How to Become Your Best Professional Self in 2018
How do you behave at work, why, and what’s it like to be on the receiving end of you?
With our workplaces and the world of work changing so constantly and so quickly, one of my big aims in 2018 is to get us all thinking harder about our life at work and what we have to offer. Here’s a big question for the New Year and for your professional self:
How much have you thought about how others ‘receive’ you?
What energy are you giving off to colleagues and clients? Are you conscious of your impact? Do you tune into what your intention is vs how it’s actually perceived? Do you know how you can improve in this area?
As you climb the ladder, success at work is less about how well you do your job and more about how you interact with others. Even if you work for yourself and your main daily interaction is with clients and not colleagues, this is still true. What matters most is your emotional and social intelligence. This means being in tune with the world (and pressures) of the key people you interact with AND being conscious of the ‘triggers’ that affect how you behave, in good and bad moments. Being in tune is to listen, to be aware, and to observe. The next challenge is to manage and influence what you perceive to be happening (either within yourself or with others).
You’re going to hear a lot more about the importance of emotional and social intelligence over the coming years as people realise how critical it is to our future success in the new world of Industry 4.0. You might think you know what emotional intelligence (EQ) is, especially if you’ve read the early books in the nineties, but believe me, it runs even deeper. EQ has many layers, but the good news is that it’s truly a skillset that can be learned, developed, practised and mastered.
I’m an accredited practitioner of Daniel Goleman’s ESCI (Emotional and Social Competency Inventory), which focuses on how emotional skills can be used to develop leadership.
Ultimately, it’s the key to performance. Here’s a 3-minute snapshot on youtube.
This framework is an integral part of my own new model for the ‘future you at work’. As you can see, there are many layers for us to go through so watch out for more details on them in future posts!
But for now here’s my advice under the headings of Goleman’s 4 pillars to at least get you started on how best to manage yourself in 2018:
Self-awareness: When you want to react to a situation at work, STOP. Check in with yourself and ask:
- What’s going on with you right now outside of this situation? Are you tired? Hungry? Emotional?
- Are you seeing things as they actually are or as you’re currently feeling?
- Is your gut reaction being triggered by someone, something, some particular words?
Self-management: When you recognise that perhaps you are being over-reactive, over-sensitive, overly-negative/positive – what should you do about it?
- At a minimum, DON’T do or say whatever it was you were about to!
- Instead, say – “I need some time to reflect on that. Let me get back to you.”
- Or you can respond in a calm, controlled way – “That’s really interesting, I’m curious to hear more about where your thinking comes from.”
- Either way, don’t allow your current emotional state to escape into the room.
Social awareness: Are you registering where the other person in your conversation/meeting is? Where is their headspace? How are they feeling? What might their agenda be?
- If you don’t know, find out through subtle questioning. Observe their body language. Is it open or closed and protective? How is the tone of their voice?
- Do you understand the bigger picture of the corporate politics? How is that affecting the conversation?
Relationship management: how can you show the other person that you understand their position, their point of view or their challenge?
- When you are in disagreement, the first thing to do is to find the common ground. Start by asking – “Ok, clearly we have different opinions on the topic, but where do we agree?” This small act will build rapport and bring don’t the natural defences.
- Rather than reinforce your viewpoint seek to fully understand theirs more. Do this by asking questions – “I don’t fully agree with you but perhaps that’s because I’m missing part of the picture, can you tell me more about how you see it.”
- Only once you fully understand their perspective do you try to communicate yours using your newfound understanding to build trust in the discussion.
Now this is only a ‘whistle-stop tour’ of emotional and social intelligence. But keep these 4 pillars in mind for your next challenging meeting. I think you’ll find that your approach, behaviour and even your language in the meeting will adjust. You just might get a better outcome than the one you were expecting…
Good luck, and be ready for more depth on these topics in the future! Don´t miss out and subscribe to my e-mail list here: