Whether it’s your first time in the professional sphere, or it’s just a work culture that’s new to you, it’s important to have a general sense of what office behaviour is acceptable. The stereotype of the office space is one void of emotion. There is no crossover between personal and professional. If you need to cry, go outside. While that’s not necessarily bad advice, the reality is, you’re human. And humans are emotional creatures.
Guess what? Emotional intelligence is actually an incredible asset in business, perhaps even more than IQ — especially when it comes to leadership qualities. Recent research is shifting perceptions toward a rejection of the old school notion that in order to be rational and professional, you have to trust data over feeling.
Dealing with internal issues (leading or being a part of a team) or external ones (pitching a new client proposal or negotiating a deal) both require you to identify, monitor, and utilize an understanding of your own emotions, as well as the emotions of those around you. But there are productive ways to communicate those emotions and use them to benefit yourself, coworkers, and the company as a whole.
The secret that no one is telling you (until now!) is that there is more to being a good employee than doing what you’re told. The best workers move outside of that path using these three emotions.
While some see passion as an emotion that leads individuals to make irrational, impulsive decisions without thinking through consequences, passion is what ultimately drives innovation and change. Passion you feel for the industry, the company, or a specific project just needs to be applied appropriately.
Based on the way you feel, you might have lots of ideas that could be implemented at your company. Make sure you take the time to funnel that energy down into a concrete proposal that takes into account the realities of budget, timelines, and manpower. Then, approach the appropriate individuals with both passion and a plan. Those in more senior roles take note of enthusiasm, as do peers — passion can be contagious, motivating others you work with who may feel more drained at that particular time.
Okay, so this one sounds negative right from the starting gate. But it doesn’t have to be. Just like you can hear about an idea that gets you super excited, you can also have a negative gut reaction. But immediately showing those at work that you dislike a direction the team is taking “just because” comes across as impulsive.
Trusting your gut also means taking the time to really explore why a project or a decision causes you worry. If you need to, tell your superior that you’d like time to think about things and perhaps propose a different solution. Gather your thoughts, make a list of reasons behind the negative reaction, then come up with alternative actions.
Feeling anxious, and making it known in a controlled manner, shows others that you can anticipate problems before they arise and you aren’t afraid to raise your voice when there is legitimate reason to do so.
Sometimes, what drives you to do better in your job is simple competition. Whether that’s with other companies in the same industry that you see excelling, or even internally, you have some instinct to rise above and be the best. Externally, competitiveness (sometimes mistaken for jealousy) will cause you to pay closer attention to what’s going on in your world (news, trends, etc.). Internally, it means you can instigate a way to keep everyone on their toes, rather than resting on supposed “job security” — which can benefit the whole company.
As long as it’s friendly, and you keep in mind the end game, which is a common goal of quality work.
Senior Coordinator of Program Development by day, freelance writer/editor/researcher by night, Dana Marie Krook is a firm believer in “having it all” — which, of course, means chasing your dreams, your bucket list, and your cupcake craving as far as necessary. She loves word games, yoga, running, and superhero movies, but would trade it all for the chance to see her first YA novel on the shelves of a bookstore.