Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Anger, and how to be Intelligent about this and other Emotions

Customers can be angry because someone cut them off on the freeway on their way to your business, because they had a fight with their significant other, or just because they just are ticked off for no particular reason.

To get an overview of what anger is, visit this page from the website of the American Psychological Association: Controlling Anger -- Before It Controls You

Also, there’s something called Emotional Intelligence (EI), a concept that has some advocates –such as David Goleman, author of the 1995 book Emotional Intelligence- and quite a few detractors. Most of the discussion is about the scientific validity of Goleman’s work. To give you an idea about the extent of the contest, the neutrality of the article in Wikipedia about EI is currently being disputed.

Here are some “copy/pasted” parts from the Wikipedia's article:

John D. Mayer and Peter Salovey introduced the term [Emotional Intelligence] to psychology in a series of papers. They suggested that the capacity to perceive and understand emotions defined a new intelligence. The Mayer-Salovey model defines emotional intelligence as the capacity to understand emotional information and to reason with emotions. More specifically, they divide emotional intelligence abilities into four areas -- in their four branch model:

  1. the capacity to accurately perceive emotions
  2. the capacity to use emotions to facilitate thinking
  3. the capacity to understand emotional meanings
  4. the capacity to manage emotions


[David] Goleman divides up emotional intelligence into the following five emotional competencies:

To identify and name one's emotional states and to understand the link between emotions, thought and action

  • To manage one's emotional states — to control emotions or to shift undesirable emotional states to more adequate ones
  • To enter into emotional states associated with a drive to achieve and be successful
  • To read, be sensitive to and influence other people's emotions
  • To enter and sustain satisfactory interpersonal relationships

Debate aside, there are many things we can learn from EI. The main one is the possibility of managing our own emotions, particularly those ones that may tarnish our relationship with customers.

Just remember. It's not personal.

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