There is a Maya Angelou quote that, for me, contains a lot of wisdom. “When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.” Emotional intelligence is key to your career success. Sure, you can stumble forward without it. However, understanding the people and environment you work in propels your way to success. What does her quote mean? It means no rose-colored glasses, no rationalizations, no benefit of the doubt and no fooling yourself when you size up the actions of people who surround you.
If someone has shown you that they are not to be trusted, what can you do? It is enough to see them as they are and stay mindful when dealing with them. You do not have to act on what you know. Key here is your awareness and letting what you know about a person be part of your actions and decisions regarding them.
Knowing the players in your workplace helps you function better and watch out for your own interests. Do not be fooled.
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It is beneficial for you to stay upright as you go forward in your career. Sometimes, however, things can knock you off balance and even turn you upside down. When that happens, it can put you at a disadvantage. Best to know where your vulnerabilities are, so that you can deal with them.
What turns you upside down? It can be many things – people who approach you with emotions that are alien to or opposite your own, situations that you perceive rob you of the level of control you need, fears or perceptions that certain circumstances can cause great harm to your career, your own insecurities getting triggered, doubt or being outside your comfort zone.
Know what turns you upside down so that you can right yourself quickly and get back on track.
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You may have heard the statement “you are enough”. There is a lot in it. Being enough means self-acceptance, letting go of guilt and setting your own path. Do you believe you are enough? If the answer is yes, good for you. If the answer is no, what is the reason? Perhaps you want to stretch and always go for more. Perhaps you feel inadequate in some way.
Whatever your answer, let yourself be enough for today and every present moment. When you are enough, you are in a place of power. From that place, you can take yourself anywhere you want to go with inner strength and confidence.
So many organizations base their work on teams now. This creates interdependence that can be both a blessing and a curse. If there is someone on a team that is a weak link, it can affect everyone on the team and their productivity in negative ways.
Weak links have various natures. They can be emotionally unintelligent, lacking in necessary skills, uncooperative, strongly independent and unwilling to collaborate or imbalanced in their emotions (for example, anger).
Do you have a weak link on your team? Best to address this sooner, rather than later. It takes skill, but rooting out weak links and working to strengthen or eliminate them gets your team working at its best.
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A bias is a partiality that prevents objective consideration of an issue or situation. Often, biases are unconscious. They can come from direct experience, or vicarious experiences (e.g. experiences of other people, stories, culture).
In the workplace, your biases and those of others can be harmful. It behooves you to be aware of yours and to be able to identify those of others. An example of a workplace bias may be: men (or women) are better leaders. If you or someone you work with has this bias, it’s easy to see the havoc it can cause.
What are your biases? Do you know? If not, give some thought to the perceptions and beliefs you have about the people you work with. Then, come up with actual interactions you have had with them and determine if they confirm your perceptions and beliefs. If they do not, you may have a bias there that is best to be aware of.
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In my last blog post, Shifting Perspective I wrote of how your perspective influences the way you see situations and the power that lies in shifting your perspective. There’s another facet in this that involves proactively creating a new perspective. Doing so allows you to handle a situation in a positive way. Say that you find yourself caught in a difficult interaction or are feeling down about your current situation. You don’t want to stay there. One way to get moving is to create a perspective that motivates and encourages you.
How do you create a fresh perspective? Start to see the positives in the situation – for example, a lesson the situation is teaching you, the negatives the situation reveals that you can now begin to change or the truth that the situation exposes. Once you identify the positives, change your perspective accordingly and act from there. With a fresh perspective, you can tackle the toughest situations successfully.
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Sometimes, even the slightest shift in your perspective changes the way you see your life, your work or a particular situation. Do you ever consciously focus on how your current perspective is affecting the way you experience things?
If you are looking at something through a lens of anger, excitement, sadness, being tired, worry, fear, comparison with your past or comparison with others, you may not be seeing what is truly there. When you are looking at a situation, it behooves you to do a “perspective check” to make sure you are centered and looking through a clear lens. We al know that rose-color glasses or foggy ones can alter your vision.
Try to maintain a clear perspective and shift away from lenses that skew the truth. Doing so, can serve you well.
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If tomorrow you talked only half as much as you would on a normal day, what do you think your day would be like? Our society overemphasizes verbal communication.
There are many ways to give and receive information and to communicate with others. What if you took a walk in silence and observed visually? What if you looked for signs from others, communicated by their body language? What if you discerned how others were feeling by their facial expressions? What if you created something non verbal to express your feelings or ideas to another person?
Try decreasing your reliance on communicating verbally. You may be pleasantly surprised by what other types of communication you can use to inform and understand others.
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Frustration can race like fire, once it starts. Best to have a way to manage your frustration, so it does not consume you. Have you experienced frustration in the past week or two? Think of what happened. How did you handle it? Did you manage your frustration or let it get the better of you?
Frustration is a powerful energy once it gets going, but you can manage it. Here are a few ways: step back and away from the situation to cool off, stop and figure out its cause and what you can do about it or channel your frustration into constructive action. You are more powerful than your frustration – keep it under your control.
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Recently I listened to an episode of This American Life titled In Defense of Ignorance. In the episode, they discussed The Dunning–Kruger Effect, a cognitive bias wherein unskilled individuals suffer from illusory superiority, mistakenly assessing their ability to be much higher than is accurate. The theory was developed in experiments conducted by Dunning and Kruger of the department of psychology at Cornell University in 1999. The study was inspired by the case of McArthur Wheeler, a man who robbed two banks after covering his face with lemon juice in the mistaken belief that, because lemon juice is usable as invisible ink, it would prevent his face from being recorded on surveillance cameras.
Have you seen the Dunning-Kruger Effect in action in your workplace? You deal with all kinds of personalities in your workplace and need to use your emotional intelligence to remain effective. What do you do when you run into people with an unshakable sense of superiority? How do you keep doing your work well amongst them?
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