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.

Our Wellness materials this month is looking at Emotional Intelligence, one of the underrated building blocks of mental health. Without knowing how and why we feel the way do, it’s hard to manage our reactions and responses to various challenges.

Our Communications Manager, Jonathan McGill, has a little sticker in his office that says something along the lines of: “You don’t know what kind of day the person on the other end of the phone is having.” Basically, it’s a reminder that our own pressures and feelings do not exist in a vacuum—other people have stress, emotions and their own challenges.

We can’t control other people’s words or actions, but we can manage our responses to them. This week’s Toolbox Talk notes that it takes time, understanding and practice to identify our own – and other people’s – emotions, and manage or respond to them in the right way. A few pointers:

  • Give constructive feedback rather than criticism
  • Stay calm under pressure
  • Help to resolve conflicts between others
  • Speak up about important issues
  • Genuinely listen to others

Emotional intelligence isn’t built overnight, and everyone has bad days, but it’s a crucial skill in collaborative workplaces.

ICBA’s Workplace Wellness Program is helping more than 75 companies and 7,000+ construction professionals better understand mental health. The program is free for ICBA members — see icba.ca/wellness.