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.
New year resolutions are very revealing. They’re essentially admissions of failure. Tweet This!
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.
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