27 September 2023

Attitudes that bring misery to the workplace

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Travis Bradberry* says research has shown that social skills have become increasingly important in the workplace. He gives examples of what happens when they are absent or misused.

Social skills are becoming more critical than experience and knowledge for success in the workplace.

Harvard economist, David Deming studied workplace tasks from 1980 to the present day and found those that emphasise social skills grew by a whopping 24 per cent.

In contrast, tasks requiring technical know-how and intelligence experienced little growth.

Deming also found that salaries increased the most for jobs that placed extra emphasis on social skills.

With the increasing emphasis on social skills, those who lack them stand out like a zebra in a field of horses.

We all know the types: The person who won’t stop talking when you’re trying to meet a deadline, or the one who callously leaves you to pull an all-nighter to fix their mistake.

I am sure you can think of many more.

There are a lot of otherwise intelligent people who can’t stop shooting themselves in the foot.

Sadly, their lack of self-awareness and social skills are massive detriments to their careers.

Social skills and self-awareness are matters of emotional intelligence (EQ), and TalentSmart’s research has shown that EQ is responsible for 58 per cent of job performance.

Those who lack EQ are at a significant disadvantage.

There are certain types of people whose lack of emotional intelligence harms their careers more than others.

By studying them, you can avoid becoming one of them.

Here are some examples.

The coward

Fear is an extremely powerful motivator.

This is why political candidates tell people their opponent will “destroy the economy” and advertisements warn that “smoking kills.”

In the workplace, people overcome by fear resort to irrational and damaging behaviour.

Cowardly colleagues are quick to blame others and to cover up important mistakes, and they fail to stand up for what is right.

The Dementor

In J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series, Dementors are evil creatures that suck people’s souls.

Whenever a Dementor enters the room, it goes dark and cold and people begin to recall their worst memories.

Rowling said she developed the concept based on highly negative people — the kinds of people who have the ability to walk into a room and instantly suck the life out of it.

Dementors’ viewpoints are always glass half empty, and they can inject fear and concern into even the most benign situations.

The arrogant

Arrogant people are a waste of your time because they see everything you do as a personal challenge.

Arrogance is false confidence, and it always masks major insecurities.

Arrogant people tend to be lower performers and more disagreeable and to have more cognitive problems than the average person.

The group-thinker

Group-thinkers choose the path of least resistance and are famous for propagating the “this is how we’ve always done it” mentality.

If you find yourself getting brainwashed with what everyone else believes, be careful; the status quo never leads to greatness.

The short-changed

They are quick to blame their lack of accomplishment on a lack of opportunity.

While a lucky break may put a little wind in a successful person’s sails, they got where they are through hard work.

What the short-changed don’t realise is that their attitude is what’s short-changing them, not their circumstances.

The temperamental

They will lash out at you and project their feelings onto you, all the while thinking you’re the one causing their malaise.

Temperamental people perform poorly because their emotions cloud their judgment and their lack of self-control destroys their relationships.

Be wary of temperamental people; when push comes to shove they will use you as their emotional toilet.

The victim

They are tough to identify because you initially empathise with their problems.

As time passes, you begin to realise their “time of need” is all the time.

Victims actively push away any personal responsibility by making every speed bump they encounter into an un-crossable mountain.

The gullible

You can’t help but feel sorry for the gullible type.

They’re the ones who find themselves babysitting the boss’s kids the morning after pulling a late night of work… on a Sunday.

For whatever reason, gullible people (often newbies) go with the flow until the gentle river becomes a tumultuous ocean.

It’s okay to negotiate your salary, it’s okay to say no, and it’s okay to question the way things are done.

You’ll earn a lot more respect if you stand up for yourself when the time is right.

The apologiser

For every person who is owed an apology, there’s another who apologises too often.

They fear failure and believe that apologising will act as a safety net.

Instead, unnecessary apologies cheapen their ideas and make them less likely to stick.

It’s important that your tone of voice and body language reflect the importance of your ideas.

Stating an idea or opinion as a question is just as bad as apologising.

If you really believe something is worth sharing, then own it and share it with confidence.

These kinds of behaviour can be eradicated through improved emotional intelligence.

All it takes is a little self-awareness and a strong desire to change.

*Travis Bradberry is the award-winning co-author of the bestselling book, Emotional Intelligence 2.0, and the co-founder of TalentSmart. He can be contacted at talentsmart.com.

This article first appeared at talentsmart.com.

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