Лана Митченко
Программный директор KA Group

“AUGEAN CELLARS” OF CONSCIOUSNESS: non-obvious tools of emotional intelligence in business

"AUGEAN CELLARS" OF CONSCIOUSNESS: non-obvious tools of emotional intelligence in business
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Material prepared in co-authorship:
Mihail Vigdorchik, candidate of medical sciences, ‌ ‌psychologist-psychodiagnostician, ‌ ‌psychoanalyst, ‌ business consultant and Lana Mitchenko, program director of KA Group


In science, there is no concept of “emotional intelligence”, although EQ itself has a very clear and demanded definition. Emotional intelligence (EI) is the ability to understand, recognize, use emotions: both your own and those of others.

The ability to recognize and acknowledge negative and positive emotions, to separate personal perception of reality from obvious facts and, accordingly, to manage one’s own and other people’s emotions.

Simply put, EI is the ability to sensitively and without distortions feel the real situation, to determine and understand the desires of others, to show resistance to stress and the influence of emotional reactions.

EI is built on four drivers – awareness, adequate self-esteem, motivation, adaptability, and each of the components allows you to build your own strategy both in business and in life.


Mindfulness is the ability to be in the moment and live it. When a person does not just succumb to momentary emotions, but understands exactly what he is feeling at a given second and why


If you are a leader, then today you are faced with the task of managing change. Coping with this task means being able to quickly navigate in changing conditions, adequately assess risks and turn problems into goals and opportunities. Considering that business is about technology and psychology, it is impossible to do without emotional intelligence in communication with all stakeholders.




Emotional adulthood distinguishes a person who understands both his strengths and development horizons, and the tactics of action in accordance with the horizons and opportunities. This maturity generates confidence. And it, by the way, has nothing to do with overconfidence or low self-esteem.
Overconfidence should not be confused with experience, competence, and self-sufficiency. Confident people do not find it necessary to boast of importance and exclusivity, even if they have great competence. Such people do not waste time on emphasizing status, self-promotion and dominating their own opinion, even if they are engaged in leadership.

What does excessive self-conceit mean? Most likely, the fact that this person has his own ego is too inflated, and it distorts the understanding of his own and others’ boundaries, constantly “inspires” other people’s boundaries to break.

What’s the biggest self-confidence pitfall? It very clearly outstrips the growth of real abilities, and as a result – pushes even experienced people to make the most ridiculous mistakes.


Statistics show that about 90% of successful business leaders have a well-developed emotional intelligence


People with high EQ also adequately respond to criticism and are able to use it to adjust their lives, business, and team. Such knowledge of oneself – its pluses and minuses – enhances adequacy, which helps to make life plans without distortions.

If you know how to manage your own emotions, it means that you do not allow their destructive influence, you know how to adapt to the environment, while maintaining long-term relationships with people. The pumped-over EQ allows you to communicate transparently and intelligibly, listen to and clearly convey your thoughts, show empathy and not fall for other people’s tricks.



IQ is the ability to solve the volume of tasks per unit of time, the volume of intelligence productivity. Simply put, it is an indicator of how deeply, quickly and at what level of the problem we solve. IQ has a peculiarity: the IQ after 33 years old each year drops by 1% compared to the baseline at its peak. And people with a college degree have a slower IQ drop than people with a secondary education.

What is the correlation? The fact that developed emotional intelligence makes it possible to be aware of a decrease in intelligence and adapt to the situation, while continuing to remain effective. Integrate experience, be balanced, understand yourself better, not waste energy on anxiety and meaningless emotional outbursts of others.

IQ is important for mastering hard-skills – it provides combinatorics, synthesis of thinking, memorization. IQ is important when you have a new situation, you need to get the necessary skills, switch to new operating systems. When adapting your competencies and work experience, you need a well developed EQ.


Emotional intelligence allows you to find and build the right people into the structure or correct people. The wrong tool in the right hands works well and vice versa


The IQ structure also plays a role, which resembles a chamomile: a flower with stamens is the productivity of thinking, petals are functions. These functions are very different for marketers, accountants, salespeople, and financiers. These people think and formulate differently. The greatest brain performance is observed in those who are engaged in finance, numbers.

At the same time, their emotional intelligence suffers: working with digital arrays kills the sensitivity to human material, to which they can formally relate.

As a result, emotional intelligence is a kind of air cushion that will keep a person “afloat” in any situation. It helps to activate your resources as much as possible in the event of a life crisis, to set up a system of trusting and open relationships with people around you, and to avoid the harmful effects of stress.



Our personality is heterogeneous, so we build communication on three levels.

Declarative. The uppermost one is the level at which we communicate with new and unfamiliar people (casual contacts, quick acquaintance, superficial conversations).

Subjectively experienced – the level of communication with family and friends. They know us well, they can describe us by key characteristics, they know what we like and what we don’t, they can predict our behavior, and we talk with them on different and rather deep topics.

The third level is unconscious. The level at which we do not always understand our personal qualities, here are our unconscious motives. Our demonstrated behavior with both close and unfamiliar people is just a wrapper, and the “candy” itself is at this third level. It is our “basement of personality”.


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Each of us has such a “basement” – our unconscious level. It is difficult to see there, it is illuminated by a light bulb of only 15 watts. There are shelves on which “canned jars” are placed. Among these cans there are signed – “offense”, “fear”. Specific events that have taken place are “mothballed” in them. And there are jars, on which there are no longer inscriptions, they have got “mold”. Some of the cans exploded, and their foul-smelling contents spilled over the basement.

All unedited, “conserved” events are our griefs, resentments, fears that we have not been able to pour out with emotion, live, feel, speak. We did not extract them from ourselves, but “closed” them and let them down into the basement of the unconscious.

“Smells” coming from the basement – our unlived emotions – constantly come out of the depths, are felt and affect what we do. These frustrating elements arise in our childhood and continue to direct us to where we can react to them again and again. To make our life easier, we spend energy to ensure that the “jars” do not explode, and the door to the basement is closed as tightly as possible.

When we have such a functioning “basement”, its smell begins to penetrate into the structure of the personality – our Ego. We begin to act, to achieve the goal, the result, and suddenly we realize that we can achieve the goal, but… we do not want to. Why?



"AUGEAN CELLARS" OF CONSCIOUSNESS: non-obvious tools of emotional intelligence in business
Clean Augean stables in one day. 12 Works / alamy.com


Because, for example, our leader is similar in his demeanor to our oppressive father, and the employee is similar to an older brother with whom we did not have the best relations. We consciously convince ourselves that this is not so, but we are unable to act on our inner resistance – we cannot separate the conscious from the unconscious.

It is worse when a person with such a “basement” of the unconscious becomes a leader and understands: at last I have gained power, I can order myself and others, control the future of people. Internally, he voices: now I can take revenge on everyone for all the insults, and take revenge on the people in the team who have nothing to do with childhood insults.

We all have such “basements”. Implementing projects in business, we seem to find ourselves in a vice: we need to comply, to realize other people’s fantasies, someone else’s vision, and we have plenty of our own fantasies. The problem is that we can hardly tell you directly which part of the work evokes which emotions.

The issues of values ​​and purpose are very personal concepts, it is difficult to discuss them with anyone, moreover, we cannot always be fully aware of these things. And here the developed emotional intelligence of the leader manifests itself – to pay attention in time when a person’s eyes light up, and to build relationships – to make sure that the eyes burn in the right direction and do not “water” from the aromas of a personal “basement”. After all, what people have a genuine interest in, the joy that drives them, they do at the highest level.



Some believe that we are born with emotional intelligence, others – that it arises already in the process of growing up, communication, learning. In fact, we are born with the initial level of the emotional sphere – we do not have emotional intelligence from birth.

Emotional intelligence crystallizes through experience. It fits into the structure of our personality, like a rider on a horse. Both the rider and the horse need to be taken care of if you want to keep going in the right direction as long as possible.


To do this, you need to assess the scale of your “basement”. The more cans it contains, the more extensive cleaning should be – work on mental hygiene, a deep rethinking


Today, many leaders, having experienced serious difficulties in business, instead of “cleaning basements” – working with expert psychologists, coaches – seek to get another education. In the fight against ourselves, we are invincible. We will not develop the emotional intelligence necessary for communication and interaction while our “basement” is filled with problems. We bring these problems into the business, we spread them like a virus, which makes our business less effective.

For example, the desire of a leader to become too empathic to win over the team can play a cruel joke on him. An overabundance of emotions for the male Ego is like rust for iron, which provokes emotional swings and instability of goals. The company, instead of the level of efficiency in the market, begins to show inhibition due to the uncertainty of the leader or the “undercover” struggle of ambitions within.

Sometimes leaders with not very well developed emotional intelligence develop “gray cardinals” in the team who control the climate and emotions in the company, influencing its performance.

For example, an employee whose opinion was listened to, because of the life situation, began to see everything in a negative light, fell into a decadent state, which he generously shared with colleagues. As soon as the head left the office for at least a couple of hours, the negativist stood on an imaginary podium and broadcast his vision to all employees. Such situation led to general apathy and, as a consequence, to a drop in efficiency.

Also, when choosing people, it is better to use not intuition, but selection methods built on the canons of emotional intelligence, which give an objective characterization. Agree, if the interview were as effective as possible, there would be no selection tools.

It is important for you to know not only what is the potential of a person at the entrance to the team, but also what is in his “basement”. It is dangerous to hire people who have gambling, waste, gaming addiction, debts and large loans lurking in their “basements”. These instability factors leave specific imprints – pits within the personality, where all your efforts to increase engagement and performance will probably fall.



What is Leadership? It is a phenomenal property to achieve your goals using the resource of others. Ability and inclination to control the future of others. Therefore, a leader needs an environment that gives him the opportunity to show his qualities, compatibility and mutual exchange.

Emotional intelligence as a tool in team management provides the main understanding: a team, from a biological point of view, is a structured flock, a group of heterogeneous people that works according to the Pareto law.

Yes, yes, the same 80/20. 20% of the team will do 80% of the total workload. As strange as it may sound, but this is the law of the balance of the group, in which there should be players of all levels – A, B, C, that is, workaholics and “stars”, neutral, and “underdogs”.

For example, “stars” do not work in full force – they have a different function. A star is a halo around a person. Remember the hero-hunter from the play An Ordinary Miracle by Evgeny Schwartz, who killed 99 bears, dreams of killing the hundredth, but does not shoot. Why? It’s scary to miss. “Stars” are based on past merits. They are filled with inflation, bloated, they do not show results, but … they can tell, advise on how to reach the “star” level.

Workaholics – the “wet dream” of all executives – need constant motivation and nurturing conditions in which they will not “burn out” to ashes. “Underfogs” are also needed – they are “scapegoats”, those on whom the nagative is poured. Losers – as a rule, are infantile and do not know how to plan, but they perfectly set off the talents of the “stars” and the tenacity of workaholics.

“Rough diamonds” – everyone knows, they can, but they don’t do anything – they are needed to inspire and increase the degree of creativity. It is worth “cleaning” the team and stopping some of the unproductive employees in it, and after a while the laws of the group will put everything in its place (hello, Pareto!).

Emotional intelligence is not a panacea for all challenges, but it will be an excellent guide for getting out of the most difficult situations and the guardian of your adequacy in the inevitable changes.


In partnership with KA Group


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