboration within teams.

1. The Power of Curiosity: David advocates for maintaining a curious mindset as a fundamental aspect of emotional agility. Staying curious involves understanding one’s and others’ emotions, acknowledging the nuances, and taking steps aligned with personal values. This approach encourages compassion, curiosity, and the courage to engage in discomfort for meaningful conversations and actions.

2. Compassion in Complexity: Amid increasing organizational complexity, impulsive responses driven by stress and rigidity can hinder collaboration. David emphasizes the role of compassion in broadening cognitive perspectives. Compassion allows individuals to navigate complexity by appreciating context, understanding nuances, and connecting with core values. It creates a space for connection, collaboration, and learning.

3. Emotional Granularity for Nuanced Communication: Emotional granularity, the ability to discern nuanced emotions, is crucial for effective communication within teams. David encourages moving beyond broad labels like stress or resistance to change. By delving into emotional nuances, individuals can understand the underlying causes of emotions, fostering a deeper level of understanding and collaboration.

4. Embracing the Messy Middle: In uncertain situations, the impulse for a clear A-to-B map may lead to rigidity. David suggests using language such as “We’re in the messy middle” to acknowledge uncertainty and create a space for exploration. This approach allows teams to embrace uncertainty, encouraging an environment of collaboration and experimentation.

5. Journaling for Emotional Awareness: David highlights the role of writing as a tool to elevate awareness and agency. Teams can explore journal prompts together to acknowledge emotions, identify underlying values, and collectively decide on the desired team identity amid challenges.

As organizations navigate change, emotional agility emerges as a vital leadership skill. David emphasizes that successful change requires acknowledging and navigating the emotional journey of individuals. The ability to embrace discomfort, engage in difficult conversations, and treat emotions as valuable data are key components of emotional agility for future success.

Repurposed article originally published in Fast Company

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