Have you ever witnessed or experienced ‘road rage’ – episode of sudden spiked-anger a person exhibits due to some action of a fellow driver on the road. In most case, you would find that people’s reaction is ‘out of proportion’. While there are multiple angles involved in the phenomenon (like territoriality), one important reason behind vehemence of reaction is that we – the civilized people – are sitting on pile of ‘repressed emotional content’ which is ever-in-waiting for an excuse to make an exit.
Well, you might be wondering what’s the topical relevance of all this. You know what! The same concept is at work when it comes to discussing an important matter like ‘conveying a decision’. Often, when people declare without discussing, the suddenness of the event invokes a reaction similar to road rage (even if people do not let it manifest with same intensity). And what’s the outcome? Resentment, conflict, and retaliation. Before we discuss this point in details, watch this video to get the gist of what we are discussing, why it is important, and how it is relevant in professional and personal context…
Yes, it’s good to discuss before you declare. In other words, being open in approach is possible only when you don’t see a dead-end at the bend of the road. Receptiveness is a conditional quality. And the best way to discuss-debate on a point is to keep the beginning open-ended and then gradually narrowing to reach a deduction. You can’t announce something and then try to deliberate on it, because if you will begin with the end, then it is the end of the beginning. Well, like for any behavior, the root of this point lies in neuroscience.
If we will look at our brain then we will find that conceptually, we have not one but three brains. These three brains are built one over another in the form of layers. The lowest one brain-1 ensures functions related to survival, the middle one brain-2 is the center of emotions, and the uppermost brain-3 is where the intelligence comes from. Our self-control, our analytical ability, our patience, everything comes from the top front portion of the brain called prefrontal cortex. Our prefrontal cortex is only 20% of the total brain volume and usually it has to work with interference of the impulses coming from the lower layers.
That’s why functions related to prefrontal cortex are very energy-hungry. And if a strong emotional response gets activated in a person’s brain, these bottom-up impulses get even more intense, and then the prefrontal cortex finds it even more difficult to analyze. To acknowledge this and do the needful, social & emotional intelligence is needed. This ‘emotional & social intelligence’ is about one’s understanding of the structure and functioning of human brain, and how they affect our behaviors and choices.
This confluence of neuroscience and psychology builds the base for developing emotional & social intelligence – the skill of managing self and connecting with others. Yes, this foundational skill of all intrapersonal & interpersonal skills can be learnt, practiced and mastered. However, it all begins with some important realizations like…“It is good to discuss before you declare”.
Dr. Sandeep Atre
‘Emotional & Social Intelligence’ Expert
Founder – Socialigence
Note: Socialigence (www.socialigence.net) offers self-paced video-based online course on ‘Social & Emotional Intelligence’ with content that has relevance across the globe, and delivery specifically customized according to the work-scenarios in India.