Recently, I caught wind of a situation that took place where interns were fired when trying to fight the dress code at a company they were interning at. As you read the article you’ll find that the initial proposal lacked emotional intelligence, but the comments made even after finding out about the exception made for the veteran were even more emotionally unintelligent.
The topic of emotional intelligence has been on my mind for a while now as I’m seeing a lack of its existence more and more recently (not to put a negative spin on the world we live in or anything). Is it that so much of our communication comes from texting and emailing that we don’t have enough time to practice using emotional intelligence in our daily interactions? Perhaps it’s a product of how self-aware we are. As I look around and observe others, read articles, and manage my own career, I see how truly important it is not only in the workplace but also in one’s personal life.
How can you be sure you don’t make the same mistake those interns made?
- Consider the importance and benefit of the action you are trying to take. Simply, ask yourself, is the benefit worth the battle? In the case above, it really wasn’t. While it’s great to be able to dress more casually at work, this was not a forever situation – it was an internship with an end date. It really wasn’t worth the battle. Asking yourself what damage you could do is another way to determine if it’s a battle you want to face.
- Take time to think about how you come across to others in your daily interactions. Are you approachable, flexible, and likeable? Don’t confuse this with being a people-pleaser all the time. You can still share an opinion and be assertive when you feel it is necessary and is in your best interest.
- Don’t act on emotions alone. It is best to think critically about an action you want to take. Learn from mentors or others who may shed light on the situation. Consult with people who think differently from yourself so you can hear different perspectives.
Being emotionally intelligent can not only keep you from getting fired but can also help you as you interact with professors and supervisors to achieve your goals both academically and professionally.