I was speaking with an interesting man, the other day. Our conversation naturally turned to Social and Emotional Intelligence (or maybe I unconsciously steered it that way.) He posed a question that I thought perhaps more people would want to know the answer to.
He said he works with someone in his organization who is known for having low emotional intelligence. He described this person, in his words, not mine, as being unempathetic to others or what they were going through, not being able to control his emotions or even care about those around him. Although he was very good at his job technically his office had a high turnover, and morale at best was lukewarm with certain managers but overall abysmal. He personally stayed because he loved the work. So he was asking, "How do I deal with someone who lacks EI (emotional intelligence)?"
It's important to remember that culture starts from the top down, so if a leader exhibits certain qualities he will most likely be around people who are similar or who are ok with those qualities.
Just because you believe someone lacks emotional intelligence doesn’t mean that YOU don’t have the skills. Is this person uncaring? Do they make mean remarks? Are you unsure of how to handle yourself in their presence? Those are great indications that you still need to grow in certain areas of your social and emotional intelligence.
The best thing to do when you don’t understand someone or maybe you just don’t agree with someone, is to ask more questions in a genuine way to see the conversation from their filter of the world. Being genuinely curious will help you see their point of view and enrich your conversation and who knows, may give you deeper knowledge on a subject.
What is your goal when talking with this person? Is it to have a solid working relationship? Or is it a one-off conversation? Maybe an infrequent or random encounter?
If it is to have a working relationship with this person, stop making a judgment and start working on your own skills including; Self Management and Relationship Management.
Under self-management it would serve you to have strong skills in behavioral self-control, stress management, personal agility, and intentionality.
Under relationship management, it would serve you to have strong skills in Communications, Interpersonal Effectiveness, Powerful Influencing Skills, Conflict Management, Inspirational Leadership, Catalyzing Change, Building Bonds, Teamwork & Collaboration, Coaching & Mentoring Others, Building Trust.
This person is giving you a gift! They are helping you realize what skills will make you better. And if you embrace it and work on these skills actively you can make more friends and more money in your job (if you are working).
The good news is that these are skills we can work on and they are endless. We could work on them forever and still not get to where we would like.
My last piece of advice which works for everyone is . . . look for the good in the person. When you look for the good in that person you will start to see it (regardless if they have high or low emotional intelligence)!
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