I would rather use the words how to SUCCEED in a low emotional intelligence workplace rather than just survive in a low emotional intelligence workplace. Thinking about succeeding is better that just thinking about surviving because you want to succeed and bring others up with you. A quick note however, the world of work we live in is a 24/7 work pattern with higher work demands and stress. It has increased complexity and uncertainty and continuous change is the norm (restructures, mergers, new systems, technology and process), and change creates uncertainty which can facilitate unproductive emotions such as anxiety consciously and non-consciously.
In a low emotional intelligence environment people are often, disconnected, insensitive, untrustworthy, limited in their reasoning, temperamental, and very indifferent. These are all unproductive behaviours and it seems that people are also stuck in a perpetual negativism that destroys relationships, the very fabric of a company.
So what should you do to succeed if you do find yourself in this environment?
- Improve Your Self-Awareness. Self-Awareness is about being aware of the way you feel and the impact your feelings can have on your decisions, behaviour and performance. Remember that your positive emotions broaden and build the way you think and negative emotions narrows and limits your thinking. Adopt a self-reflective practice (journal or diary) where you regularly reflect on the way you are thinking, feeling and acting at work. When doing so, it is important to consider how your thoughts, feelings and actions are both serving and limiting you. Ask yourself, why you are responding to things the way you are; what impact are you having on others; why you’re acting the way you are; and how you could respond differently. Manage your emotions intelligently. Lastly but by no means the least, know your particular job skills and recognize that no-one can take those skills away from you ever. You know what you know. You are actually far better than you think you are so never underestimate your abilities. So its all about recognizing and remembering who you are.
- Improve Your Positive Influence. Positive influence is about positively influencing the way others feel through problem solving, providing feedback and recognizing and supporting others’ work. Become authentic and provide useful support to others. Some people just need to ‘vent’ their issues, while others are looking for ideas on how to succeed when faced with a challenge. Providing useful support to others is often context specific. It can be beneficial to start by asking your colleagues what you could be doing to better support them or what they need more support with. Manage other’ emotions intelligently.
Become the change you would like to see in your workplace and perhaps a leader is born in you. Pour your emotional energy into the quality of your work and the outcome will take care of itself.