skip to main content

Show notes: Episode 12, Impulse Control

David and Kim talk about Impulse Control, on EQ and You

Join Kim and David for a conversation about impulse control. Impulse control is the second competency in the Decision Making composite. This is the eleventh broadcast in our fifteen part series on EI.

Here are some notes and links from the show. Please join us in two weeks on Friday, January 1st at 9:30AM Pacific, for our next broadcast on Impulse Control. Need a reminder? You can subscribe to our EQ and You reminders.


Impulse Control is the ability to resist or delay an impulse, drive or temptation to act and involves avoiding rash behaviors and decision making.

The EQ Edge: Emotional Intelligence and Your Success, by Steven J. Stein, Howard Book

The Other Kind of Smart: Simple Ways to Boost Your Emotional Intelligence for Greater Personal Effectiveness and Success, by Harvey Deutschendorf

19 Reasons Why Willpower Fails You, And What To Do About It

Emotional Intelligence in Action: Training and Coaching Activities for Leaders, Managers, and Teams, by Marcia Hughes, James Bradford Terrell

JOMO! by Anil Dash


Partial Show notes

0:00 Introduction, by David
0:50 David: A personal example of impulse control is the difficulty for me to control the impulse to talk at length about everything I know about Impulse Control! And so impulse control is a critical aspect of healthy conversation. If we don’t control our impulse to state our opinions, or argue for our position, then we’ll miss the opportunity to understand someone else, and to have a dialogue…
2:00 Kim: Our intention with these shows is to have dialogue, and so it’s interesting [laughs] that we haven’t always exhibited dialogue… it’s both humorous and enlightening… I visualize a little biplane with a banner that says “Kim, what is your intent?” and then another biplane following behind it that says, “Kim, what is your impact so far?”
4:00 David: We really have to set aside our ego and agenda. That’s what makes you such a good listener, Kim… if we’re steamrolling our agenda, if we’re not controlling our impulses and letting them drive our action, then we’re missing out on information and we’re missing an opportunity for understanding…
6:00 Kim: Yes, and listening is listening and watching and being attuned to someone’s whole being. I watch posture and movement, and eyes, so I can see someone glaze over, and know that the deep listening is over. At that point, I sometimes just ask them where they’re at or if there’s something going on for them… it can take assertiveness and also controlling the impulse to jump to conclusions about what is going on for them…
7:30 David: Yeah, and you’ll see other human resources language like regulation or self-management. We like impulse control because it’s a concrete, discrete skill… impulse control is a critical competency to effectiveness and being present, and signalling to people that what they have to say is important…
9:00 Kim: Yes, and curiosity is at the heart of this – deep curiousity… if our default is just preparing our next soundbite or argument, then we’re not being curious. We’re not listening.
10:30 David: [Laughs] I’m just curious, Kim, if you experience people lacking impulse control and checking their devices, Facebook and Twitter and email, and not being present?
11:00 Kim: [Laughs] Yes! This happens in our culture! These little devices have become an ever present part of our culture and interactions… but having the impulse is an opportunity. If we say yes to our device, we’re saying no to being present with the person we’re with…
12:00 David: I’m laughing because this is so common, and I’m guilty of this myself. There’s this idea of FOMO, fear of missing out. But when we take up the opportunity of “missing out” we can have JOMO… when we manage our impulse and resist opening up our phone or device, we signal to people that they’re important to you and there are opportunities here for joy and connection.
14:00 Kim: There’s an opportunity for the person who is not pulling out their device, to draw attention to the phenomenon and using their assertiveness skills…
15:00 David: …and sometimes we can be open to giving in to our impulses and this can be enlightening and interesting…
16:00 Kim: …like blurting out something but prefacing it with, “I’m going to blurt something”… it’s balance and flow.
16:30 David: We don’t always recognize impulse control. Procrastination, for example, is very connected to impulse control. Self-discipline and impulse control are very connected. For the day to go as we want, we need to be disciplined… and this requires that we are self-aware and thoughtful about our interests and future interests… I can, personally, be very distracted from my goals. Working on my impulse control is a daily exercise.

19:00 Kim: Emotional intelligence growth has no end point. We’re all continuous works in progress. I like to ask myself at the end of the day, “when was I impulsive today? What was I feeling? How did I manage those moments? What were the impacts?”
21:00 David: So, understanding what are impulses for you, and understanding what control looks like to achieve your goals. And asking what is the impact? What is the balance between control, self-discipline, patience and giving in to those. It’s very personal and very individual.
21:45 Kim: And asking what are my goals, but also what are my values? Key!
22:30 David: We are moving towards a world of greater collaboration, not less. The present and future of work is about connecting and collaborating. Synergy is still a thing. And we need to stay connected and be present to maximize synergy… effective relationships require that individuals exercise impulse control… and staying in alignment with our values requires impulse control…
24:10 Kim: I love how you’ve woven a number of competencies together. We try to focus on an individual competency, but we’re also having to see them woven together. We can occasionally zero in on a competency, and then notice how it fits together with others. It’s heightened self-awareness.
25:00 David: Questions to ask ourselves: am I a good conversation partner? am I patient enough? too patient? how are my days going? am I focussed on my goals? am I being tactical about my impulse management? These can be hard questions for those of us who like shiny things! [laughter]
27:00 Kim: It occurs to me to mention that the EQ Edge, third edition, by Stein and Book, is a valuable resource… it devotes a chapter to every competency.
28:00 David: Stay in touch and be well everyone…
29:00 Kim: …signing off …

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Know. Engage. Lead.

We provide training, assessment and coaching for managers and leaders who want to improve team functioning, work effectiveness and profits.

Get training