What does it take for today’s young adults to become successful in the workplace?
Emotional intelligence and social intelligence skills are essential in order to bridge the gap between the expectations of mature employers, and the steep learning curve that comes with being new to the work force.
A problem I am seeing with young people struggling to advance in their jobs is their inability to tolerate feeling uncomfortable. If they don’t like the person giving them feedback, how the feedback is given, or the feedback itself, they see this as a solid reason to start looking for a new job.
The problem with this is that there is no perfect job. Even if you create your own business, you have to put up with “unknown” factors that you don’t necessarily control. You need to take into consideration that each and every person you will be interacting with has their own unique view of the world, different than yours. Neither right, nor wrong, just different than yours.
Emotional intelligence is about knowing what you are feeling, and using that information to guide your interactions. Social intelligence is about understanding what the other person may be feeling, wanting or needing, and being able to communicate with them in a way that you both feel heard and understood.
For example, a boss gives you feedback that they are not pleased with your productivity and asks you to step up your game. You might feel offended, hurt that they are not acknowledging you for showing up every day on time, and completing the tasks defined in your job description. You might choose to gossip about them to your co-workers, retaliate by showing up late, or even passive-aggressively decide to do less work.
A lack of emotional intelligence is usually at the heart of reactive comments or actions that only create separation between you, and the people you are working with. On the other hand, you could ask for clarification and suggestions on how you could step up your game. You could interpret the feedback as an opportunity to show your employer that you have what it takes to grow with that company. You could even thank your boss for their input, and then do some research on how to be even better at your job.
Graduating from college is only the beginning of your journey. The skills you needed to ace the SAT’s, show up to class and earn a degree were just part of the puzzle. Now, you must learn how to build networks and communities, by enlisting the support of teachers and mentors, so that you can ultimately design a life that fits your values, temperament and personal goals.
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