Finding the Balance between the Analytical and Emotional

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Bernie Heine offers advice on balancing analytical and emotional intelligence.

Our Neural Networks Don’t Have to be Rivals.

In times like these, we are all stressed, fearful, and worried for ourselves and others. Our people are concerned about their jobs and providing for their families. More globally, we are all concerned about the nation’s health and well-being. As a manager, you must persevere in managing budgets, sales targets, and the thousands of other decisions that keep your organization alive. All the while, you must attend to the needs, fears, and concerns of your people. It is a precarious balance to strike because the personal and practical sides of every interaction require us to activate distinct parts of our brain.

Sometimes we can get stuck in one or the other neural network, either the practical task-focused side or the other network that helps us reflect, empathize, and build social connections. It is a powerful leadership skill to be able to call on both parts of our brains as needed, to understand your people and their challenges and to relate to their values, attitudes, needs, and expectations.

Good leaders check for understanding of the others’ perspectives and listen empatheticallyGood leaders check for understanding of the others’ perspectives and listen empathetically to their thoughts, feelings, and motivations. Research by Anthony Jack at Case Western Reserve University describes the analytic network (AN), and the empathic network (EN). The AN is needed for the practical side, and the EN is crucial for taking care of the personal side of every interaction.

What we are learning now is that these two networks are mutually exclusive to a large extent. In other words, they actually suppress each other. When one is switched on, the other is off. The researchers contend that good leaders can toggle back and forth between the practical and the personal at electron speed. They also believe that the “toggling” skill can be developed through self-awareness, thoughtful practice, and conscious effort.

 

Key points include:

  • Shifting between the personal and the practical
  • Encouraging engagement
  • Empathetic listening

Read the full article, Balancing Analytical and Emotional Intelligence, on ProfessionalBusinessCoaches.com.