How Can I Benefit from Emotional Intelligence – Part 3: Motivation

by: Dr. Michael Abelson

“My kid won’t study that class’s materials.  They CAN’T STAND the teacher and that demotivates them.”

“John is a real pain in you know what!  It’s near impossible for me to work with him on projects.”

“Thanks for the invitation, but sorry I have other plans.”  “I’d love to go,” you say to yourself, but you know Sara is going to be there and anywhere she is, you are NOT.

These are examples of how emotions can demotivate or guide our behaviors.  The child won’t study because they dislike the teacher.  A co-worker has a hard time working with John so the co-worker dreads being assigned to a project with John.  You say “no” to our invitation to a party even though you WOULD like to go.  But knowing Sara will be there is a downer for you and significantly decreases your motivation to go.  These are all examples of the third, and very powerful component of Emotional Intelligence (EI), called Motivation.

The examples above show us how people are demotivated by emotions.  The EI component of Motivation can also be a positive energizer.  We all know charismatic leaders who we will follow just because its them, we have confidence in their judgement, and we want them to respect us.  In some cases, we do what the charismatic person requests because honoring their request gives us a good or positive feeling.  Another example, is when we do something for someone we love.  We do what we do, out of love, because we feel good about doing something just for them.

So, the EI component of Motivation can be a negative OR a positive force.  What is your EI Motivation score?  How are you affected by EI Motivation?  How do you react to others in your life as it pertains to your motivation or demotivation.  Those who attend our EI/EQ Certification 1) find out their EI score or their EQ, 2) better understand the EI Motivation component, 3) learn techniques to improve their and other’s Motivation score, and 4) learn how to best control the impact of EI Motivation on themselves and others.  

Let’s look at a few ways to improve your EI Motivation.  In our EI/EQ Certification we will share many more.  One example is when some people have difficulty with conflict.  They ignore making a decision or taking action because they believe taking action will create negative feelings or create more work for them.  One of my favorite techniques to deal with this is to ask “how is NOT taking action and avoiding the conflict working for me.”  Are things getting better, getter worse, or about the same.  Many times things are just getting worse.  In those cases, it’s best to deal with the conflict earlier rather than later before waiting allows the conflict to get much more complicated.  A second technique is to ask yourself, “is your fear true and accurate” or it is something you are just imagining.  Ask a friend, colleague, or significant other their impression of the situation.  Or, even approach the other person in the supposedly conflict relationship, and talk about the situation.  Many times, it’s just your imagination and much less of an issue than you thought.   

A third technique is to think about potential positive outcomes if you deal with the EI Motivation issue.  What are those outcomes and what can be done to increase their likelihood.  Maybe you could do something positive to make the interaction with Sara, at that party mentioned about, more agreeable.  Maybe offer a “peace offering.”  Or, maybe Sara doesn’t decide to come to the party after all, and you have a very positive time at the party.

The EI Motivation component is very powerful.  Those with high EQ Motivation scores use the potential positive aspect of EI Motivation and minimize the impacts of those negative aspects.  Many times they find out the issue is much less intense than they think it is, and the potential negative aspects of the EI Motivation situation never materialize.

© 2024. Michael Abelson (BA, MA, MBA, PhD) founded The Abelson Group in 1986, is Emeritus (retired) from the Management Department at Texas A&M University, and specializes in communications and over a dozen other human resource areas.

He has spoken to over 1000 business and non-business groups on four continents, been quoted by over 100 newspapers, newsletters, and magazines, and authored over 100 articles, books, monographs, and other publications.  He is frequently invited by the media to share opinions and solutions.

Contact him at [email protected] or to invite him to consult, coach, speak, or for a media interview.  

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