Handling Crucial Communications With Emotional Wisdom

Aniruddha Panchal

Vice President Human Resource

Huber Group

 

Emotions are the power packets of a human beings. They are a source of motivation that drives people to perform remarkable feats. However, handling emotions has always been a challenging task for most of us.

Have you ever experienced a feeling of guilt and remorse after an emotional outburst? We often wonder what really went wrong within us. Often we find ourselves swept away by our emotions only to realise that we could have handled the situation differently.

As the guru of Emotional Intelligence puts it, this phenomenon is called “The hijacking of Amygdala”.

The routes from sensation to action are depicted in this brain. In a normal situation, the journey begins with sensation, let’s say Vision – which is routed to the thalamus. The thalamus acts as “Air Traffic Controller” to keep the signals moving. In a typical situation, the thalamus directs the impulse to the cortex – in this case the visual cortex, for processing. The cortex “thinks” an exclamation mark! It means I should get excited. That signal is then sent to the amygdala where a flood of peptides and hormones are released to create an emotion and an action.

The routes from sensation to action are depicted in this brain. In a normal situation, the journey begins with sensation, let’s say Vision – which is routed to the thalamus. The thalamus acts as “Air Traffic Controller” to keep the signals moving. In a typical situation, the thalamus directs the impulse to the cortex – in this case the visual cortex, for processing. The cortex “thinks” an exclamation mark! It means I should get excited. That signal is then sent to the amygdala where a flood of peptides and hormones are released to create an emotion and an action.

 

In case of emotional hijacking, the thalamus has a different reaction. Like any skilled traffic controller, the thalamus can quickly react to a potential threat. In such cases, it bypasses the cortex

– the thinking brain, and the signal goes straight to the amygdala. The amygdala can only react based on previously stored pattern. The amygdala is a very primitive part of the brain that is basically designed for survival, rather than problem solving in complex situations. Sometimes this kind of reaction can save our lives, but more often they lead us to say something harmful, to escalate the situation, or even to violence.

Being aware of this, we can follow appropriate strategies to execute emotionally potent, crucial communications. One such strategy is to implement the EDGE model of communication.

The EDGE technique is communicating to team members in a way so that they never get offended even when we communicate the saddest of the news. The EDGE technique describes communicating as:

Expressing Emotion Verbally

Describing Situation Exactly

Giving Consequences Clearly

Expressing Action Clearly

 

APPLICATION OF EDGE MODEL – A CASE

Case Description

Person X in my team has not been demonstrating commitment to work. The performance is less than expected and she seems not to be concerned about it. Being a very old employee, she behaves audaciously and demeans her colleagues.

Expressing the Emotion Verbally ( to be assertive, do not let emotions go away, do not use negative words and focus on putting your point)

I feel very unhappy by the way you have been conducting yourself in the department. Being a senior employee in this department, I feel sad that you are not concerned about the kind of damage that is happening within our department.

Describing the Situation Exactly(Keep cool in unfavourable situation, demonstrate the exact situation so that they are aware of what is going on and what is to be done if adversity occurs) Your dominating and rude behaviour, puts your colleagues on a defensive. They chose to keep silent about things going wrong in the department and off late I have observed a marked decline in the internal customer satisfaction rating. Giving Consequences Clearly(Clearly state the consequences, have alternate ways to tackle adversity, keep precautionary measure if something goes wrong) If you continue to be the way you are, it is going to get a bad name to our department. This shall further adversely affect your performance rating and hence the pay recommendation at the end of the year. Expressing Action Clearly(work towards positive consequences through a clear action plan by best utilisation of workforce) I want you to introspect and correct your conduct in your own interest and in the interest of the department. You should consider evaluating your approach with your colleague during departmental dealings. An empathetic and considerate approach shall benefit all and enhance the departmental performance.

Your dominating and rude behaviour, puts your colleagues on a defensive. They chose to keep silent about things going wrong in the department and off late I have observed a marked decline in the internal customer satisfaction rating.

Giving Consequences Clearly (Clearly state the consequences, have alternate ways to tackle adversity, keep precautionary measure if something goes wrong) If you continue to be the way you are, it is going to get a bad name to our department. This shall further adversely affect your performance rating and hence the pay recommendation at the end of the year.

Expressing Action Clearly (work towards positive consequences through a clear action plan by best utilisation of workforce)

I want you to introspect and correct your conduct in your own interest and in the interest of the department. You should consider evaluating your approach with your colleague during departmental dealings. An empathetic and considerate approach shall benefit all and enhance the departmental performance.

 

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