Blog Career Advice

Is Your Lack Of Emotional Intelligence Holding You Back At Work?

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Whether you are one of those lucky folks who work in their dream job or one of the 70% of men and women who are currently disengaged, there’s a good chance you want to be successful in your career. If you’re putting in the work and wondering why you’re not getting the returns, it could be because of a bad boss or terrible company culture, or perhaps, it’s something else: A lack of emotional intelligence which is defined as “The capacity to be aware of, control, and express one’s emotions, and to handle interpersonal relationships judiciously and empathetically.”

Showing up on time, cleaning your desk, doing good work and turning in deliverables by their deadlines are obvious daily tasks, but you’re going to have to do better than the basics if you want enough support from your peers to move up or move on to a more appealing position.

Here are six assets you’ll need to bring to the table —daily— if you want to stand out as an all-star.

1 | A great attitude.

We all have “bad days” and feeling overwhelmed and get annoyed at coworkers, but guess what? Adding more negativity into the mix by complaining or stewing in resentment isn’t the way to turn things around. Instead of rolling your eyes at your coworker, bitching about your boss or running to the bathroom to angrily text your best friend, challenge yourself to rise up your leadership potential by staying calm and using proactive, neutral language to your advantage. If that’s too much to ask in the moment, take a deep breath, smile and stay silent. This is a powerful way to draw a quick boundary and will help you stay centered and a great way to protect yourself. The brutal truth is that negativity sticks and can be hard to scrub out of a reputation once it settles. Colleagues may become less transparent and constructive feedback may be overlooked once you’re labeled a complainer.

2 | Initiative

“Don’t ask me before you ask Google.” This is a phrase my staff members and mentees know well — if you don’t know the answer to something, do everything you can to get an idea of what it is before you interrupt someone else to ask for help. While it is easy to pass-the-task, the truth is that a simple search takes a tiny amount of effort, and making that effort shows that you are someone who takes the initiative, respects other people’s time, are willing to do the work and that you’re not entitled or lazy.

3 | A desire to seize every opportunity to show your excellence.

No one does everything right, and the best way to cushion the blow when things go wrong is to have padded up your rep with small successes. Re-read the email before you send it, double check the facts before you share them and always do “a little extra” when you’re given an assignment or asked for a favor. Keep reminding yourself that the biggest wins come from the smallest details- pay attention to the little things, and you’ll stand out quickly.

4| An understanding that everyone plays an important role.

Friendly competition is a great way to stay at the top of your game, but slamming your coworkers’ opinions or behaving like yours is the only one that matters makes you the office jerk. Understand that everyone has different skills to bring to the table and all involved deserve the right to share their expertise.

Listen to your colleagues and respect their right to share their ideas, even if you don’t agree with them. Congratulate others on their successes instead of seeing their win’s as a threat and thank your team when they step up and show you support. These are small gestures that will make a tremendous impact on everyone’s experience in the office and it can make you more successful — no one wants to help out someone who isn’t a team player.

5 | Clear, positive and respectful communication.

No matter what is happening in your day or how much you dislike the man or women across the room, make it a point to communicate like an emotionally intelligent, clear and respectful professional. This starts by bringing awareness to your verbal and digital tone. The reality is that everyone can be clear and concise without being curt, and taking two minutes to look into someone’s eyes while they share their ideas for a project isn’t going to throw anyone’s day off-balance. It’s important to remember that they are, in fact, a colleague and not a forgiving family member (not that you should be rude to them either), and your snappy emails and condescending comments could land you in front of HR. No one wants to walk into a hostile work environment or deal with a bully every day.

6 | The benefit of the doubt

This is a biggie. Instead of assuming your coworkers knows the backstory of your day, the intention behind your emails, or simply doesn’t want to be helpful, take a moment to clarify what you mean and consider how productively you’re approaching the situation. In spite of being on the same team, your colleague may not know all of the details involved in a project or maybe they do but have a lot on their plate and need a little reminder (as we busy humans do). Most people want to do a good job and want to get along with the people they work with and it’s easier to do that when you get to know them as human beings. So instead of jumping to negative conclusions and sending rapid-fire responses from behind a computer screen, walk over to a colleagues desk or pick up the phone once in a while. You might find there is an ally associated with that email address.

What are some other professional traits of emotionally intelligent men and women? share them below!

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