Hundreds of thousands of people, if not millions, are teleworking around the globe. Selfies of home offices in all shapes and forms are flooding the internet. Smiles, pajamas, coffees, and more we care to see perhaps are helping people get in touch with their sense of humor, hope, and new ways of working.
I believe I was born to talk and write about the elephants in the room, so let me get straight to it:
Do you take your emails as a personal insult, attack on your humanity, and a dismissal of your track record of professional achievements?
Workplace conflict due to misassumptions from email exchanges is already a real productivity killer when working with no on-going global crisis. So you can only imagine what so many of you are experiencing when you are teleworking from home with fear for the unknown and stress levels rising as your kids are testing ALL of your negative emotional buttons?
EQ- Emotional Intelligence can help you and save you from disaster and embarrassment when you return to the workplace, and you have to work with …humans again, face-to-face this time!
Here are my tips on how to maximize your EQ while writing and responding to emails!
It feels personal, but it really is not!
Often I hear from my clients that colleagues are out to get them. As if they wake up in the morning and the first thing on their mind is: Let’s make Person X’s life miserable, shall we?
People are inherently good, they always have a positive intention behind their behavior. And I get it, often their behavior is really far off from their positive intent. It takes a truly aligned human being to not react to people’s nonsense. In times of fear, unknown and anxiety – aligning yourself with …yourself is probably very difficult. So don’t try to. Instead, remember this:
People do what they do, based on who they are and the information they have at that time. Iyanla Vanzant.
People’s behavior has everything to do with their insecurities, fears, and worries. So the only sensible thing you can do is breathe and choose to focus your energy on moving away from feeling negative emotions. Wanting not to make THEM responsible for how you think.
“But Nadja, do I have to be in Kumbaya mode while they are mistreating me? Are you saying I have to put up with bad behavior?
I am saying to move away from this experience and choose to feel good no matter their behavior. The alternative is that you will build ulcers in your stomach for feeling negative emotions because of someone else’s drama. I love a lot of people, and half of them are not in my life experience.
Please stay away from the SEND button!
Impulse control is an art, one which I have yet to fully master! Perhaps it is due to my Mediterranean heritage, who knows! If you are someone who has low levels of impulse control, understand that the time between the triggering of your emotions and your reaction to them is short! So what does this tell you?
Lash out on your keyboard, but please, for God’s sake, for your career’s sake, for your reputational purpose, STAY AWAY FROM THE SEND BUTTON. And if you can’t control your fingers, use your email intelligence and set the rule to only send emails after a certain period. This will serve you big time, trust me!
I have lost good friends and burned some of my bridges with former colleagues because I could not stay away from the SEND button. Being right was far more important to me than feeling good. I am an enlightened human being now, and I know better than to choose instant-gratification over long-term wisdom.
Your map of the world versus their map of the world
I often say this to my clients, we all have different maps of the world. We all experience and process information in line with our belief systems and how our brains are wired. Some people turn inwards for their point of reference and process information first within themselves. They cannot deal with immediate confrontation or share their thoughts instantly. Other people think and speak out loud and need social cues to process their information. They need interaction with people to help them make sense of what is going on outside of their minds.
Some people can read between the lines and only write three sentences in response. Others need to write a monologue with all the facts and figures to ensure they have covered every possible scenario in their head.
Some people think email is a waste of human energy, and others believe emails are necessary to keep track, monitor the performance of staff, and make sure their behind is covered in case of conflict!
In essence, we think and process information differently, which influences our behavior. So please don’t judge people based on your map of the world. Keep an open mind, seek to understand, breathe, and allow your emotions to transition from your limbic part in your brain to your rational part of the brain.
Also, this process is different for different people; there is no fixed timeline!
Virtual face-to-face still triumphs over emails
This blog is not about eradicating email, not at all. This blog is helping people navigate teleworking with higher levels of emotional intelligence. Many people are likely to send an email for a simple reason: avoiding the uncomfortable feelings of confrontation when providing feedback or giving bad news.
This is why they avoid speaking up during meetings and only send emails afterwards. This is why conflict is easily manifested as we fear so profoundly for being judged. We fear that our deep-rooted insecurities of not feeling good enough, being complete, and feeling worthy will become apparent when having an awkward conversation.
This is precisely why organizations need to help employees navigate their emotions in times of transition and change. When people feel safe and secure within, they will feel personally fulfilled and experience higher levels of well-being. Then communication, performance, and both online and in-person collaboration will become a blissful experience.
Feel safe and secure within yourself first
I often get rolling eyes when I mention that I help people feel safe and secure within themselves first. But think about it for a second. If people no longer saw external validation as a necessity but as a bonus, how would the workplace look like?
I am not saying for one minute that people should not feel appreciated or be rewarded for their work.
What I am saying is that if someone feels so insecure within themselves, any external validation will be short-lived. It has to be cultivated within ourselves first.
Only then will we develop healthy working habits.
Only then will we treat each other as human beings instead of numbers.
Only then will we focus our energy on building ourselves and our organizations up instead of worrying about not feeling good enough or worthy.
I hope these five tips will help you make the best out of teleworking with your EQ rising high!
Stay tuned for more EQ wisdom as I navigate these periods of uncertainty and unknown with my head held high, my emotions in check, with my perspective in the foreground, and with high levels of optimism!