Are You Communicating Your Emotions Openly, Authentically & Congruently?

Emotional Intelligence: Self-Expression Composite
To summarize the self-expression composite: our goals are to increase awareness and understanding, giving us access to transform the most powerful lenses through which we experience life and our relationships — how we see ourselves and what we believe at an inner most level about ourselves. This composite focuses our awareness and understanding on how we express ourselves.
Self-expression is about how we communicate our own emotions openly, authentically and congruently – while being a match for the situation and people involved – in ways that enable us to produce our desired results. In other words, given we are emotional beings, self-expression is how we share and utilize our emotions to create the results and quality interactions we aspire to enjoy.
The human brain is designed to create patterns. These patterns go deep and wide, which is why there is agreement amongst thought leaders that self-awareness is the most important success factor in leadership and life in general.
Given we all have patterned communication styles, the work begins with understanding your dominant patterns. Once you clearly see how you show up, you can allow yourself to go deeper into the less obvious patterns and perhaps get closer to understanding how others experience you. What we talk about, and more importantly, how we talk about it determines what gets done and doesn’t get done. Success or failure / isolation or connection is created one conversation at a time.
This idea is the same as what Covey coined as the emotional bank account – each interaction of importance either builds or erodes trust. Our ability to being effectively self-expressed is key to the reputation we have with others. Are you someone who leaves people empowered and mobilized in action on the right things with clarity; or are you someone who leaves people cut off at the knees, feeling small and confused?
Developing yourself in the self-expression composite will increase your effectiveness and the results you produce through communication – both verbal and non-verbal. In the coming weeks as we dive into the three competencies that make-up of the self-expression composite, remember that the goal is to see yourself as others see you.
Get started: Gather markers matching the colored dots below or use shapes to distinguish each style (∆ ♥ ◊ ○ □). Name the important people in your life (some examples are included) and reflect on the specific situations that fall under the headings provided. Using the colors or symbols identify what you see as your pattern with each person in the different scenarios.
Self-Expression Exercise

Tune in over the next 3 weeks, to learn about the 3 Self-expression competencies:
• Emotional Expression
• Assertiveness
• Independence


EQ Emotional Intelligence Assessments are based on composites and their competencies. Each week in this series of blogs I will explore a composite or competency and its importance and impact on leadership; and then provide an exercise to help you expand that particular composite or competency. I encourage you to buy a journal for the walk into your greatness, to do the work thoughtfully, and share your discoveries and challenges with me – either through the comments section of this blog or at


EQ Emotional Intelligence: Do You Keep Promises to Yourself?

Emotional Intelligence Self-Perception: The Self-Regard Competency

A thermometer with mercury bursting through the glass, and the words Confidence Level, symbolizing a positive attitude
Self-Regard is respecting oneself while understanding & accepting one’s strengths and weaknesses. It is often associated with feelings of inner strength & self-confidence.
The single fastest way to grow your self-confidence and self-esteem is to keep the promises you make to yourself. I was in Dubai in January 2015 for a leadership program at Zayed University called “Being a Leader”.  One of the facilitator’s questions to us was “Do you care enough about yourself to honor your word, particularly those promises you make to yourself?”
As an executive coach, I see examples in the workplace where leaders promise to take action within a timeframe; and don’t.  In 2009, I made a promise to my dad to love him unconditionally.  About a month ago, I was reacting to something he said with criticism and anger.  As a result, there was an erosion of affinity in our relationship impacting both him and I, given I didn’t honor my promise.  In my own life, I’ve diminished my well being, sense of peace and personal power when I’ve not honored my promise to myself about health in my exercise and lifestyle eating regime.
“Put simply, people consistently act inconsistently, unaware of the contradiction between their espoused theory and their theory-in-use, between the way they think they are acting and the way they really act.” Chris Argyris, 1991, Teaching Smart People How to Learn (Harvard Business Review: May-June) 
Self-Regard Awareness Activity: Identify and acknowledge all the promises you’ve made and not kept in the areas noted below.

  • In the workplace
  • In my personal relationships & life
  • In my relationship with myself

I encourage you to address the less than positive impact with a simple apology and acknowledgement of the impact that made.  Then make a new promise in the area – if it really matters to you – and design a structure (actions and time-frames) that enables you to fulfill it.  If you authentically aren’t committed to taking action, care enough about yourself to accept yourself as you are and as you are not.  Taking action to acknowledge the impact will restore your integrity resulting in a “bigger” experience of yourself.  Said another way, your confidence will expand.


EQ Emotional Intelligence Assessments are based on composites and their competencies. Each week in this series of blogs I will explore a composite or competency and its importance and impact on leadership; and then provide an exercise to help you expand that particular composite or competency.  I encourage you to buy a journal for the walk into your greatness, to do the work thoughtfully, and share your discoveries and challenges with me – either through the comments section of this blog or at
Related blogs in this series:

Going nowhere….fast

I’m not going to shock anyone by stating many of us are on the verge of burnout. In October 2012, the Globe and Mail reported “work-life balance for Canadians is more off kilter than ever. Despite years of warnings about striking work-life balance, Canadians are in a deeper rut than ever. Almost two-thirds of us are working more than 45 hours a week – 50-per-cent more than two decades ago. Work weeks are more rigid, with flex-time arrangements dropping by a third in the past 10 years. To top it off, only 23 per cent of working Canadians are highly satisfied with life. That’s half as many as in 1991.”
(Source: Globe and Mail Work-Life Balance)
How many hats am I wearing today?
In the workplace, the expectation is that for a minimum of eight hours each day, we will perform our best. For many of us, it’s much more than eight hours. And most of us attempt to do that without doing anything to support us in our efforts, while still carrying out several other roles. We are also parents, spouses, friends, caregivers of elderly relatives and some of us take on volunteer commitments in our communities. On top of all of that, it’s important to take care of our own physical, emotional and mental well-being.
It’s no surprise balance among all these priorities is difficult to achieve, if not impossible. Few of us leave work at the office or forget about our personal lives when we walk out the door in the morning. A high percentage doesn’t take enough vacation time, letting it accrue, in spite of feeling exhausted and desperate for some time off. The fear of letting go of control and the image of the potential disaster awaiting our return seems to outweigh the benefits of relaxation and time away. Most people average between two and six weeks vacation per year with few exceptions; careers last on average 50 years with many exceptions because most people can’t afford to stop working.
A different approach
But here is some information that will surprise you — workplace and business demands far exceed the performance demands placed on professional athletes.
Why? Because the approach they take is holistic. Think about this – professional athletes are perceived as being superbly skilled at what they do, but the reality is they only spend about 10 percent of their time actually engaging in their sport and the other 90 percent of their time training in order to perform. Their entire focus is designed around expanding, sustaining and renewing energy through precise routines and rituals in all areas—eating, sleeping, working out, mental preparation and visualization.
There could be a lesson in this for the rest of us hard-working underachievers. Perhaps it’s time we shifted our own approach to managing our lives. Although it seems counterintuitive, could we reduce stress and burnout by working less and spending more time ‘training’, with the result being increased energy which would lead to being more effective in the hours we spend working?  If we reduced our work hours, could we get more done?
Related Search: Simply More is an Executive Business Coach and Communication Consultant.

The Four Dimensions
There are four dimensions that consistently influence our energy levels—physical, emotional, mental and spiritual. Typically, many of us push hard in one or two of these areas and not hard enough or completely ignore the others.
Just as your car runs more smoothly and requires less energy to go faster and farther when the wheels are in perfect alignment, you perform better when your thoughts, feelings, emotions, goals, and values are in balance. –Brian Tracy
Why not incorporate this ‘training’ into your life by addressing these four areas of your life to build up energy.
A lack of energy is what drags us all down, causing stress and lowering productivity.
For quick energy renewal, try these tips:

  • Stretch at your desk a couple of times
  • Practice relaxation breathing techniques
  • Get outside at least once a day
  • Sit in silence for a few moments each day
  • Laugh as much as possible
  • Be grateful for the big & small things
  • Express your gratitude
  • Reflect on your day: What was your rose?  What was your thorn? What can you do to make tomorrow even more spectacular?

You Can Be Happy Not Matter What by Richard Carlson

  • Stress can be a friend – by letting us know beforehand when we are headed away from happiness, away from clear thinking.


  • Your past, as it actually exists today, is nothing more than the thoughts you have about it.
  • We have choices; in fact, we have a series of “choice points” in any situation.

Excuse Me, Your Life is Waiting by Lynn Grabhorn

  • The art of feeling good is not exactly something at which we are highly accomplished, so the goal is to learn how to do it on the spot.
  • Look for anything within the situation, or in your immediate surroundings, to appreciate or feel good about.

Related Search: Simply More is a Business Consultant in Calgary specializing in executive coaching, team facilitation, and leadership training

Getting from fear of conflict to embracing conflict in the workplace

If you’re in a leadership position, you need to understand conflict and leadership go hand-in-hand. While conflict is a normal part of any organization, the challenge lies in how you choose to deal with it. If you choose to conceal, avoid or otherwise ignore it, conflict will likely fester, creating resentment, withdrawal or  infighting within an organization.
As a leader, the ability to  recognize conflict, understand its nature, and resolve it, will serve you well. Conversely, the inability to do so could be your downfall.
Let’s take a look at conflict and conflict resolution.
Sources of conflict
There are many causes for conflict in any work setting. Some of the primary causes are:

  • Poor Communication: different communication styles can lead to misunderstandings managers and employees, and among employees. Lack of communication drives conflict ‘underground’.
  • Different Values: we all see the world differently. Conflict occurs when there is a lack of acceptance and understanding of these different values.
  • Differing Interests: when individual workers ‘fight’ for their personal goals, ignoring organizational goals and organizational well-being, conflict results.
  • Scarce Resources: when employees feel they have to compete for available resources in order to do their job properly, this can lead to conflict, despite awareness of how scarce resources may be. Personality Clashes: all workplaces are made up of different personality types. Unless colleagues understand and accept different approaches to work and problem-solving, conflict is going to occur.
  • Poor Performance: conflict is inevitable when one or more individuals within a work unit are not performing and this is not addressed.

Related Link: 5 Keys To Dealing With Workplace Conflict
Addressing conflict
How is conflict addressed? Here’s some of the ways people face conflict:

  • Avoidance: ‘hide our head in the sand’—hoping  the problem will go away.
  • Collaboration: work together to find a mutually beneficial solution.
  • Compromise: find the middle ground whereby a ‘little is given and little is gotten’.
  • Competing: ‘hoping the best person wins’.
  • Accommodation: surrendering our own needs and wishes to please the other person.

Collaboration or compromise are believed to be the most productive forms of addressing conflict because there are no winners or losers, but working together for the best possible solution.
Conflict resolution help
Resolving conflict is always the goal. How do you achieve conflict resolution? Here are some tips:

  • Clearly articulate the causes of the conflict. Openly acknowledging there will be differing perceptions of the problem(s).
  • Communicate how you want the conflict resolved.
  • Address the issues face-to-face (email, notes and  memos are not a productive way to resolve differences).
  • Stick to the issues. In trying to resolve conflict, while it is tempting to bring up past issues, it’s not helpful. It is important to address behaviors and situations at hand if change is to happen.
  • Take time out if necessary. In the resolution of a conflict, emotions can interfere with arriving at a productive resolution. If this happens, a time-out can be helpful and resume resolving the conflict at another designated time.

Be proactive
While conflict prevention isn’t always possible, the secret to conflict resolution is to prevent it where possible. By seeking out areas of potential conflict and proactively intervening in a just and decisive fashion, you may be able to prevent certain conflicts from arising. If a conflict does flair up, you may be able to minimize its severity by dealing with it quickly. As a leader, time spent identifying and understanding natural tensions will help to avoid unnecessary conflict.
Look for the opportunity
The potential for a tremendous teaching/learning opportunity lies within virtually every conflict . Where there is disagreement, there is an inherent possibility for growth and development. If you’re a leader who doesn’t leverage conflict for team building and leadership development purposes, you’re missing a great opportunity. Differing positions addressed properly can stimulate innovation and learning in many ways.
Smart leaders look for the upside in all differing opinions. Embracing workplace conflict can benefit your organization tremendously.
Simply More offers Workshops for Conflict Resolution