In business emotional intelligence (EQ) is what separates mediocre business executives from exceptional ones. Cass has found innovative ways to help MBA students better understand the importance of EQ and how to develop it.

Back in November, we were offered this rich experience during our continuous development programme. A full day of live workshop that measured our leadership potential and enlightened us on how to use our emotions to make a significant and positive impact on organisations where we work.

In my whole life, I have always trusted my emotions. I have always believed that by touching emotion you get the best people to deal with you, the best clients to inspire you, the best partners and most honest friends. I was always known among my friends and family as an emotional person, and I spent many years of my life digging deeply to find a way to channel these emotions and make them empower me in my work place,  social life and for my self-understanding. I joined the EMBA programme, which is a life transforming time for me, that’s when I am learning that emotions can be intelligent!

As an MBA student now, I have a great belief in the power of emotions in driving success in someone’s life. I know that emotions are not only to help me feel, but also think and act. The recipe I learnt is to use my emotions to inform my thinking and use my thinking to manage my emotions. But why and how?

Why? To be aware of who you are and what trigger you, to understand others and what triggers them, to excuse them, to manage your stress, to relate to others in any situation, to challenge with confidence, to manage your emotions, to manage people’s emotions, to relax, to succeed and most importantly, to accept who you are and be happy!

How? The first step is awareness. be aware of your own strengths and weaknesses. Many people do not know much about their own selves; some are in denial of their weaknesses, others lack the confidence when they are strong in certain areas! When you are self-aware, you will not let your emotions control you. When you are self-aware, you are more honest with yourself and this will help you to work and improve yourself constantly. Get feedback from people you trust; a colleague, a boss, a friend, a partner or a subordinate. Be authentic and it will pay back!

The second step is managing these emotions. Control your emotions, do not allow your impulses to take control. Imagine yourself leaving your body, witnessing the incident before it happens and anticipating the consequences. I do this very frequently and I am better the more I practice. If you know what triggers you, you will recognise the moment of impulse from the very beginning and then, take control! It’s very effective.

The third step is motivation! do not let any result or reaction hold you back. Always look for a long-term success. Have your own drive because, believe me, no one will motivate you more than yourself. Love what you do and do it with love, because LOVE is the most powerful emotion of all, the most positive, the most empowering, and the most effective life-saving drug. When you do things with love, you do them 100 % and that’s the key of motivation!

The fourth step is empathy! Understand people’s needs, feelings, motives, drivers, and points of view. Many people do not show their real feelings and it’s your job to try to unpack how they really feel. The secret is to stop judging people.  I learnt this the hard way and I guarantee you that it brings a lot of peace into your life when you stop judging others, the way you do not want to be judged!

The last step is social skills! Help others to develop and transfer knowledge, support your subordinates, let them shine, let them find the easy way of doing things, focus on them and communicate more. Tremendous amount of energy will fill your soul once you do that. Nothing can make you happier more than helping others; it pays back very fast.

One technique I learnt to manage my stress is breathing and I have taught it to my kids; a very powerful technique that helps you be more grounded when you are frustrated or having any negative surge of feelings. Breathing is the only vital life process that can be conscious and subconscious at the same time. It’s what connects the body with the soul. Scientist discovered that by breathing consciously (deeply and intuitively) you can bring your emotions in control and immediately change your status to a more positive one.

Every emotion is associated with a certain pattern of breathing. For example, when you are under stress, your breathing becomes shallower and faster – you can witness it. Since you can’t press a button and control your emotions, the best way to do that is to change your breathing pattern. So pause and try to change your breathing, make it deep and long and imagine the air flushing your body parts. When you do this, the negative feelings that you had will change immediately, and you will feel much better in just few minutes. Trust me, I always do that.

Scientists have defined stress as the fluctuation of the mind between the past (when there is guilt, pain or sadness) and the future (when there is worry and fear). Breathing brings you to the now – the only time when you will not be under stress, that’s why it’s called the present.

“It is very important to understand that emotional intelligence is not the opposite of intelligence, it is not the triumph of heart over head – it is the unique intersection of both” – David Caruso

Lawra Hasayen
Dubai Executive MBA (2019)