Each week, ICBA’s Jordan Bateman reflects on what we’ve learned as we participate in ICBA’s Workplace Wellness Program. This program is free for all ICBA members – check out icba.ca/wellness for details. 

After two weeks off, I arrived at our new office to find some ICBA Wellness swag put together by our Wellness champions Mina, Kerry and Jenny — including a towel, water bottle and (best of all!) some dark chocolate. It was a nice touch as we moved into our third month in the program, looking at emotional intelligence. 

There are five elements of emotional intelligence: self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy, and social skills. 

I recently ran across this quote from Mr. Rogers, and it really stuck out to me: 

“Part of the problem with the word ‘disabilities’ is that it immediately suggests an inability to see or hear or walk or do other things that many of us take for granted. But what of people who can’t feel? Or talk about their feelings? Or manage their feelings in constructive ways? What of people who aren’t able to form close and strong relationships? And people who cannot find fulfillment in their lives, or those who have lost hope, who live in disappointment and bitterness and find in life no joy, no love? These, it seems to me, are the real disabilities.” 

Isn’t this the core need for emotional intelligence? 

Today, I’m pondering the two “selfies” in how we define emotional intelligence – self-awareness and self-regulation. Self-aware people know how they feel, and know how their emotions and actions affect the people around them. I think we are all growing in this; how many times have you been upset with someone and then later traced it back to emotion you had about something else? A bad day at work spills over at home?  

That leads into self-regulation. Being aware of what you’re feeling and then governing yourself appropriately. Self-regulating people rarely verbally attack others, make rushed or emotional decisions, stereotype people, or compromise their values. 

In other words, they’re a little like Mr. Rogers! Extending grace to themselves and others, because they are connected to the emotions that are driving them. (Side note: if you’ve never seen the Tom Hanks film It’s a Beautiful Day in the Neighbourhood, find it and watch it. It’s outstanding, and you’ll see why so many people have affection for Mr. Rogers.) 

ICBA’s Workplace Wellness Program is helping more than 50 companies, and thousands of construction professionals, better understand mental health. The program is free for ICBA members — see icba.ca/wellness.