Interviews with Bobi Seredich: Emotional Intelligence Core Competencies and Practice Tools

What Are Some of the EI Core Competencies?

In the training programs that we deliver, there are some core competencies that make up emotional intelligence. And so those core competencies fall under, basically your self-awareness, then your emotional management, and then your emotional connections to other people. And we have a tool set called Emotional Intelligence or “EI competency cards”. So they list the competency on the front, and they have a tool and a way for you to approach that more effectively.

So the emotional or self-awareness, competencies are your self-awareness, your level of self-esteem, which I find is probably a key indicator in all the coaching work I’ve done, where I really get to know leaders closer, that self-esteem really holds people back. It’s amazing how the negative self-talk really sabotages your best performance when other people don’t even think that about you. So from that foundational level, the self-awareness, components of that the competencies are made up of:

  • Your ability to have good self-esteem
  • Your emotional self-awareness
  • Your ability to have optimism that you can overcome setbacks, that’s another part of that foundational level of self-awareness.
  • And then your emotional management is your adaptability, flexibility, your ability to be an authentic leader and to really be vulnerable. I mean, that’s a key component of a great leader is for them to be okay, every once in a while saying, I don’t know.

So your ability to be authentic to your adaptability, flexibility– Oh, your impulse control, I think that’s a big one, it’s a challenge for me. So your ability to not– I think it’s part of my Italian background, my mom’s 100% Italian, my dad was Russian. So we definitely don’t have any tempers on that side of the family. That’s why I’m in Emotional Intelligence just to help my family out at Christmas.

But basically, your ability to have impulse control. So that’s not just– I’m not talking about online shopping at midnight, but I’m talking about the ability to not say something that you might regret or do something or respond, you know, just right off the cuff, to kind of sit back and think about what you’re going to say before you react. And then your emotional connections to other people are your levels of empathy, your coaching other people, your good listening skills. 

So that all has to deal with Emotional Intelligence, breaking it down to those core competencies, and then looking at individuals and where they can practice some new tools? So do they need to practice on being a better communicator? Do they need some tools around coaching other people? Do they need to look at their level of optimism? Is that what’s holding them back? Do they need to be more self-aware? And then different organizations value certain competencies? So I think that’s a key component. We’ve done some work with the US Navy, for example, in the past, and adaptability and flexibility is a key component of being successful in the Navy, which I think we would understand why.

What Other Follow up Practice Tools Do You Teach or Recommend?

Yes, and if you have children, there’s plenty of practice opportunity if you’re in a long term relationship, you know, another EI tool is to let go of the need to be right, in order to have the relationship, which I think if you’ve been in any long term relationship. 

If you’re 100% right, I don’t know how you’re lasting, or it’s not real. But some practical tools that I do, teach people are basic, it’s just that people forget to do them. And so like a self-regulation tool that we teach, is just to stop and breathe, and ask questions. Because we know when you’re emotionally charged, the captain of your ship is no longer your thinking brain, your neocortex, it’s your emotional brain, your amygdala. And so it kind of throws that captain of your ship, the neocortex overboard and starts driving your ship, maybe in a direction you weren’t planning on going. And so the idea is that we know that oxygen and blood flow is all moving south in your body. But you’ve got to bring that back up to your thinking brain so that you can engage more effectively. So you can communicate, and really have your whole thinking brain involved. And when you’re emotionally triggered, we kind of call it that Homer Simpson brain, it’s called that that chemically induced state of dumb, like, you literally can’t think clearly, you’re like, oh, I should have said this later, I could have done this, but at the time, you just don’t have it. And so you may end up saying something you regret. And so a basic tool that we teach people is to stop, breathe and ask questions.

I’m talking about those deep belly breaths. So just stop. And then, you know, just even take three breaths to yourself. And another tool, if you’re in a room is to even focus on an object and count that objects. So at least you’re able to self soothe a little you’re breathing, getting the oxygen back up to your thinking brain, and then make sure that you ask some questions. So you know, whether was that my perception of what happened? Or was that reality? Did that person mean to do that? Or was that the result of our interaction with each other?

From a basic level, I always tell people, we’ve got to practice deep breathing exercises. So whether it’s mindfulness or meditation, or whatever you want to call it, you’ve got to create new healthy habits that when you’re emotionally triggered, then you have that new healthy habit. That’s already part of your system so you can engage in that breathing exercise quicker and overcome an emotional trigger.