- Be aware of our emotions and express them effectively
- Recognize others’ emotions and respond appropriately
People can be high performers and incredibly smart, yet still struggle with emotional intelligence. This can be because they don’t communicate clearly, don’t control their emotions, or have a difficult time getting along with colleagues.
Here are 5 signs that you lack emotional intelligence.
1. You ignore someone who is upset.
It doesn’t bother you when someone is visibly frustrated or upset over something. In fact, sometimes you just roll your eyes at them and walk away. Or you talk over them. Or you just pretend they aren’t there.
By ignoring someone who is upset, you communicate that they aren’t important to you. You don’t have the time to “deal” with them. That damages the relationship and makes it hard for that person to work with you.
What can you do? Notice when someone is upset, frustration, or distracted. If possible, stop the conversation and check in. If you’re in front of a crowd of people, you may want to wait until the meeting is over to check in one-on-one. Ask them what’s wrong. And then listen. Often that’s all it takes for someone to feel heard and validated.
2. You interrupt others.
You’re in a meeting when all of a sudden, it seems like people stop talking. You don’t understand why. Or you get in a discussion about a recent news event with a colleague and they just up and walk away in the middle of it. What’s going on?
It could be that you’re interrupting others. Others can’t finish expressing their thoughts because you jump in with your own opinion or talking over them.
Interrupting others is seen as aggressive and self-centered. When people get interrupted, they can feel disrespected. All too often, they’ll just tune out of the conversation or get frustrated enough to walk away. After all, who wants to talk with someone who never lets them talk?
What can you do? Wait until someone is finished talking before replying. You’ll know they’re done because they’ll be looking at you for a response. Or maybe they’ll ask you a specific question. If you’re not sure, just wait an extra second or two. If they haven’t started talking again, then you know you’re free to talk.
3. You hold everyone else to your expectations and values.
It’s 5 o’clock and you’re sitting at your desk finishing up a report. You know it’s going to take a while, so you settle in. Meanwhile, your colleagues start shutting down their computers, leaving their work for the morning. You immediately get frustrated that they’re all going home.
Whatever expectations you have, you assume others will follow them, too. You also believe that everyone adheres to the same values as you, whether that be hard work, perfection, or timeliness.
But people are different. They have different personalities, different lifestyles, and different family responsibilities. So it doesn’t make sense to expect them to behave in the same way you do.
What can you do? Let your friends and colleagues make choices that honor their own values. And then respect those choices. If some colleagues need to get home right at 5 o’clock to meet a family commitment, let them go home without harboring any ill will toward them. If you can, go out of your way to make sure they get home on time.
4. You have a hard time with failure.
A project blows up at work and you take it personally. It doesn’t matter how many other factors were involved. It doesn’t matter if someone else completely messed up. If something didn’t go right, you feel at fault and allow that to define who you are.
But you know what? Failing doesn’t mean that you are a failure. We all mess up. We all fail. Those with high emotional intelligence are able to keep it in perspective and move forward.
What can you do? Get rid of the “failure” label and learn to separate your self from your behavior. See your failure as an opportunity to learn and grow. Everybody messes up. Simply accept it, learn from it, and let it go. That frees you up to try again.
5. You don’t care if others like you.
To you, work is all about the tasks: writing reports, doing research, selling products, or attending meetings. If people have a hard time accepting your criticism and feedback, who cares? If they don’t invite you out for drinks with the team afterwards, it doesn’t bother you at all.
People with high emotional intelligence are able to balance tasks and relationships well. They know that building positive relationships with their colleagues will build trust. Ultimately, this leads to better work outcomes (because your coworkers will probably put more effort into pleasing you) and better decisions (because they’ll trust you enough to bring up different opinions).
What can you do? You don’t have to become best friends with everyone at work, but at least take the time to say hi to them. Listen to them if they share a concern or different opinion. Ask them questions. These little steps will help you build those positive relationships you’re looking for.
Emotional intelligence is a skill that can be developed. Those who lack emotional intelligence simply need to become more aware of their emotions and the emotions of others. They also need to learn how to respond to those emotions effectively.
If you recognize yourself in any of the signs listed above, simply take the steps necessary to grow in that area. Be aware of your feelings and the emotions of others. Stop and listen to others. And don’t be afraid to ask for feedback along the way.
source: Vince Favilla