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Examples of Reptilian Behavior in the Workplace
By Susan Dunn

The reptilian brain, our oldest brain, operates at the level of survival instinct. It's the life of easy choices -- Can I eat it? Will it eat me? Can I mate with it?

This brain regulates basic life functions, generates strong primitive emotions needed for survival (lust, fear, aggression), doesn't take orders, and is so far away from "executive central" (the neocortex) it doesn't even know we have one. It is also the seat of addiction. Unmanaged it results in "poor judgment," so increase your awareness and EQ to learn how to incorporate this vital but sometimes troublesome source of knowledge into your life.

1. Hitting your partner instead of hitting the in-box.

EQ means knowing how to manage your anger and the anger of others.

2. Banging the law clerk instead of banging the gavel.

Sex is great at the right time, with the right person and this rarely applies to the workplace. Hire the best candidate, not the spandex mini.

3. Stealing from the staff lounge refrigerator instead of stealing the competitive edge.

Hunger is a basic instinct, but stealing is stealing and this issue is a major cause of daily stress in many offices.

4. Defending your turf instead of defending the merits of your proposal.

Choose the alternative that will bring results, not the one your ego's riding on.

5. Losing a client or sale because you "lose it".

Pain, physical and emotional, can also cause us to do things "without thinking."

6. Firing a good worker because you're "on fire".

The office thermostat causes a lot of stress in offices. When it gets too hot, we get groggy, then prone to anger and violence.

7. Freezing in the middle of your keynote speech.

The brain can't differentiate between what's real and not real. Speaking isn't life-threatening. It isn't even dangerous, but many of us act as if it were.

8. Pounding your chest instead of pounding the pavement.

Posturing rarely gets you what you want. Instead of bellowing, strutting and bluffing, try honest communication and empathy.

9. Snoozing and losing.

Sleep is primal; get enough or you'll be dosing off in meetings.

10. Shooting up instead of shooting up the corporate ladder.

Addictions reside in the reptilian brain. Please get help if you need to. Passing out at the client-company picnic will ruin your career, and alcohol will ruin your life.

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Susan Dunn, The EQ Coach, offers positive psychology coaching and Internet courses in emotional intelligence, optimism, strengths and resilience. She has EQ products available for licensing for individuals and businesses. She is the author of numerous ebooks, is widely published on the Internet, and a regular speaker for cruise lines.

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