Julie came barging into her manager’s office. “OMG – we have a crisis. The customer at the counter is very upset and I don’t know what to do?”
How could you help Julie if you were the manager?
Julie’s emotional brain is racing! Her amygdala has drawn oxygen from the thinking part of her brain to fuel the flight/fight response. Because of this she has limited ability to be calm and rational.
In this situation you need to slow things down.
First of all take a few deep breathes yourself. Julie’s sudden burst of emotion has probably made you a bit jumpy: acknowledge that to yourself, without being self-critical or critical of Julie. Then pause. Let Julie know you can see she is worried about the customer: acknowledge her feelings, again without being critical.
Then say something like:
- Tell me what’s happened.
- What do we need to do?
- Should I go and see the customer or can you manage?
When situations get emotionally charged the best thing to do is slow everything down. Take a few moments to think and act deliberately. This is one aspect of emotional intelligence everyone can learn.