November 7, 2017 • 6 minute read • by Saeed
“People will forget what you said and what you did, but they will never forget how you made them feel.” —Maya Angelou
We churn and create products all day long, be it code, spreadsheets, reports, charts, and whatever else we were hired to do.
But what amounts to our success and reputation at work, is less about the products we create, and more about the interactions we have with clients, colleagues, and customers.
Every interaction we have at work, from the first to the last, makes an impression, leaving an emotional footprint in our wake. Put another way, each and every one of those interactions leaves a trace – either building or eroding trust, empowering or disenfranchising someone, engaging or distancing us from each other.
The cumulative effect of these interactions has a major impact on what people think of us, what we think of ourselves, and how fulfilled we truly feel on the job.
You see, the issues that cause significant concern for leaders and supervisors are the people relationship issues and not the subject matter or the content of the work itself. Workplace conflicts, communication, stress management, and daily interactions amongst colleagues can make or break a product launch, a new business venture or the start of a new initiative. That’s why teambuilding is such a big industry.
We know for example that the impact of a toxic boss or a micromanaging one can be so intense that it is labeled among the top three reasons why employees resign.
In other words, affect trumps talent. You can be a genius, but if you are a toxic one, you are of little use to the team. In fact, you may be holding productivity back and impacting the team’s morale.
Of course it is practically impossible to disprove that talent, skills or hard work don’t count. They do. I am by no means suggesting they don’t.
But consider this: reputations built up over years of hard work, applied skill and talent, can be lost in a single moment when we lose control over our emotions. Showing up every day to bring your best skills and technical chops to work is important but showing up every day with a good attitude is crucial.
Some people seem to react to their emotions, unaware of how they feel, responding with whatever thought is running through their mind at the moment. Others seem to be aware of their emotions and how those emotions impact their thoughts. These individuals are conscious of how they are feeling and use these emotions to appropriately respond to the situation at hand.
Voilà! Therein you have the difference between people that apply Emotional intelligence to their world and those that stumble through it unconsciously.
So, the next time you find yourself in a difficult situation pay attention to your emotions. Own those emotions and don’t let them own you. Connect with others by sharing your emotions in a constructive and thoughtful manner. Practice being aware, name your emotions, and observe how this awareness impacts your thoughts, comments, and behavior.
You don’t have to be like the bosses you had who were blind to the impacts of their lack of emotional awareness. Remember them? Be an emotionally intelligent leader and turn challenging situations into rewarding ones. As someone once said, if you walk in the footprints of others, you won’t make any of your own.
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Last thing, if you liked this post, consider checking out my other recent posts for inspiration and concrete actions steps to become more effective at work and life.
©2017 – All Content by Saeed H. Mirfattah, M.A.