Excerpt from our Diploma of Leadership and Management program

Documenting behaviours

To analyse emotional behaviours, collecting and recording your data accurately is essential. It is difficult to recall subtle emotional behaviours accurately more than 60 minutes after they are displayed as your own emotions will colour the real events. There are two main ways of recording emotional behaviours in a workplace:

  • Journaling
  • Audio diaries

A simple journal (such as a notebook) can be used to capture interactions with others for later analysis and review. A typical layout for this type of record should include:

  • Time of event
  • Brief objective description of behaviours observed
  • Subjective review of the emotions experienced by each person
  • Analysis – by asking why each behaviour and emotion is likely to have occurred.

Keeping a journal like this over a period of 2 to 4 weeks will provide you with ample data to review. The review process should be conducted with the outlook of helping you develop behaviours that result in better emotional and performance outcomes for you and your colleagues.

A 2019 study of 48 nurses in the US who recorded audio diaries of their emotional experiences each day were encouraged to make unfiltered remarks and record levels of emotional states rather than express exact emotions. For example, an A would represent a great experience, and an F would represent a negative experience. The design of how you might utilise an audio diary will depend on your circumstances. But the ease of recording your own voice shortly after experiencing an emotional event has its benefits.

Using the right language to record your emotions

Psychologists generally agree that humans have about six to eight core emotions. These are:

  1. Sad
  2. Happy
  3. Disgusted
  4. Angry
  5. Surprised
  6. Fearful

Or on a scale between:

  • joy and sadness
  • acceptance and disgust
  • fear and anger
  • surprise and anticipation

Helpful tools such as ‘emotion wheels’ – which are available via an online search – can help you to discern emotions more clearly by giving you words to describe them. Putting that into practice will improve your emotional vocabulary and help you to better understand the real emotions of any given situation.

We have developed a journal as part of the assessment to record, analyse and review your emotional performance over time. This tool has been an integral conduit to improved EI and performance within workplaces and social environments.

Taking regular account of your emotional states, their implications and outcomes, is the proven method for making improvements and getting better results.