Conflict Free: How to Become Emotionally Intelligent in the Workplace

See how managing your emotions can help you (and the people around you) become more productive

Boost your EQ (Image: Thinkstock)

Here are two critical mind-shifts that will help increase your EQ.

1) Accept that You Cannot Control What You Cannot Control. Much frustration and anxiety in the marketplace comes from becoming disappointed with the actions of others.  Accept that people are indeed imperfect.  Accept that they will act imperfectly.  And, accept that no one is perfectly capable of doing every single thing exactly the way you want it…or when you want it!  I’m not encouraging you to lower your standards if you are in management or a business owner.  Nor am I saying that you should expect mediocrity. However, we tend to respond better to challenges when we prepare for them as opposed to being blindsided. Accept that “perfect” is an anomaly. In the marketplace people will make mistakes, miss deadlines, change their mind, forget, and so on. Be prepared so that you can be poised.

2) Separate the Message from the Messenger. Usually when someone does something that frustrates us in the marketplace, we end up taking it personally. If a colleague forgot to give you a phone message or a memo, you are more likely to internalize that mistake as a personal and intentional attack. When you personalize and internalize things that happen in the marketplace, you usually end up reacting from an emotional place.  Emotional responses tend to be impulsive and shortsighted with long-term implications and consequences. Contrary to popular belief, talk is NOT cheap. What you say and how you say it matters.  Your ability to listen objectively will ultimately influence your ability to respond logically. Take time to think about your response, assess whether you are making a situation more personal than necessary, practice your reply, and evaluate whether anything truly needs to be said at all.

It takes effort and maturity to place yourself in someone else’s shoes. However, doing so will enhance your reputation and increase trustworthiness. Credibility in the marketplace is ultimately about whether or not people have confidence in your competence. Today’s professional must garner respect by first learning how to extend it.

What frustrates you most about the behavior of others in the marketplace?  How have you chosen to respond in the past?  I invite you to share your best practices for handling conflict in the workplace with emotional intelligence.  I look forward to hearing from you!

Marshawn Evans is president of ME Unlimited L.L.C. and a weekly career advice columnist for BlackEnteprise.com.

Ready to Monetize Brand YOU?  Black Enterprise is giving you the opportunity to receive a scholarship to attend ME University: The Ultimate Business & Branding Bootcamp in Atlanta, GA on October 1-2, 2011.  Hosted by Reinvention Strategist Marshawn Evans, ME University is the premier resource for masterminding and teaching profitable brand strategies that fast-track your business and build your brand.  Visit www.meuniversitylive.com for more information.

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  • Troya Sampson

    Excellent article! I wish more people would heed this advice. More employers should establish EQ training along with other training requirements for their work environment. I’m POSITIVE work productivity would increase.

  • Kee Derk

    This article was so powerful and so very needed. Approximately 2 years ago, while through a divorce and death of my father, I reacted to every situation the same. Like a kid, not a 38 year old adult. Although I finally realized my actions were not good, it was too late. Today, I work hard trying to rebuild my reputation and lost friendships. Some can’t be repaired. Thank you so much for this article and the correct responses to workplace and life conflict.

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