The last couple of years I’ve made New Year Resolutions. Two years ago I resolved to have more emotionally intelligent resolutions. And last year I resolved to be more gender inclusive in my thoughts and language and behaviours.
What I’ve discovered about publishing about my resolutions, is that it can be embarrassing. Admitting that I haven’t always used gender inclusive language, for example, comes with a healthy dose of humility. And this year is no different.
[tweetthis hashtag=”#VulnerabilityAhead”]New year resolutions are very revealing. They’re essentially admissions of failure.[/tweetthis]
My admission this year is that I’m not always on my best behaviour when I am talking on the phone and chatting online with tech support staff. Whether it’s my internet provider, my cell phone provider, web hosting or software support, I have had interactions that were not ideal.
I know. It’s terrible. I take responsibility for this.
And my resolution is to be on my best, most emotionally intelligent behaviour with tech support workers in 2016.
So what is my best?
Well, I will start with working on my empathy for the support staff I’m texting or talking with. After all, they’re people I work with and they deserve my best and their jobs are not easy! And they generally don’t know who I am. They don’t understand my expertise or my context. So I should listen better and work at trying to get where they’re at, both socially/emotionally and also in terms of the problem we’re working on.
A related factor here is social responsibility, which is an emotional intelligence competency in the Interpersonal composite, along with empathy. An EI hack I might employ here, to work on this, is to imagine that the support staff person is someone I know, or that they know someone I know.
Another emotional intelligence skill I can work on is my on own emotional self-awareness. If I discover suddenly that I’m frustrated and angry, then I probably haven’t done a good job of staying attuned to where I’m at. By committing to staying attuned in these contexts I can try to stay ahead of the situation and know sooner how I’m doing. This way, I can make more creative choices about how to keep the interaction productive and professional.
And, yes, some situations call for being assertive. And when I need to be assertive, I can practice continuing to be patient and constructive and centered. Part of my challenge, I think, is that being assertive is not always natural for me. If I was better at it, I would probably be less abrasive. I want to be assertive and patient. I want to be assertive and polite. I even want to attempt being assertive and humorous. These are assertiveness skills that I see other people employing.
Do you have some suggestions for me? Let me know.
By the way, I did a good job meeting 2015 resolutions. There were failures, but my interest is progress, not perfection.