Season 2 Episode 5: Social Regulation DONE DONE DONE
Welcome back to the integrated leader podcast.
We're on a mission to help you transform into a more effective, empathetic and impactful leader, both professionally and personally.
. I'm your host, Lauren Marie and executive coach passionate and helping you unlock your potential.
, in today's episode, we'll be delving into social regulation, a vital aspect of emotional intelligence that can greatly impact our relationships and professional networks from understanding what social regulation is to discussing ways to cultivate it.
We've got you covered, so let's get started.
. So what is social regulation? Social regulation refers to the ability to proficiently manage relationships and build networks. It involves understanding others' emotions, effectively communicating your own and using this knowledge to create healthy and supportive connections.
Social regulation is essential for both personal and professional success as it allows us to navigate complex social situations, collaborate with others, and form meaningful connections. Why do people lack social regulation or how might you know if you lack social regulation? There are several reasons why people may struggle some of the most common include a lack of emotional awareness themselves, which can make it difficult to understand others' emotions, .
Or maybe it's poor communication skills, which can lead to misunderstandings or conflicts. You might have limited social exposure or experiences, maybe an introverted personality or social anxiety, and a history of negative or traumatic experiences in relationships. By identifying the factors contributing to your own challenges with social regulation, you can take the first step toward overcoming them and developing stronger connections.
I'd like to discuss some common reasons for avoiding social regulation. People might avoid working on their own social regulation for various reasons. They might fear rejection or judgment from others. Feel overwhelmed or exhausted by social situations. Be unsure of how to improve their skills or even where to begin or believe they are incapable of change or improvement.
Addressing these concerns can help you embrace social regulation and experience its benefits, such as improved relationships, increased confidence, and enhanced professional opportunities. Cultivating social regulation involves several key steps. First, develop emotional awareness.
If you're just joining us in this podcast season, we encourage you to go back to the beginning with self-awareness, because just like math in elementary school, each of these episodes has been built on the one previous, and so, the first way to develop your own social regulations is by understanding your own emotions and by practicing empathy and active listening.
This will help you better understand other people's perspectives. Next, enhance your communication skills through training, reading, or workshops. Clear and effective communication is really crucial for navigating social situations and resolving conflict. Also seek out diverse social experiences to expand your comfort zone and develop social regulation skills in various contexts.
Establish healthy boundaries and relationships and learn to assert your needs, ensuring that your connections remain supportive and balanced. Practice conflict resolution techniques to navigate disagreements effectively and maintain positive relationships. And finally reflect on your interactions and learn from both success and setbacks using these experiences to inform your future social interactions. Remember, social regulation is a continuous journey that requires patience and commitment. As a leader, you can support others in developing social regulation by creating safe and inclusive environments that encourage open communication and trust.
I'd like to reference our first season of the Integrated Leader Podcast where we talk about psychological safety and trust in the work environment. Provide constructive feedback to help team members , improve their interpersonal skills, and encourage collaboration and team building activities to strengthen relationships.
Offer resources and opportunities for personal and professional growth, such as workshops, training sessions, or mentorship programs. . And most importantly, model effective communication and emotional intelligence yourself. Demonstrating the value of social regulation and inspiring others to follow suit is one way to grow healthy culture in your organization.
By helping others hone their social regulation skills, you can contribute to a more connected and effective team.
[00:04:58] Lauren Marie: So without further ado, let's dive into the conversation with Caleb regarding, social regulation in the framework of emotional intelligence. Caleb, thank you for joining us. Thanks
[00:05:08] Caleb: for having me. It's a pleasure. No, the pleasure's mine. .
[00:05:11] Lauren Marie: This whole episode we've been talking about social regulation, kind of sounds like if you figure this out, you're going to have everything in life.
[00:05:20] Lauren Marie: Yeah.
[00:05:20] Caleb: It almost sounds like you will be able to the world. Yeah. It's like the bit and the horse, right? So you just somehow , you're able to, Tell everyone in the room what to do and how to do. It's like, haha, I've learned how to control everything. Yes,
[00:05:36] Lauren Marie: yes. But that's not really it.
[00:05:38] Lauren Marie: . It is a skill that helps immensely in multiple aspects of life.
[00:05:43] Lauren Marie: A lot of people struggle with this. So if, if someone struggles with social anxiety or feelings of overwhelm in social situations, are there ways to improve and manage that?
[00:05:56] Caleb: Yeah, I think so. I think that first off, being able to, as we've said earlier, find some safe places to learn and understand about your own anxiety and be able to regulate your own internal experience is primary. That's, that's how social regulations starts, is from self-regulation. It all starts from, the place of the leader.
[00:06:22] Caleb: I think . There are three things that come to mind when it comes to how can I work to maintain an environment that we're all moving forward? Cuz that's how I see the social regulation. It's purpose is for us as a team to move forward in a similar direction.
[00:06:41] Caleb: I think the first thing is to name when things are off. I think it sounds almost rudimentary, but if everyone's not going in the same direction, it might be helpful to stop and go. Hmm. , I think we're lost versus the trying to go faster in any direction. Yeah. Uh, that you might be and therefore going, , astray.
[00:07:04] Caleb: , the second thing is I think the leader who is calm and curious gets a lot further. And so the ability to name it, Hey, we're off and what's happening? Tell me what's happening. Where are we missing each other is super important, and to do it in a calm way that.
[00:07:21] Caleb: Is not pejorative or demeaning or punitive, uh, is really, is really important for there to be some movement forward. And I think the third thing is to keep this idea that. The goal is for us to all move forward. It's not about me as the leader winning my way or the group winning their way, or me losing my way, or them losing their way.
[00:07:47] Caleb: It's about how are we. Coming together to move forward in a similar direction. And so I think that that is super important in managing, the anxious feelings that the leader has. Cuz more times than not, if the. Leader is anxious, he's probably feeling some of the anxiety that's in the room with everyone else.
[00:08:11] Caleb: And so you might as well talk about the elephant in the room versus trying to somehow suppress it or crush it by avoidance or bullying or, trying to kind of run over it as
[00:08:25] Lauren Marie: were. So can you role play that for me if, if a leader has not. Been doing that in, in their leadership style?
[00:08:34] Lauren Marie: What is a safe way or an easy way to practice getting into that conversation?
[00:08:40] Caleb: Yeah. I'm a big fan of being super frank and honest, and so if that's the case, then I would coach that leader to say something like normally, I don't ask you guys questions and I'm gonna try something new and we're gonna see how it goes.
[00:09:01] Caleb: And the reason I would say that to that leader is because sometimes leaders will go in and, and try to have the meeting differently and then come back to me and say, Caleb, I tried it and I, I asked questions. And they're not aware that it feels so different to the team. That it's disconcerting actually.
[00:09:22] Caleb: Right? And so being just like super frank and going, I know this isn't how we usually do it. We want to try and do this differently and it's gonna take some time. Is really important. You, you can't undo 10 years of a meeting style in one. And so I think it's the ability to be patient but then I think it's more about being aware of.
[00:09:50] Caleb: Him or herself. And so if they're afraid of something, being able to just name it and be curious and say, , I'm afraid that we're not going in the same direction. And so I'm just kind of curious where you guys are. What direction do you guys want to go in and where does this seem to be bumping up against that?
[00:10:09] Caleb: And just start the conversation in that way.
[00:10:13] Lauren Marie: yeah, that's good. I really like that, , suggestion of being wildly honest. I like the way you started it back even, I know I don't normally do this.
[00:10:23] Lauren Marie: Yes, I'm feeling anxious and instead of ignoring it today, I'd like to ask, is anyone else feeling this way? Mm-hmm.
[00:10:32] Caleb: Yeah. And, and the, the leader's gonna have to be ready for there to be crickets and no one to answer the first 10 meetings when he asks that question.
[00:10:45] Caleb: And then he's gonna have to be persistent and consistent with. That, train of thought before things start, beginning to change too, right.
[00:10:54] Lauren Marie: Are there any exercises or practices that can help me develop? Empathy and active listening skills.
[00:11:01] Caleb: I may sound like a broken record, but empathy is built out of the awareness of self. You can't understand what someone else experiences without having some. Framework and your own experience to work from why? Well, I use this illustration a lot of times, so let's imagine that somehow you lived in.
[00:11:28] Caleb: Sahara Desert. I feel like
[00:11:31] Lauren Marie: I do.
[00:11:32] Caleb: Well, true, but, but you live in a, in a small tribe in the middle of nowhere. And I come and I tried to explain to you what ice cream is. Okay. I'm trying to explain something that's creamy and frozen and sweet.
[00:11:48] Caleb: Mm-hmm. You don't have any idea of what ice cream tastes like? Much less. If I tried to tell you what. The mocha chocolate ice cream tastes like mm-hmm. You're, you're lost. And the same is true for all experience. You have to have some taste of the experience, to have some ability to imagine. But let's say that you've at least had vanilla ice cream, And you've had coffee and you've had chocolate before. Then I tell you about the mocha chocolate ice cream, and you have some idea, even if you haven't tasted it, you have like a cloudy understanding. And so that, that to me is illustration of empathy, requires some picture, some emotional landscape for you to work from to understand the emotional experience of another person.
[00:12:46] Caleb: Okay. I mean, another example would be to try and talk to a 10 year old about what it's like to be 40 year old a a 40 year old, married and having children. They just don't have the context for that. They don't have the experience for it. They can't feel what that would be like. And so empathy is the ability to imagine and sense the experience of another
[00:13:11] Lauren Marie: person.
[00:13:12] Lauren Marie: It almost feels like then, In the world of emotions, you want to be well-traveled because the more well-traveled you are in emotions, the more in depth your experience of others is. I love it.
[00:13:26] Caleb: Exactly. Interesting.
[00:13:28] Lauren Marie: Yeah. I was on TikTok the other day and found a therapist talking. Her image was, Sharpies, she had one person in her right hand that had three colors.
[00:13:41] Lauren Marie: It was red, blue, and black. And then she had someone in the, in the left hand that was, I don't know, 25 colors the colors representing a motion. The 25 colored person is asking their partner for green, but this person with three gives them blue because it's the closest thing they have to green, but that's not what this other person is asking for.
[00:14:04] Lauren Marie: And so there's this. Mis expectations of what each other can give. I thought that was pretty powerful. Yeah, that's great.
[00:14:11] Caleb: I think active listening skills
[00:14:14] Caleb: sometimes is, it is understood as very kind of rote. I hear what you're saying is yada, yada, yada. But I think that deeper active listening is asking the question, what do they want? What are they trying to protect?
[00:14:35] Caleb: Because I think that a lot of
[00:14:37] Caleb: human experience is in those two realms. , so, you know, going back to if, if a employee is coming and saying, Hey, I need more pay, that's on the surface. But what are they trying to protect? What, what is it that they really need? you know, quite honestly, they might not actually want more money.
[00:14:55] Caleb: What they really might want is more say in some things, and so you might save yourself a lot of money by getting at what is it this money really means to them, and what it might mean is what? It gives them a sense that they're worth more at the company and what you could give them is a sense of worth more at the company by taking on a project.
[00:15:19] Caleb: So I think it's the active listening is much more about asking them about who they are, what their dreams are, what their hopes are, and. what they're also trying to protect. What are they trying to keep from
[00:15:33] Lauren Marie: happening? Yeah. So it's not just keeping eye contact and nodding your head as the other person's talking.
[00:15:40] Caleb: No, it's not that at all.
[00:15:42] Lauren Marie: So if. Going back to empathy real quick. , if I do not have experience in the emotion that someone is sharing, what do I do? Or if I don't have a, a framework or a context
[00:15:55] Lauren Marie: to put it.
[00:15:56] Caleb: I think that this is where you need advisors. This is where you need coaches. This may be a therapist, somebody who can come alongside you and help you see what's happening. I mean, I'm just thinking about, the illustration of my wife she was that for me and she was my coach essentially telling me, Hey, I don't know if you're aware of this, but your quick movement to change things is got everybody.
[00:16:26] Caleb: , with their head spinning like that I needed that. I needed someone, and I, I kind of think of myself as a somewhat, uh, you know, emotionally intelligent person, right? But I needed her to help me be aware of it in that moment. And I think we all, and no matter how intelligent we are, we need other people to be able to say, Hey, I don't know if you caught this, but.
[00:16:49] Caleb: I think you came off really angry today, or, I don't know if you know this, but I think the team is really scared about their jobs and whether or not they're going to be here next year. So, so I think you need those people outside of you to help you See,
[00:17:04] Lauren Marie: that's a good idea.
[00:17:05] Lauren Marie: Part of what social regulation is, is being able to resolve conflict. What conflict resolution techniques can we use to navigate disagreements and maintain positive connections with others?
[00:17:19] Caleb: Conflict is not about trying to figure out who's gonna win and who, who's gonna lose, but how we're going to move forward with the people that are here. And so I think that the leader who is able to resolve conflict is not the one who. Makes everybody feel awesome at the end of the meeting. Ironically.
[00:17:41] Caleb: Instead, she's the leader who reminds everybody about the goal. She reminds them about why they're all there, and so it actually is to take out this winning and losing. It's not about Sally and Joe. It's not about whose idea is best. It's about what parts of Joe's thoughts and what parts of Sally's thoughts are important for us to actually move forward.
[00:18:11] Caleb: And it means that as the leader, sometimes you're ma, you're making the decision about which one you're going to do, but it's not about, and I like Joe better. It's about this is a good idea for us to move towards the goal that we're actually trying to all move towards. And so conflict resolution is not about figuring out who wins and who loses.
[00:18:33] Caleb: It's not about making everybody happy. It's about how are you moving forward towards the goal?
[00:18:38] Caleb: Whenever you have conflict, you have a struggle with trust, and so at the core, Being more concerned about the struggle of, , the break in trust versus trying to figure out who's gonna win or lose the argument. Becomes more important because without trust you can't move in the same direction.
[00:19:01] Caleb: And so conflict resolution is about how are we gonna work to trust each other? And sometimes you can figure out ways where the team actually begins to trust each other. There are other times when you can't, and so the team actually has to be broken up. And that doesn't sound real, optimistic.
[00:19:19] Caleb: But I think that if the goal is really clear about where you want this thing to sort of end, then you begin to say, who are the people who can move us in that direction together? and that means how are we gonna work on building some trust here with each other? Because you can have a real contrarian and a real kind of idealistic.
[00:19:41] Caleb: A person who are working on the same team that really want the same goal and they have trust. They're working towards the same thing, maybe in different angles, but if there can be some acceptance of that, you really can't keep moving. That was
[00:19:57] Lauren Marie: beautiful. Well done.
Thank you for joining me today on this journey. And I look forward to continued exploration of emotional intelligence in the coming episodes.
. Remember. Business is personal. So let's be good at it.