Self-awareness, empathic concern, relational competence, and ability to “fit” within teams comprise EQ. Traits that should be part of our everyday repertoire appear as mere “flashes in the pan” that we retrieve to show off for our bosses. How do we act when we are stuck in traffic, caught unexpectedly in a queue, angry, or on a slow boil to self-righteous outrage or frustration? Can we keep ourselves in check when circumstances challenge our better nature? The acid test of EQ occurs in tense conflict, when someone has ruffled our feathers or stepped on our toes. Can we refrain from bombastic, unreasonable demands that destroy our relationship? Short fuse occurs in a split second, before our rational “thinking” brains have a chance to intervene. Guardians of EQ in their homes/companies have a responsibility to exhibit the following:
Perspective taking. Some people are blissfully unaware of how others perceive them. If you cannot decipher your outcome in someone else’s mental calculus, why not ask? Jack Canfield suggests querying coworkers (and loved ones) regarding where we fall on a scale of 1-10, using their feedback to attenuate the gap. Similarly, Dorie Clark explains that a group of trusted friends/colleagues can help us to see our blind spots clearly. The trouble is that so many are doggedly focused on their own point of view/wants/needs: “Maturity is the ability to see and act on the behalf of others, while immaturity is not seeing things from someone else’s point of view” (Jenkins, 2017).
Responsibility for creating a positive culture. A leader by his or herself (regardless of whether they radiate positivity), cannot solely maintain a nurturing climate. The spillover effect, combined with democratized work cultures (in which employees are both empowered and behave as “unleaders”) suggest that grassroots disgruntlement can spread both laterally and upward, infecting the entire workforce. In an age of electronic media, “bad apple” contagion is not confined to a solitary workgroup. Everyone in the organization thus needs to check their attitude (in the spirit of perspective taking) to ensure that they do not pollute the employment commons.
Consideration of your impact on others goes hand in hand with the end results; e.g., we may not remember a specific encounter, but we will always remember how someone made us feel. Are you even aware if you created emotional wreckage? More importantly, do you have an interest in repairing the damage? Fences left unmended create relationship dry rot.
Generosity, asking “What can I give?” instead of gimme, gimme, gimme, and exploitation of other people’s “nice.” When someone offers you a finger, refrain from arm wrestling their hand to the floor. Similarly, negative affect and nit-picking pour cold water on what could have been a positive exchange. Generosity met with ungraciousness makes for an unbalanced relational equation – where one person makes out like a bandit, and the other is left holding the bag.
Support, not intolerance. Some employees go beyond fastidiousness and complaining to purposely make another person look wrong and/or foolish – undermining their best efforts to ensure they look better by comparison. The sad fact is that they would not bother to engage in mudslinging if they did not feel so bad about themselves. Similarly, try giving a compliment instead of issuing a complaint. You would be amazed at how much better both you and the recipient subsequently feel.
Questioning instead of contradicting – querying others from a seat of humility. Collectivists know inherently how to save face for someone else, but in our “no holds barred,” “in your face” “me first” culture, cutting to the chase sometimes results in slicing another’s esteem. Like a drive-by, we do not pause to assess if collateral damage has occurred, and instead expect hapless targets to continue unobstructed.
Loyalty – as opposed to cut bait and run. Southwest employees’ willingness to endure “guff” for one another exemplifies a corporate family where sacrifices are not just considered necessary, but a normal part of how they are expected to conduct themselves at work.
Treatment of every person as if they are an honored guest – through self-awareness exemplified in “The Work,” in which we turnaround erroneous assumptions by applying them to ourselves. For example, instead of saying “Regina needs to be nicer,” rephrase as: (1) “I need to be nicer;” (2) “Regina doesn’t need to be nicer; or (3) “Regina is nice.” You can probably find supporting examples for all three sentiments, which would alleviate our tendency to continue in lopsided thinking.
Others’ assessment of our “EQ meter” can either positively or negatively impact our career, because everything we say and do is stamped in their mind’s eye.
Jenkins, R. (2017). Why millennials are so entitled (parents are partly blamed). Retrieved from https://www.inc.com/ryan-jenkins/this-is-why-millennials-are-entitled.html