Today I attended a very informative workshop: “ Emotional Intelligence & Diversity for Keeping Your Cool When Dealing with Hot Issues”, sponsored by Diversity Leadership Association of Phoenix. I am always open to learning additional insight even on topics that I feel I know how to handle. In this case I took a half of vacation day to attend so that I could obtain information about bringing helpful information to my workplace. I belong to few diversity associations at work but it is all on a voluntary basis. The workshop was given by Lee Gardenswartz, Ph.D. and Anita Rowe, Ph.D., partners in Gardenswartz & Rowe and the Emotional Intelligence and Diversity Institute. Lee and Anita worked with several organizations, in addition to co-authoring a series of books. Their websites: www.gardenswartzrowe.com and www.eidi-results.org.
Before the seminar started, I decided to walk over to one of the presenters and ask if there is an opportunity to bring them to my workplace for a possible learning session. After a couple of sentences, Anita asked me where I was from. To my excitement, I learned that both of us come from the same cultural background. She spoke my native language – her grandmother taught her. I was really impressed and overjoyed. I can’t wait for her to return to Phoenix so that we can have “chevapi”. I truly enjoyed meeting Lee as well, in addition to the ladies on my table. The lady that sat next to me and was my partner for the day in doing the exercises was delightful Sherry Anshara. Sherry authored several books, but also is a Founder and President of Quantum Pathic Center of Consciousness. On first Wednesday of each month, she offers a free introduction to the Quantumpathic energy method at her Scottsdale studio. Her website: www.quantumpathic.com.
What are some of my takeaways? When you are dealing with difficult people, do not mirror their behavior. For emotionally charged situation, stopping and analyzing first makes a difference. Ask yourself what else this could mean? When someone pushes your button it means your deep need or value is pushed. Get facts before you make assumptions. Help people see the issue differently. Describe your interpretation, describe feelings and reactions you have then explain what you need from the other person. I learned that a trigger for anger is an “unmet expectation”. Anger is self-talk in your head. So reframe your negative self- talk. Ineffective self-talk is: Irrational, Exaggerated, and Defeating. Effective self-talk is Rational, Realistic, and Empowering.
A very interesting quote was given from book, “Managing With the Brain in Mind” by David Rock: “…the feeling of being excluded provoked the same sort of reaction in the brain that physical pain might cause”. As it was stated at the seminar, “Diversity is much more than race and gender. It includes aspects such as education, field of work, marital and parental status and thinking style”. We have differences in values and opinions , but need to respect and acknowledge each other’s differences.
Empathy always played a great role in my personal self-governance. Now that I heard that empathy reduces anxiety, it makes me even more proud that it is such a big part of who I am. Just as Anita and Lee presented, showing empathy means listening not just to the words, but to the underlying feelings. And something that might be tough for many of us, they suggested: “Use non-blaming “I” statements to give your reactions” and “If it’s different behavior you desire, let people know what you do and don’t want”.